Chips, gifts, and home improvement trips colored in the week that was.

If they build it, you will come

The two home improvement giants erected their quarterly reports this week. For Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), poor weather kept do-it-yourselfers away, yet the company still managed to grow earnings by 30% as sales inched 14% higher. The larger yet slower-growing Home Depot (NYSE:HD) followed a day later, growing its top line by 8% with profits coming in 14% higher.

With both companies trading at similar earnings multiples -- as Don Crotty pointed out, Home Depot is now fetching 15 times this year's projections while Lowe's is trading hands at 17 times 2005 targets -- where should you rest your hammer? Lowe's is growing faster, and will continue to do so. Even at the store level, Lowe's outdid Home Depot with healthier comps this past quarter. That's why Lowe's appears to be the better bargain, though Home Depot at 15 times earnings is also historically cheap.

So why choose? Home starts bounced back last month after a brutal March showing, though the home improvement chains have shown the mettle to grow in good times and bad. Buying both may be a good move in building out your portfolio.

Good graphics chipmakers look better

Let's hear it for NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA). The maker of high-end graphics chips saw its fiscal first-quarter profits triple to $0.36 a share as revenues surged 24% higher to hit $583 million. While the company is expecting flat results for the current quarter -- that's the way it goes in the cyclical microprocessor business -- it continues to impress.

The shares have nearly tripled since bottoming out back in August. With NVIDIA playing a prominent role in next year's launch of the Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 3, and the promising growth of colorful wireless handsets as cell phones expand to offer greater functionality in the multimedia market, NVIDIA and its chips are sitting pretty these days. Yes the company is being phased out of the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox chipset family, but it is still ready to embrace the high-definition future that will play right into the hands of companies that make sharp graphics even sharper.

Paying what the market will bear

For Vermont Teddy Bear (NASDAQ:BEAR), life has never been all plush and cuddly as a public company. Perhaps that's why the mail-order gift specialist accepted a buyout offer from a Boston-based private equity firm for $6.50 a share.

It's a shame; the stock has been trading in the single digits since 1994. So the company didn't only make bears, it also attracted the investing kind. The stock closed at $5.25 on Monday when the deal was announced, so the buyout premium may come as a welcome exit strategy for investors who bought into the company. The deal is expected to close next quarter.

The headlines behind this week's stories:

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz never sent his wife a Vermont Teddy Bear, but he also never gave her an orange apron. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.