Ah, this is going to be such an easy duel!
I find it ironic that W.D. chose the final words of Alexander Hamilton as the oft-repeated catch phrase in his valentine to Home Depot
For example, W.D. may be OK with the company's stock performance over the last five years, but I imagine others would disagree. If everything is so hunky-dory, then why have share prices underperformed the S&P 500 over that time, and why did shares decline by approximately 10% back in April?
Don't tell me, the answer has something to do with a low P/E -- or is it a high P/E? I forget. Or perhaps the recent pull-back had to do with the unusually normal springtime weather. Not to worry, Home Depot apparently has plans afoot to enter the Chinese market. Whenever you hear the old Chinese expansion argument, hold on tight to your wallet.
But it gets better. The new urban-format stores in New York City promise untold riches as young Manhattanites redo their five-by-five kitchens and even smaller bathrooms. I wonder what the rents on these stores will do to those stellar profit margins.
I agree with W.D. that Home Depot does a lot of things very well. Its margins are strong and it has been able to consistently grow both revenues and earnings. But many questions remain: Why does the market appear to be skeptical regarding Home Depot's long-term growth prospects? Will a downturn in the housing market negatively affect the home improvement industry? At what point will baby boomers decide to spend their weekends eating Cheetos on the couch in their sweatpants rather than put another coat of paint on the downstairs guest room?
They always tell you never to fall in love with a stock. W.D. is one of our better analysts, but his torrid romance with Home Depot has blinded him to the possible downside of this stock. I urge investors not to make the same mistake.
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John Reeves does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Click here to see The Motley Fool's disclosure policy.