Historically, tumultuous times offer some of the best opportunities to buy stocks, and the market's current mess surely qualifies. Anything connected to the housing sector is still treated like the ugly stepchild by many, but some investors think home improvement chain Home Depot
In our Motley Fool CAPS community, nearly 76% of the 4,073 investors rating the company are bullish, so there's no shortage of reasons why Home Depot will thrive, three of which I've highlighted below.
But here at the Motley Fool, we're all for looking at both the good and bad sides of an investment, so in this article, I've highlighted three arguments for owning Home Depot today. Then you can read the cons here, and even weigh in with your own comments below or rate Home Depot yourself in CAPS.
Improved outlook: While rival Lowe's
(NYSE:LOW)recently said it would slow North American expansion plans and offered a weak outlook for the current quarter, Home Depot blew the market away when it raised its full-year profit forecast as cost cuts have kicked in. It plans to focus on slow and steady growth and use its cost cuts to fight the recent lower demand. Analysts at FBR Capital Markets are on board with the potential opportunities and recently raised their 2009 earnings estimates for the company.
Stability: Home Depot has managed to weather the economic storm well and, like retailers Target
(NYSE:TGT)and Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT), actually earned more than Wall Street expected in its latest quarter. It may be beaten down, but many CAPS members just see that as a great opportunity and are confident that Home Depot will be able to improve performance going forward.
Cash aplenty: Despite the worst housing crunch in years, Home Depot has routinely pulled in strong free cash flow in recent quarters, enabling it to preserve its dividend, while other mainstay American corporations like Harley-Davidson
(NYSE:HOG), General Electric (NYSE:GE), and Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW)have been forced to cut their payouts. With Home Depot sitting on a cash cushion of $2.2 billion, CAPS members like the odds.
To see details of what CAPS members are saying now about Home Depot, just click on over to Motley Fool CAPS and have a look -- or add your own thoughts directly to this story in the comments box below.
The Motley Fool Inside Value team looks for beaten down stocks that are selling at bargain prices well below their intrinsic value. To see the full list of cheap companies the service is recommending today, take a free 30-day trial.
Fool contributor Dave Mock gave three reasons why he couldn't take out the garbage yesterday, but none of them were good enough. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Home Depot, Lowe's, and Wal-Mart are Inside Value recommendations. The Fool's disclosure policy cut out the morning coffee and evening beer but unfortunately replaced it with morning energy drinks and evening cigars.