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Lowe's Beats Earnings Forecast on Stimulus, Home Improvement Demand

CEO Marvin Ellison said he was "confident in our ability to accelerate our market share gains" after Lowe's posted better-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday.

Lowe's Companies  (LOW)  posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday, following on from its larger rival Home Depot  (HD) , as government stimulus and home improvement demand boosted the group's top and bottom lines.

Lowe's said adjusted earnings for the three months ending on May 1 were pegged at $3.21 per share, an 82% increase from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $2.62 per share. Group revenues, Lowe's said, rose 24% to $24.4 billion, topping analysts' estimates of a $23.8 billion tally.

Same store sales, Lowe's said, rose 25.9% from last year, Lowe's said, again beating the Refintiv forecast of 19.2%.

"Our outstanding performance continued this quarter, as we delivered strong sales growth and operating margin expansion. We delivered over 30% growth in Pro, over 18% growth in all 15 U.S. regions, and growth in Canada that outpaced the U.S.," said CEO Marvin Ellison. "I would like to thank our front-line associates for their hard work and commitment to delivering exceptional customer service. Looking forward, I remain confident in our ability to accelerate our market share gains while driving further improvement in operating margin."  

Lowe's shares were marked 1.65% lower in ealry trading immediately following the earnings release, compared to a 1.5% decline for the S&P 500, to change hands at $189.40 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to around 17%. 

Home Depot posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings yesterday amid what the world's biggest home retailer called "unprecedented" demand for domestic projects. 

Shares in the group slipped lower, however, following a weaker-than-expected reading of April housing starts and concerns that near record-high lumber prices could erode the group's profit margins in the current quarter.