8. Lowe's Companies ( LOW) is a home improvement retailer. It serves homeowners, renters and commercial business customers. Homeowners and renters primarily consist of do-it-yourself (DIY) customers and do-it-for-me (DIFM) customers, while Commercial business customers include those who work in the construction, repair/remodel, commercial and residential property management professions.

First-quarter 2012 sales are projected at $12.5 billion as against $12.4 billion recorded during the same period a year ago, as per analysts polled by Bloomberg. Moreover, earnings are expected to decline marginally to $483 million or 36 cents per share from $489 million or 34 cents per share during the first quarter of 2011.

Of the 25 analysts covering the stock, 52% recommend a buy, while 44% rate a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 10.2% to $28.59 in value from current levels. Analysts at Piper Jaffray recently maintained its neutral rating on the stock with a price target of $28.

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