NEW YORK ( Real Money) -- The homework doesn't dovetail with the shares. That's how I felt about the way Best Buy ( BBY), Home Depot ( HD) and Dick's ( DKS) traded in the wake of the earnings calls -- because all three were basically in all-systems-go mode for suppliers.
Home Depot loves to give you the state of the state, and the company continues to show you why it can have such positive comparable-store numbers -- namely because business is booming from continued house-price inflation. That's how you get your American stores to grow at 8.2%. For Home Depot, those numbers have come due to a combination of rising traffic and increased spending.
Why not? When you are buying a home these days, you are doing so because you need it -- but also because you now believe that, over time, it will start to appreciate in value again. We see these big 10% jumps in housing prices across the country, with some 20% areas thrown in, and we might want to believe that the housing market is in some inflationary spiral. But I think, after listening to the Home Depot call, that it's still in catch-up mode from where it left off.
I say that because Home Depot, beyond giving you a depiction of the psyche of the consumer, also tells you something else. The pro business -- which is the business that comes when people get professionals to both build and renovate their houses, instead of doing it themselves -- has continued to grow at a slightly faster pace than the consumer business has done. That's excellent news for hiring. In fact, it's one of the few bright spots out there, other than those seen in social, mobile and cloud technology, oil and gas and healthcare.
What merchandise is selling? Pretty much everything. That's also good news, because at times there had been aisles at Home Depot that simply weren't moving as well as others were. Now you've got positive comps in kitchens, lighting, decor, lumber, electrical and indoor garden. Numbers for all of these were above the company's average sales. Millwork, flooring, plumbing, outdoor garden, building materials, hardware and tools were positive, but below the company average.