As the housing market heats up, so is competition among home improvement retailers.
A day after Home Depot (HD) delivered earnings and revenue that were much better than forecasts and raised its guidance, Lowe's (LOW) reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit for the first-quarter on declining sales.
Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock blamed "cooler than normal temperatures and greater precipitation" for the soft sales figures. In contrast, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake said his company continued to "benefit from a recovering housing market" despite the fact that there was "less favorable weather" during the quarter.
The contrasting results gave traders on StockTwits plenty to chat about.
That's a good point. It's not the first time Lowe's has underperformed Home Depot, so bad weather isn't the primary problem. Same-store sales, which measure sales at stores open at least a year and are a key gauge of health among retailers, have been weaker at Lowe's than they have been at Home Depot each quarter for the past several years.
A lucky break indeed? Despite the lackluster performance, shares were of Lowe's rose 1% Wednesday, just behind Home Depot's 3% increase. Year-to-date, Home Depot shares of climbed almost 30%, while Lowe's shares are up a healthy 20%.
In addition to the two home improvement retailers, Toll Brothers (TOL) was also in focus Wednesday after announcing strong results, thanks to accelerating demand for houses and higher home prices.
Shares of the luxury homebuilder jumped 7% Wednesday.
The gold bugs have come out to play.
Gold bounced back Monday after taking a massive beating over the past week or so.
Early Monday, gold prices popped back above $1,400 for the first time in a week. Prices are still a far cry from their record $1,900 level but the modest bounce is encouraging for gold bugs.
It was exactly one week ago that gold prices plunged more than 9% in their MORECatherine Tymkiw - Apr 22, 2013 12:02 PM ET
Wall Street is turning its back on gold.
Both Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank lowered their year-end forecast for the precious metal this week, citing an improving U.S. economy.
Goldman slashed its target to $1,545 per ounce for 2013, down from its previously estimate of $1,610. The bank also lowered its outlook for 2014 to $1,350 an ounce, down from an earlier forecast of $1,490.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank reduced its year-end forecast MOREHibah Yousuf - Apr 10, 2013 2:06 PM ET
Gold is making a comeback, at least for today.
The precious metal shot above $1,600 an ounce Monday, as rattled investors looked for safe spots to park off while Cyprus sorts out its banking issues. Over the weekend, it seemed like the tiny nation was going to get its 10 billion euro bailout and it would be business as usual.
But then the strings were attached, in the form of a tax MOREMar 18, 2013 1:23 PM ET
Fresh stimulus action from the Federal Reserve drove commodity prices sharply higher Friday, but experts say don't expect the QE3-fueled boost to last long.
Crude oil prices briefly topped $100 a barrel for the first time since early May Friday morning, as investors grew encouraged after the Fed announced a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, saying it would buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed bonds each month for however long it deemed necessary.
The Fed's open-ended bond MOREHibah Yousuf - Sep 14, 2012 2:25 PM ET
Corn prices surged to a new record high Tuesday, as the worst drought in more than 50 years continues to plague more than half the country.
Almost 90% of the United States' corn crops are in drought ravaged areas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and nearly 40% are situated in the hardest hit spots.
Corn prices have soared more than 50% during the past six weeks as the crops continue MOREHibah Yousuf - Jul 31, 2012 9:55 AM ET
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