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.
Corn prices have soared more than 40% in recent weeks as the scorching, dry heat wreaks havoc on crops in the Midwest.
Prices went as high as $7.33 per bushel of corn on the Chicago Board of Trade Monday, not far from the record high of $7.9975 hit last June, amid worries about flood damage. Prices eased slightly Tuesday, as investors await the U.S. Department of Agriculture's updated forecast for harvest yields, which is due MOREHibah Yousuf - Jul 10, 2012 11:52 AM ET
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