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Let's sell something together? Lowe's dips on earnings

August 20, 2012: 10:11 AM ET

Is the housing market really recovering? If you look at the latest results from Lowe's (LOW), you'd be tempted to answer no. But Lowe's top rival, Home Depot (HD) reported a pretty strong quarter and issued good guidance last week. Shares of Lowe's fell more than 4% in early trading Monday.

It seems that housing is slowly but surely rebounding. The problem with Lowe's seems to be that Home Depot is a fierce competitor. That's always the challenge for investors in retail stocks. It's usually not a great idea to bet on sectors or themes. Shares of Lowe's have dramatically underperformed Home Depot's stock this year.

Winners often win at the expense of others. Wal-Mart (WMT) dipped last week following earnings but Target (TGT) soared. It's also a mistake to say that bad results from any one retailer may be a bearish sign about consumer spending. Companies like Staples (SPLS) and Best Buy (BBY) are getting hurt because of fundamental changes in specialty retailing, not macroeconomic conditions.

For more on Home Depot and Lowe's check out today's Buzz video below.

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Paul Lamonica
Paul R. La Monica
Assistant Managing Editor, CNNMoney

Paul R. La Monica is an assistant managing editor at CNNMoney. He is the author of the site's daily column, The Buzz, and also tweets throughout the day about the markets and economy @LaMonicaBuzz. La Monica also oversees the site's economic, markets and technology coverage.

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