MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe's third-quarter results beat analysts' estimates as its sales rose, buoyed by the ongoing housing market recovery.
The home-improvement retailer's performance is similar to that of rival Home Depot Inc., which posted strong quarterly results a day earlier.
Sales of existing homes rose 4.7 percent in September, according to The National Association of Realtors, indicating that demand for housing remains steady. Housing starts climbed 6.5 percent that month, according to the Commerce Department.
For the period ended Oct. 30, Lowe's Cos. earned $736 million, or 80 cents per share. That compares with $585 million, or 59 cents per share, a year ago.
The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 78 cents per share.
Revenue increased to $14.36 billion from $13.68 billion. Eleven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $14.31 billion in revenue.
Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer's health, climbed 4.6 percent as there were more transactions and customers spent more. This figure excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
Lowe's said Wednesday that comparable sales for its U.S. home improvement business climbed 5 percent in the quarter.
Lowe's still anticipates fiscal 2015 earnings of about $3.29 per share, with sales rising 4.5 percent to 5 percent. Analysts polled by FactSet predict earnings of $3.29 per share.
The Mooresville, North Carolina-based company had 1,849 home improvement and hardware stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico at quarter's end.
Lowe's shares slipped 3 cents to $72.82 in midday trading Wednesday. They are up almost 6 percent so far this year.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on LOW at http://www.zacks.com/ap/LOW
Keywords: Lowe's, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings