Lowe’s doesn’t nail its earnings expectations

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MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Lowe’s (LOW) reported weak sales growth at existing stores, its second-quarter profit was short of most expectations and the company cuts its profit expectations for the year, sending shares down sharply before the opening bell Wednesday.

For the three months ended July 29, Lowe’s earned $1.17 billion, or $1.31 per share. Adjusting those per share earnings to account for 6 cents of currency hedges related to the acquisition of Canada’s RONA, it still fell a nickel short of analyst expectations, according to a poll by by Zacks Investment Research.

A year earlier the Mooresville, North Carolina, company earned $1.13 billion, or $1.20 per share.

Revenue climbed to $18.26 billion, from $17.35 billion, but that was also short of the $18.72 billion Wall Street was looking for.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer’s health, rose 2 percent, less than half the 4.2 percent industry analysts had projected, according to FactSet.

In premarket trading on Wednesday morning, Lowe’s stock was down 4.8 percent, or $3.88, to $77.60.

A day earlier, rival Home Depot (HD) posted record second-quarter sales and earnings and raised its profit expectations for the year.

For fiscal 2016, Lowe’s now expects earnings of about $4.06 per share, with revenue up approximately 10 percent, including an extra week in the fiscal year. Same-store sales are anticipated to climb about 4 percent. Its prior guidance was for earnings of $4.11 per share.

Analysts are looking for full-year earnings of $4.06 per share and expect a same-store sales increase of 4.7 percent, according to FactSet.

Lowe’s had 2,108 home improvement and hardware stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico at quarter’s end.