News Column

Home Depot 4Q mixed, boosts quarterly dividend

February 25, 2014



ATLANTA (AP) Home Depot's fiscal fourth-quarter net income dipped 1 percent, hampered by bad winter weather and one less week in the period than a year ago.

Still, its earnings topped Wall Street's view, and the No. 1 home improvement retailer raised its quarterly dividend by 21 percent. Its fiscal 2014 forecast was below analysts' expectations.

The stock edged up in early premarket trading Tuesday.

Home Depot Inc. earned $1.01 billion, or 73 cents per share, for the three months ended Feb. 2. That compares with $1.02 billion, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier. There were fewer shares outstanding in the latest quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 71 cents per share.

Revenue for the Atlanta company fell 3 percent to $17.7 million from $18.25 billion, hurt by one less week in the latest quarter. Stripping out the extra week from the prior-year period, revenue rose 3.9 percent in the latest quarter.

Wall Street predicted revenue of $17.92 billion.

Home Depot's smaller rival Lowe's Cos. reports its quarterly results on Wednesday.

Home Depot said that fourth-quarter sales at stores open at least a year rose 4.4 percent. For stores in the U.S., the figure increased 4.9 percent.

This metric is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Full-year net income rose to $5.39 billion, or $3.76 per share, from $4.54 billion, or $3 per share, in the previous year.

Annual revenue climbed 5 percent to $78.81 billion from $74.75 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 6.8 percent. Those stores in the U.S. reported a 7.5 percent increase in the metric.

Home Depot also announced Tuesday that it is increasing its quarterly dividend to 47 cents per share from 39 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on March 27 to shareholders of record on March 13.

Looking ahead, the retailer anticipates fiscal 2014 earnings of $4.38 per share. Revenue is expected to rise by about 4.8 percent. Based on 2013's revenue of $78.81 billion, this implies approximately $82.6 billion.

Analysts forecast full-year earnings of $4.42 per share on revenue of $82.85 billion.

Shares of Home Depot rose $1.13, or 1.5 percent, to $79 in premarket trading about three hours before the market open.


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Source: Associated Press


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