Home Depot beats profit, sales expectations and boosts dividend, but stock slips

Shares of Home Depot Inc.

fell 1.0% in premarket trading Tuesday, even after the home improvement retail giant reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales that rose above expectations and boosted its dividend by 10%. Net income for the quarter to Jan. 31 increased to $2.86 billion, or $2.65 a share, from $2.48 billion, or $2.28 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $2.63. Net sales grew 25.1% to $32.26 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $30.63 billion. Same-store sales increased 24.5%, well above the FactSet consensus of 19.2% growth, while U.S. same-store sales growth of 25.0% beat expectations of a 20.9% rise. The company said it was not providing full-year financial guidance given uncertainties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Separately, the company raised its quarterly dividend to $1.65 a share from $1.50 a share, with the new dividend payable March 25 to shareholders of record on March 11. “As we look ahead to fiscal 2021, while we are not able to predict how consumer spending will evolve, if the demand environment during the back half of fiscal 2020 were to persist through fiscal 2021, it would imply flat to slightly positive comparable sales growth and operating margin of at least 14 percent,” said Chief Financial Officer Richard McPhail. The stock has gained 1.6% over the past three months through Monday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average

has advanced 6.5%.

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