Lowe’s misses estimates, lags Home Depot

MOORESVILLE, N.C., Mon Aug 20, – Lowe’s Cos. Inc. reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results and cut its profit outlook for the fiscal year as the world’s second-largest home improvement chain lost market share to larger rival Home Depot Inc.

Lowe’s shares fell more than 8 percent in premarket trading.

The lackluster results came just days after Home Depot beat Wall Street’s quarterly profit estimates with the help of cost controls and market share gains, and raised its earnings outlook for the year.

Lowe’s recently decided to offer fewer discounts on expensive items like appliances, in sync with its bigger plan to offer “everyday low prices” rather than promotions. The move has driven some shoppers away.

Sales suffered in the traditionally strong second quarter, which ended on August 3, as unseasonably warm weather early in the year pulled some demand into the first quarter.

Sales at Lowe’s stores open at least a year fell 0.4 percent, including a 0.2 percent decrease for the U.S. business, marking the 13th straight quarter that the company trailed Home Depot Inc in same-store sales.

“Lowe’s inability to drive sales despite discounting remains a concern,” Janney analyst David Strasser said in a research note.

Net earnings fell to $747 million or 64 cents a share, from $830 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 70 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 2 percent to $14.25 billion, while analysts had expected $14.46 billion.

Lowe’s, which has stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, now expects flat total sales for the fiscal year ending on February 1. It forecast earnings of $1.64 a share for the period, compared with an outlook of $1.73 to $1.83 that it gave in May.

Lowe’s shares were down 8.1 percent at $25.60 in trading before the market opened.

Campbell Soup profit tops Wall Street estimates

CAMDEN, N.J. – Campbell Soup Co. reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, citing progress in its plan to turnaround its sagging U.S. soup business.

Its net income was $205 million, or 64 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter ended on Jan. 29, down from $239 million, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting 62 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 1 percent to $2.11 billion.

Campbell stood by its 2012 outlook, which calls for earnings of $2.35 to $2.42 per share and net sales to range from flat to up 2 percent.

JPMorgan Chase profit falls, but sees hope in economy

NEW YORK ― JPMorgan Chase & Co’s. fourth-quarter earnings fell 23 percent, in line with Wall Street expectations, as the European debt crisis depressed trading and corporate deal-making.

But Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said the largest U.S. bank by assets was seeing signs of improvement in loan demand and credit quality as the economy recovers.

The bank’s shares fell 2.9 percent in premarket trading. Through Thursday, the shares had climbed 11 percent this year.

JPMorgan is the first major U.S. bank to announce results for the period. Its figures show Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are in for a tough quarter as investment banking results suffer.

Others such as Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc, which also report results in the coming days, could benefit from the stronger business loan demand that JPMorgan experienced, but they continue to face problems in investment banking and housing loans.

JPMorgan’s results “show that there are major headwinds against the banking industry and it requires a strong management team to battle the headwinds,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm Libertyview Capital Management in New York.