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Home Depot Going Strong on Earnings: Scales 52-Week High

There has been no looking back for the home improvement retailer, Home Depot Inc. HD since it reported solid fourth-quarter fiscal 2015 top and bottom lines on Feb 23. The stock has surged over 10% since then and about 19.7% year over year. Moreover, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock hit a 52-week high of $137.00 on Apr 19, eventually closing at $135.44.

Aside from the strong quarterly results, Home Depot has been wooing investors with its stringent focus on developing merchandising tools, increased e-commerce investments and solid execution amid continued housing market recovery. Moreover, the company is on track to achieve its long-term dividend payout, share repurchase and return on investment targets.

The world’s largest home improvement retailer has been reporting strong financial statistics since 2008, with steady improvement in revenue, EPS and net income. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 2.5% over the trailing four quarters. In fourth-quarter fiscal 2015, the company’s top and bottom lines gained from its focus on improving customer experience, solid execution and the housing market recovery. This was followed by a robust guidance for fiscal 2016 that lead to an uptrend in estimates.

Further, Home Depot has been implementing several initiatives to drive long-term growth. In response to the evolving retail environment, where digital and physical stores go hand in hand, the company remains keen on building its interconnected capabilities. To do this, the company is constantly investing in content, developing its website and improving mobile experience to provide better customer experience. The benefits from these initiatives were evident from its online business that gained 25% to nearly $1 billion in fiscal 2015.

Also, the company has always maintained a disciplined capital allocation strategy, with investments in business development and the excess going to shareholders as dividend payouts and share buybacks. The company had cash and cash equivalents of $2,216 million and generated cash from operations of $9,373 million as of Jan 31, 2016.

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 17% to 69 cents per share and bought back 16.2 million shares for $2 million in the fiscal fourth quarter (or 59 million shares for $7 billion in fiscal 2015). In fiscal 2016, the company intends to buy back shares worth $10 billion.

Moreover, as part of its capital allocation plan, the company sticks to its targeted dividend payout ratio of about 50% of earnings and plans to complete the remaining $11 billion share repurchase authorization by fiscal 2017 end. Also, it aims to achieve a return on invested capital of 35% by fiscal 2018.

Apart from Home Depot, Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. SPB, Colgate-Palmolive Co. CL and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV BUD also hit 52-week highs of $132.91, $71.79 and $112.99, respectively, on Apr 19, 2016.

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ANHEUSER-BU ADR (BUD): Free Stock Analysis Report
HOME DEPOT (HD): Free Stock Analysis Report
SPECTRUM BRANDS (SPB): Free Stock Analysis Report
COLGATE PALMOLI (CL): Free Stock Analysis Report
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