Lowe's (LOW), Home Depot (HD) Rise on New Pending Home Sales Data

August 29, 2012 11:50 AM EDT
Home improvement retailers Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) are ticking higher Wednesday following positive data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), issued earlier.

The NAR's Pending Home Sales Index rose 2.4 percent to 101.7 in July, from 99.3 in June. Adding to sentiment is NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who said the index is at its highest level since April 2010, following expiration of the home buyer tax credit.

But, more homes could be sold. Yun commented, "All regions saw monthly increases in home-buying activity except for the West, which is now experiencing an acute inventory shortage."

The NAR said existing-home sales are projected to rise 8 to 9 percent in 2012, followed by another 7 to 8 percent gain in 2013. Home prices are expected to increase 10 percent cumulatively over the next two years.

Home Depot and Lowe's could be moving on the outlook. Despite the slowdown, rising home prices and ebbing inventory might indicate more and more homeowners might look to fix up homes to sell before prices normalize too much. With weather unusually warm in the early part of 2012, sales have been sluggish with inventory mix slightly missing demand. That seasonality is coming back into focus, as Home Depot displayed with its recent earnings report. Lowe's, however, didn't fare as well with its most recent numbers.

Shares of Home Depot are up 0.2 percent, while Lowe's is 1.2 percent better on the session.

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