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Lowes, cautious about housing market, lowers 2012 outlook

Lowe’s Cos.’ first-quarter profit climbed 14 percent, as warmer weather helped boost sales. But the world’s second-biggest home-improvement company lowered its full-year earnings forecast Monday, saying it is still cautious on the housing market and economic conditions.

While warmer weather helped quarterly results, Robert Niblock, CEO of the Mooresville-based company, said in a statement that demand for seasonal products slowed toward the end of the period.

Like many retailers, Lowe’s has continued to deal with consumers remaining cautious in spending on their homes as the housing slump and soft economic conditions continue.

The company reported net income of $527 million, or 43 cents per share, for the period ended May 4. That’s up from $461 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $13.15 billion from $12.19 billion.

The performance beat the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet, who forecast earnings of 42 cents per share on revenue of $12.99 billion.

Last week, rival Home Depot Inc. reported that its first-quarter net income climbed almost 28 percent, with revenue up 6 percent.

Lowe’s expects 2012 earnings of $1.73 to $1.83 per share, down from $1.75 to $1.85 per share. It maintained its guidance for revenue to rise 1 percent to 2 percent, which implies $50.69 billion
to $51.2 billion.

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