Earnings: Lowe's |

Lowe's Reports Profit Leaps 44 Percent

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - (AP) - Lowe's Cos., the nation's second-largest home improvement chain, on Monday said first-quarter earnings climbed 44 percent as revenue rose 20 percent.

First-quarter profit jumped to $841 million, or $1.06 per share, in the three months ended May 5 from $586 million, or 73 cents per share, during the same period last year. Revenue grew 20 percent to $11.92 billion from $9.91 billion last year.

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Analysts, on average, predicted a profit of 94 cents a share on revenue of $11.84 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Lowe's shares rose $1.35, or 2.2 percent, to $63.99 in premarket trading.

The revenue figures were helped by an extra week in the latest quarter compared with 2005. This shift will hurt the second and fourth quarters, the company said.

Sales in stores open at least one year, a widely used industry gauge of performance known as same-store sales, grew 5.7 percent during the quarter. The company said same-store sales were not affected by the sales week shift.

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe's, second to Home Depot Inc. (HD) among U.S. home improvement chains, said it expects revenue to grow 12 percent in the second quarter with same-store sales increasing 3 percent to 5 percent. It expects earnings of $1.21 to $1.24 per share.

Analysts are predicting a profit of $1.23 per share on revenue of $13.59 billion.

For the year, the company forecast earnings of $4.14 to $4.22 per share on revenue growth of 13 percent, along with same-store sales growth of 4 percent to 5 percent. Analysts expect earnings of $4.06 per share on $49.15 billion in revenue.

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