Home Depot and Lowe's Report in Sandy's Continuing Wake

Home Depot and Lowe's continue to service, and benefit from, the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

It's been nearly seven months since the storm ravaged many communities along the east coast, and the reconstruction effort continues.

Hurricane construction
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That's expected to help both of the leading home improvement retailers post strong profits when they report quarterly results this week. Home Depot (HD) results are due out tomorrow morning and Lowe's (LOW) reports on Wednesday.

Home Depot opened a smaller store in the hard hit town of Seaside Heights, New Jersey this year. It's been set up to take orders from contractors involved in the rebuilding. There's also a design center for local residents.

The pick-up in orders from contractors isn't just along the path of Hurricane Sandy. The surge in home sales this year has jump-started that side of the business for both Home Depot and Lowe's.

Contractors usually account for more than a quarter of Home Depot's sales.

The resurgent housing market is also prompting new homeowners to spend heavily on landscaping, decorating and do-it-yourself projects. That could help offset the impact of a particularly cool spring that may have limited the sales of gardening and other seasonal items.

According to Briefing.com, Home Depot is expected to post earnings of 76¢ a share, up from 65¢ a year ago.

Lowe's is seen earning 51¢, up from 44¢ a year ago.

Revenue gains for both retailers are expected to be in the two to six percent range.

In general, Home Depot has been outperforming smaller rival Lowe's -- partly, analysts say, because it operated more efficiently. In its previous earnings report back in February, Home Depot posted a 32 percent profit jump and, unlike other retailers, said its customers did not seem to be holding back because of the payroll-tax hike.

But Lowe's has held its own on Wall Street. Its shares have jumped 33 percent so far this year. Over that same time, Home Depot is up 24 percent.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg

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