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Buy Home Depot before earnings due to booming housing sales: Jefferies

  • Jefferies predicts Home Depot will report better than expected sales next week, according to its retail checks.
  • "Home improvement spending still remains healthier than most areas in retail," the firm's analyst said.
  • Home Depot shares are up 15.8 percent year to date through Wednesday compared with the S&P 500's 10.5 percent return.

Home Depot employee helps a customer as she shops in the paint department at the store in Miami.
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Home Depot employee helps a customer as she shops in the paint department at the store in Miami.

Home improvement sales may be one of the few bright spots for Home Depot.

Daniel Binder, an analyst at Jefferies, predicts the retailer will beat expectations next week due to strong housing sales that are boosting demand for products used in home improvement projects.

"Home improvement spending still remains healthier than most areas in retail," Binder wrote in a note to clients Thursday. "Our field checks for HD showed a strong Q2 and we expect relative comp sales outperformance. … We believe seasonal, core building supplies and pro were strengths for both Home Depot and Lowe's, but believe Home Depot performed better overall."

Home Depot's stock is outperforming the market. Its shares are up 15.8 percent year to date through Wednesday compared with the S&P 500's 10.5 percent return.

Binder reiterated his buy rating and his $182 price target for Home Depot, representing 17 percent upside to Wednesday's close.

The analyst cited government census data for building materials, hardware and garden supply sales, which revealed a 7.0 percent rise in the second quarter versus the 6.5 percent increase in the first quarter.

"Macro indicators and vendor reports indicate the sector remains healthy. New home sales continues on an upward trend, and housing affordability, while volatile within a narrow range, is still very favorable compared to pre-housing bubble levels," he wrote.

As a result, the analyst increased his Home Depot comparable store sales growth estimate for the second quarter to 5.0 percent from 4.5 percent. The Wall Street consensus of analysts has that number at 4.8 percent.

The company will report fiscal second-quarter results on Tuesday, Aug. 15, according to its website.