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Lehman Hikes Lowe's Estimates

Lowe's (LOW) reported $0.44 vs. $0.29 Q1 EPS. The home improvement retailer raised forecasts. Lehman Brothers raised its estimates.

Analyst Alan Rifkin tells Standard & Poor's MarketScope the company's Q1 results were stellar -- he had a $0.36 EPS estimate. Although the 7.5% same store sales rise was in line with his forecast, gross margins were well above his expectations. As a result, Rifkin raised his EPS estimates for Q2 from $0.52 to $0.54, for fiscal 2003 (ending January) EPS from $1.58 to $1.69, and for fiscal 2004 from $1.88 to $2.01. He believes Lowe's positive results have a broader indication for Home Depot (HD) on May 21. He continues to recommend Lowe's and expects a 7%-8% rise in the shares following the earnings news.

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