Lehman Ups Home Depot Estimates

Analyst Alan Rifkin says the company has shown solid expense control in very tough times

Home Depot (HD ) posted $0.39 vs. $0.36 Q2 earnings per share. The company expects to meet the $0.33 Q3 consensus EPS estimate. Lehman Bros. raised its earnings estimates on the home-center giant and reiterated its strong buy rating on the shares.

Analyst Alan Rifkin says Home Depot's Q2 was strong, exceeding even the "whisper number". He says the company has demonstrated solid expense control in very tough times. He also notes sequential growth with improved average ticket numbers, as well as a fairly consistent number of transactions. Rifkin raised his $1.25 fiscal 2002 (Jan.) EPS estimate to $1.27 and his $1.52 fiscal 2003 forecast to to $1.54. He has a $55 price target on the shares.