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Real GDP growth was stronger than initially estimated. It grew 1% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ second estimate. The second estimate is an upward revision from the initial 0.7% reported in January. The revision reflects higher private inventory investment and lower imports. Overall, Real GDP grew 2.4% in 2015, the same rate as in 2014.
Crude Oil rose 10.5% this week amid talks of another producer meeting in March to freeze production. It closed at $33.00 per barrel. Commercial crude oil inventories (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased 0.7% to 507.6 million barrels from 504.1 million the past week. The national average retail regular gasoline price rose 0.4% to $1.730 from $1.724 per gallon the preceding week.
The labor market continues to show positive signs as continuing claims fall. Although initial unemployment claims rose 3.8% to 272,000 from 262,000 the past week, continuing claims fell 0.8% to 2,253,000 from 2,272,000. Additionally, the continuing claims 4-week moving average fell 0.2% to 2,257,000 from 2,262,250. The insured unemployment rate was unchanged from the past week at 1.7%.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD) announced a 9.5% revenue increase and a 6.7% net income increase for Q4 2015 YoY. Diluted EPS rose 11.4% to $1.17 from $1.05 the same quarter in 2014. Comparable store sales grew 7.1% as big-ticket purchases in appliances, roofing and special-order kitchens increased. Additionally, installation services in roofing, sheds and countertops contributed to growth.
Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) reported a revenue increase of 5.6% for Q4 2015 YoY. However, net income fell 97.6% as selling, general, and administrative expenses climbed 19.4% following the firm’s decision to exit its Australian joint venture with Woolworths. Consequently, diluted EPS declined 97.8% to $0.01 from $0.46 the same quarter the previous year. Comparable sales for the quarter increased 5.2%.
TJX Companies’ (NYSE: TJX) revenue rose 7.9% while net income rose 2.8% for Q4 2016 YoY. Diluted EPS increased 6.5% to $0.99 from $0.93 from the same quarter in fiscal year 2015. Marmaxx, homegoods, and international segment revenue increased 8.2%, 14.2% and 6.9%, respectively while TJX Canada sales fell 0.8%. Consolidated comparable store sales increased 6% for the quarter.
Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ: KHC) posted a 154.5% rise in revenue and a 292.7% increase in net income for Q4 2015 YoY. As a result, diluted earnings per share were $0.23 from losses per share of $0.04 the same quarter the past year. The increase in revenue was driven by the successful merger of Kraft Foods Group, Inc. into a wholly owned subsidiary of H.J. Heinz Holding Corporation in July of 2015.
The following companies will be releasing their earnings results next week.