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Nasdaq Still Down as Rotation Continues, Home Depot Beats

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Nasdaq is taking it on the chin again this morning, following a nearly 2.5% sell-off in regular trading Monday. Another 200 points in the red for the tech-heavy index greets investors this morning. The Dow and S&P 500 are in the red, too, but only marginally. Yesterday, only the Dow eked out a closing gain. And while we focused yesterday afternoon on Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) having slid, in reality the Nasdaq is seeing plenty of selling off: Shopify (SHOP - Free Report) -7%, Teledoc (TDOC - Free Report) -6%, Zoom Video (ZM - Free Report) -5% and Peloton (PTON - Free Report) -3%.

As we rotate back toward a more “normal” economy — less dependent on “stay at home” activities — we were bound to see some profit-taking with some of these biggest names of the pandemic. But none of these companies just mentioned are in danger of losing considerable business; reallocating funds toward cheaper household names that will benefit from a re-opening economy — not to mention a big influx of personal stimulus from the federal government — is all part of the game.

The Case Shiller Home Price Index for the month of December (yes, it’s a relatively antiquated number, though reliably the most accurate of all housing price metrics) came in at 10.4% on the headline, outperforming the 9.5% projected, on notable strength in the West and Southwest regions. All regions showed month-over-month growth, and 18 of the 19 cities surveyed were in the green. As per usual, Phoenix led the way, up 14.4%, followed by Seattle at +13.6% and San Diego +13.0%.

Fed Chair Jay Powell begins his two-day testimony this morning before a Senate committee on Capitol Hill. The last we heard from the chairman, he did not indicate any near-term issues with interest rates. Although since then, we have seen some green shoots of price strengthening that would indicate inflation is starting to find its footing in the present economy, which would eventually necessitate a bump in rates. Analysts will be listening for a change of tone — if not direct vocabulary — to this effect.

Home Depot (HD - Free Report) posted its third-straight earnings beat ahead of today’s opening bell, topping expectations by 2 cents to $2.65 per share on sales of $32.26 billion, which easily surpassed the $30.66 billion in the Zacks consensus. U.S. comps grew 25% on strong pandemic-era DIY projects in the quarter. The company also upped its dividend yield by 10% to $1.65 per share. The home improvement retail giant did not, however, offer guidance going forward, citing uncertainties with current pandemic conditions in the near future.

That said, Home Depot will be fine even if Covid-19 were cured globally tomorrow. As much as 45% of its quarterly sales came from professional workforces — more than double that of rival Lowe’s (LOW - Free Report) . Thus, when homeowners grow more comfortable with having interior designers (for instance) visiting their domiciles, supplies from Home Depot will likely move at a competitive clip regardless.

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