Lowe's Cos., the No. 2 home improvement retailer, said third-quarter profit rose 33%, beating analysts' estimates, as the improving economy boosted sales.
Lowe's said sales at stores open at least a year, a key measure of retail performance, jumped 12.4%.
But the company's shares fell. Analysts said the sales gain failed to result in a better expense ratio. They also said some investors might have expected a higher fourth-quarter forecast and noted that shares of Lowe's and Home Depot may look fairly valued in light of new highs reached last month.
The Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer posted third-quarter earnings of $452 million, or 56 cents a share, up from $339 million, or 43 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 24% to $7.92 billion.
Lowe's shares fell 72 cents to $57.91 on the NYSE.