Housing hammer falls at Lowe's, Lennar ...
* Lowe's Cos., the home improvement retailer that competes with Home Depot, said profit will come in at the low end -- or below -- its previously issued, per-share earnings guidance range of $1.97 to $2.01 per share. The company cited drought conditions in its warning, but I don't think it's a stretch to say the housing market downturn is the real problem here.
* The news out of home builder Lennar was even worse. The company reported a whopping $513.9 million net loss in the third quarter, a huge swing from $206.7 million in profit in the year-earlier period. Bloomberg is calling it the largest quarterly loss in Lennar's 53-year history.
* Some of the details: The company has cut 35% of its workforce. It offered $46,000 per home in incentives on houses delivered in Q3, up from $35,900 a year earlier. And it took $857 million in write-offs and valuation cuts to goodwill, investments, land option deposits, land, and finished homes. That compared to $76 million a year earlier. But perhaps the biggest shocker was the decline in new orders. They were down a whopping 47.5% year-over-year.
Still to come today in the sector: The July S&P/Case-Shiller Home price index and August existing home sales.