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Lowe's 2Q earnings dip, stimulus no help

Lowe's Companies today reported a 19 percent drop in earnings in its second quarter compared to the same period a year ago. WFAE's Simone Orendain has more: Lowe's says net earnings for the second quarter were 51 cents a share or $759 million. In the same quarter last year, net earnings were 63 cents per share or $938 million. Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock told investors the recession has kept sales weak. "We expected challenging economic conditions," he said. "But wavering levels of consumer confidence, unseasonable weather in many areas and tougher than anticipated comparisons to last year's stimulus-related spending led to lower sales than expected." Niblock says this year's stimulus package, which has come in increments and not one lump sum, hasn't made a dent in sales. The world's number two home improvement company has seen a decrease in big-ticket item sales as customers hold off on major improvements. Because of poor sales, the Mooresville-based company says it cancelled projects to open new stores and took a $48 million hit. Still, Niblock says the economic recovery appears to be underway. He says it's most noticeable in sales for do-it-yourself projects, especially painting and gardening, which increased in the second quarter.