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Value Line Publishing, October 2002
Schill, Michael J.; Bruner, Robert F. Case F-1403 / Published November 21, 2002 / 13 pages.
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Product Overview

This case follows the performance review and financial-statement-forecasting decisions of a Value Line analyst for the retail building-supply industry in October 2002. The case contrasts the strong operating performance of Home Depot with the strong stock-market performance of Lowe's. Students examine a financial ratio analysis for Home Depot that acts as a template to generate a comparable ratio analysis for Lowe's. The student ratio analysis is designed to build intuition with respect to interpreting individual ratios as well as ratio interrelationships (e.g., the DuPont framework). The historical-performance comparison suggests that investors are skeptical of the ability of Home Depot to maintain its performance trajectory, yet they project sustained improvements for Lowe's. Students are invited to scrutinize the analyst's five-year income-statement and asset-side balance sheet forecast for Home Depot. The case expressly focuses on the asset side of the balance sheet as a preview for other cases using free-cash-flow forecasting. The Home Depot forecast exercise exposes students to the mechanics of financial-statement modeling and sensitivity analysis, which they can use in building their own forecast for Lowe's. Finally, the strong-growth assumptions for Home Depot relative to the modest-growth forecast for the industry suggest that the company can be expected to capture massive and perhaps unreasonable market share in the near term. The exercise provides a striking example of the importance of comparing bottom-up business forecasting with top-down industry forecasts.


Learning Objectives

The case may be used to develop any of the following teaching objectives: (1) exploring financial-statement and financial-ratio analysis; (2) reviewing the basics of financial forecasting as a platform for cash-flow forecasting, and building consideration of internal consistency of forecasting with respect to industry, peer, and own-firm comparisons; (3) investigating forecast-sensitivity analysis and value drivers; (4) preparing students for thoughtful cash-flow forecasting in the context of capital budgeting and acquisition valuation.

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  • Overview

    This case follows the performance review and financial-statement-forecasting decisions of a Value Line analyst for the retail building-supply industry in October 2002. The case contrasts the strong operating performance of Home Depot with the strong stock-market performance of Lowe's. Students examine a financial ratio analysis for Home Depot that acts as a template to generate a comparable ratio analysis for Lowe's. The student ratio analysis is designed to build intuition with respect to interpreting individual ratios as well as ratio interrelationships (e.g., the DuPont framework). The historical-performance comparison suggests that investors are skeptical of the ability of Home Depot to maintain its performance trajectory, yet they project sustained improvements for Lowe's. Students are invited to scrutinize the analyst's five-year income-statement and asset-side balance sheet forecast for Home Depot. The case expressly focuses on the asset side of the balance sheet as a preview for other cases using free-cash-flow forecasting. The Home Depot forecast exercise exposes students to the mechanics of financial-statement modeling and sensitivity analysis, which they can use in building their own forecast for Lowe's. Finally, the strong-growth assumptions for Home Depot relative to the modest-growth forecast for the industry suggest that the company can be expected to capture massive and perhaps unreasonable market share in the near term. The exercise provides a striking example of the importance of comparing bottom-up business forecasting with top-down industry forecasts.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    The case may be used to develop any of the following teaching objectives: (1) exploring financial-statement and financial-ratio analysis; (2) reviewing the basics of financial forecasting as a platform for cash-flow forecasting, and building consideration of internal consistency of forecasting with respect to industry, peer, and own-firm comparisons; (3) investigating forecast-sensitivity analysis and value drivers; (4) preparing students for thoughtful cash-flow forecasting in the context of capital budgeting and acquisition valuation.