S&P raises Home Depot’s credit rating
Citing improved performance, Standard & Poor’s announced Tuesday that it is raising its corporate credit rating for Home Depot from "A-" to "A".
Additionally, the credit ratings agency upped its short-term ratings from "A-2" to "A-1". These increasingly investment-grade ratings point to confidence in the company’s ability to meet its financial commitments, with a stable outlook on the ratings.
"The company’s financial policies, strong cash flow generating capability, and credit protection measures also support the ratings, even though the company used the bulk of its cash flow to repurchase shares," S&P credit analyst Andy Sookram told the Wall Street Journal.
Home Depot’s sunny outlook is largely thanks to a recovering housing market, which has helped buoy consumer activity in the home improvement sector.
The retailer’s most recent quarterly report demonstrated net income rising 17%, with sales rising 9% to $22.52 billion.
Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats help homeowners connect with utilities
Honeywell has announced that its full line of Wi-Fi thermostats will enable homeowners to connect with their utility and receive incentives for cutting down on electricity use.
"The same technology people purchase today to lower their heating bills can pay extra dividends in the summer months," said Tony Uttley, general manager of Home Comfort and Energy Systems at Honeywell. "Honeywell can easily link homeowners to these additional savings."
Here’s how the incentives work. During the summer, when air conditioners and power plants are running at max capacity, utilities will look to reduce energy use to ease stress on the electrical grid. To do this, they may compensate customers who are willing to raise the temperature in their homes a couple degrees, for a couple hours. These programs, also known as demand response, help keep the power flowing and lights on during heat waves.
In return for raising the temperature, customers can get rebates for installing hardware like a Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat and connecting to a utility program, along with other rewards, including bill credits for energy saved when the grid is congested. Homeowners retain control and interaction with the utility is fully automated.
The ability to participate in energy-savings events has been added to the Honeywell Wi-Fi 7-Day Touchscreen Thermostat. By early 2014, all of Honeywell’s Wi-Fi thermostats, including the Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, will be able to integrate with utility programs. A firmware upgrade will be available for existing thermostats.
Homeowners can control these devices using Total Connect Comfort, the thermostat app on iTunes and Google Play. Honeywell recently updated the app so customers who join utility programs receive alerts on their smartphones or tablets whenever an energy-savings event is scheduled.