Wednesday October 7th, 2015 1:28PM

Home Depot 3Q results up on strength at US stores

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Home Depot's fiscal third-quarter profit climbed as sales at its U.S. stores strengthened amid the improvement of the housing market.

The results for the nation's biggest home improvement company beat analysts' estimates. The chain also lifted its full-year forecast again on Tuesday, citing its year-to-date performance and outlook for the remainder of the year.

Its stock rose more than 2 percent in premarket trading.

For the three months ended Nov. 3, Home Depot Inc. reported net income of $1.35 billion, or 95 cents per share, up from $947 million, or 63 cents per share, a year ago. The prior-year period was weighed down by a one-time charge of 11 cents per share tied to store closings in China.

Analysts expected earnings of 89 cents per share.

Revenue for the Atlanta-based company rose 7 percent to $19.47 billion from $18.13 billion. Wall Street predicted $19.18 billion.

The shares gained $2.08, or 2.6 percent, to $81.75 in premarket trading about 3 1/2 hours before the market open.

Record-low interest rates and rising prices have fueled big sales at Home Depot, pushing company shares to an all-time high in May.

In the third quarter, the chain reported that sales at stores open at least a year rose 7.4 percent. In the U.S., that figure increased 8.2 percent.

This metric is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes potentially distorting results from stores recently opened or closed.

Smaller rival Lowe's Cos. reports quarterly results on Wednesday.

Home Depot now foresees fiscal 2013 earnings to be up about 24 percent to $3.72 per share. Revenue is expected to be up approximately 5.6 percent. The company had also increased its full-year outlook in August. It previously predicted earnings of $3.60 per share, with revenue up about 4.5 percent. Based on 2012's revenue of $74.75 billion, the new guidance implies approximately $78.9 billion.

Analysts expect full-year earnings of $3.70 per share on revenue of $78.63 billion.

Home Depot said that its fiscal 2013 forecasts are based on a 52-week year compared with a 53-week year in fiscal 2012. Its earnings outlook includes the benefit of its year-to-date stock buybacks of $6.4 billion and its plan to repurchase $2.1 billion of additional shares in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Home Depot had 2,260 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico at the end of the third quarter.
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