(Adds outlook, estimates, Lowe's)
By Dhanya Skariachan
Nov 19 (Reuters) - A recovery in the U.S. housing markethelped Home Depot Inc to top profit and sales estimatesfor the third quarter, prompting the No. 1 home improvementchain to raise its fiscal-year outlook for the third time thisyear on Tuesday.
A rise in home prices has encouraged homeowners to take updelayed projects and invest more in their properties this year.The housing recovery has also sparked professional contractorsto spend more, helping sales at home improvement chains.
Home Depot has also improved distribution, cut costs andtailored marketing and merchandising efforts to local markets.Smaller rival Lowe's Cos Inc is due to report results onWednesday.
In the third quarter, Home Depot's net earnings rose to $1.4billion, or 95 cents a share, from $947 million, or 63 cents ashare, a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, looked for a profit of 90 cents ashare, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose 7.4 percent to $19.5 billion, beating theanalysts' average estimate of about $19.2 billion. (Reporting By Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by David Goodman andJeffrey Benkoe)
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