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Earnings Preview: Home Depot rides recovery

NEW YORK (AP) -- Home Depot Inc., the nation's largest home-improvement retailer, reports its second-quarter results before the market opens Tuesday, and analysts will be watching for any indication that sales are improving as the housing industry continues to recover.

Analysts expect higher net income and revenue from the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Home Depot, which operates 2,257 stores, and other retailers are enjoying easing pressure as the housing market slowly improves.

Steady price increases are the latest sign of a recovery in housing, and on Aug. 6, CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, said U.S. home prices surged 11.9 percent in June from a year earlier. Stable job gains and still-low mortgage rates have encouraged more Americans to buy homes. Greater demand add few homes for sale, has helped push up prices.

Home Depot has also been improving store productivity and testing 5 paint stores in China, It is also is focusing its capital spending on information technology and e-commerce. About $450 million of the company's $1.5 billion capital spending this year will be on IT. Analysts will be looking for an update on these efforts.

Home Depot's smaller rival Lowe's Cos. reports its results on Wednesday.

WHY IT MATTERS: Strong sales would be another indicator that people are feeling better about the economy and housing market.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts expect Atlanta-based Home Depot to report earnings of $1.21 per share on revenue of $21.72 billion, according to FactSet.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Net income totaled $1.01 per share on revenue of $16.01 billion.