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