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Sector Snap: retailers up on TJX, Urban results

NEW YORK (AP) -- Retailers' quarterly earnings are shaping up to be a mixed bag, but a bevy of better-than-expected results from companies including Urban Outfitters Inc. and TJX Cos. Inc. is giving a boost to the sector's stocks on Tuesday.

The performances are welcome news after companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Macy's Inc. reported quarterly results last week that missed analysts' expectations. The pair also cut their full-year profit forecasts, as did Nordstrom Inc.

Urban Outfitters provided the first glimmer of hope that not all retailers struggled during the three-month period. The chain's fiscal second-quarter earnings topped Wall Street's view, and the Philadelphia company posted a strong gain in a key revenue figure late Monday.

Urban Outfitters' quarterly revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 9 percent. That is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial performance as it removes the impact of recently opened or closed stores. The company includes revenue from sales direct to consumers, which generally includes online and catalog sales.

Janney Capital Markets' Adrienne Tennant said in a client note that July was the best month in Urban Outfitters' quarter, which bodes well heading into the third quarter. She expects the momentum to continue during the year's second half.

Urban Outfitters' stock added $4.05, or 10.2 percent, to $43.96 in afternoon trading. Over the past year, the shares have traded between $30.91 and $44.96.

The good news kept coming on Tuesday, when Home Depot — the nation's biggest home improvement retailer — posted second-quarter results above analysts' expectations. The company also lifted its full-year earnings and revenue expectations again.

Daniel Binder of Jefferies said that Home Depot's sales rebounded as temperatures warmed up following cooler weather in the spring and early summer. The chain got an additional boost from the continued recovery of the housing market. He kept a "Buy" rating.

Shares of Home Depot flat at $75.21.

TJX, parent of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and other stores, also reported second-quarter results that beat Wall Street's estimates. Similar to Home Depot, the company raised its full-year profit forecast.

Oliver Chen of Citi Investment Research said TJX's results topped his forecast and that the company was "just what the doctor ordered" in such an uneven retail environment. He maintained a "Buy" rating.

Shares of TJX gained $3, or 5.9 percent, to $53.75. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $40.08 to $54.29.

Best Buy Co.'s second-quarter performance also came in better than expected, with online sales climbing.

Kate McShane, also of Citi, said that Best Buy seems to be making some progress in turning around its struggling business, as its domestic revenue edged higher in the quarter. The analyst reaffirmed a "Neutral" rating.

Best Buy has been cutting costs and revamping stores to offset tough competition from discounters and online retailers. Under CEO Hubert Joly, the company has instituted a price-matching policy, opened more store-in-store areas for manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung and invested more to train employees. Its stock rose $3.07, or 10 percent, to $33.80. The shares touched $34.65 earlier, the highest point since February 2011.