* Raises 2013 earnings forecast to $3.72/share from $3.60
* Expects 2013 sales to rise about 5.6 pct
* Third-quarter earnings $0.95/share vs est $0.90
* Third-quarter revenue $19.47 bln vs est $19.18 bln
* Shares rise as much as 3 pct
(Adds executives' quotes, analyst comment; updates shares)
By Dhanya Skariachan
Nov 19 Home Depot Inc raised its 2013
forecast for the third time this year as rising home prices
encourage more Americans to invest in their properties and
complete delayed projects.
Shares of the No.1 U.S. home improvement chain rose 3
percent after the company's quarterly profit beat analysts'
estimates for the sixth quarter in a row.
Home Depot's third-quarter results gave fresh evidence that
the U.S. housing market continues to heal after years of
weakness. A bubble in the sector was at the core of the
2007-2009 financial crisis.
"The housing market continues to be a positive," Chief
Executive Francis Blake said on a post-earnings conference call.
Blake said that although private fixed residential
investment as a percentage of GDP improved again this past
quarter to 3.2 percent, it remained well below the 60-year
average of about 4.6 percent.
U.S. home prices have risen since early 2012 and economists
have singled out housing as one of the bright spots of the
Prices jumped again in August despite a recent rise in
mortgage rates and slowing demand for new homes, according to
the S&P/Case Shiller composite index.
Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome said she did not expect a
decline in home prices, which have been the biggest contributor
to the company's sales growth this year.
The company 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
"If every earnings report was like Home Depot, we would have
the easiest job in the world," Janney Capital Markets analyst
David Strasser wrote in a note to clients.
Home Depot raised its 2013 earnings forecast to $3.72 per
share from $3.60 and sales growth forecast to about 5.6 percent
from 4.5 percent.
In the third quarter, Home Depot's net earnings rose to
$1.35 billion, or 95 cents a share, from $947 million, or 63
cents a share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average expected a profit of 90 cents per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose 7.4 percent to $19.47 billion, beating the
analysts' average estimate of about $19.18 billion. Sales at
stores open at least a year rose 7.4 percent, with an 8.2
percent increase in the United States.
Home Depot said the number of customer transactions
increased 4 percent and the average ticket rose 3.2 percent in
The company's shares were up about 2 percent at $81.09 in
morning trading on Tuesday. Shares of Lowe's were up 0.6
(Additional reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore;
Editing by David Goodman and Jeffrey Benkoe)