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Home Depot ($78.99 0.08%) reported a 32% increase in fourth-quarter earnings, boosted by the warm weather, which drove demand for building projects.
Fourth-quarter income rose to $774 million, or 50 cents a share, from $587 million, or 36 cents a share, and sales were up 5.9% to $16 billion.
The company saw positive same-store sales during the final three months of 2011 in all of its top 40 markets, including those in hard-hit California and Florida, Chief Executive Frank Blake said. The company’s stores in Canada and Mexico also saw an increase in sales.
While Blake said the home improvenment store's results may suggest a strengthening yet still uncertain market, pointing out that private, fixed-residential investment as a percent of gross domestic product remains near its 60-year low of 2.26%.
"We think it is too early to say that there has been a significant improvement in our overall market, but we continue to build a strong business on the basic repair and remodel needs of our customers, recognizing that we have a base of over 130 million aging homes," he said. "In this environment, we think our growth will be consistent with US GDP, making some adjustments for positive weather impacts in 2011."
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