Home Depot (NYSE: HD), the largest U.S. home improvement retailer, reported a fourth-quarter profit after positing a loss in the year-earlier period as same-store sales rose 1.2% for the company's first gain on that front since the first quarter of 2006. The Dow component said it expects to earn $1.79 a share this year. That's above the the $1.72 consensus estimate, and between Home Depot's profit report today and the one issued by rival Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) on Monday, it appears the worst may be behind the housing market.
While calling a bottom in housing and becoming immediately bullish on Home Depot and Lowe's may or may not be the proper course of action to take right now, we do know that Home Depot also said it is boosting its quarterly dividend by 5% to 23.625 cents per share. That's the company's first dividend increase since 2006. The new dividend is payable on March 25 to shareholders of record on March 11.
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Factoring in the higher dividend into Home Depot's closing price on Tuesday the yield would move close 3.1% from 3%. Home Depot is the fourth Dow component to boost its payout in recent weeks, following United Technologies (NYSE: UTX), 3M (NYSE: MMM) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO).
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