Home Depot Raises Earnings Guidance

Fiscal-year earnings are still expected to decline but not as steeply as originally forecast at the home-improvement retailer.
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Updated from 7:27 a.m. EDT

The world's No. 1 home-improvement retailer

Home Depot

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lifted its fiscal-year earnings outlook, saying it now expects earnings per share from continuing operations to be flat to down 7% from a year earlier, while adjusted earnings are seen falling 20% to 26%.

Home Depot previously said it expected fiscal-year earnings from continuing operations down 7% from last year, and adjusted earnings down 26%.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Home Depot to report earnings for the fiscal year ending in January 2010 of $1.40 a share. Last year, the company earned $1.78 a share.

In a statement before an analyst conference later Wednesday, the company said it still expects a 9% decline in sales, comparable-store sales to be "high single digit negative" and for gross margin expansion to be flat to slightly positive. Analysts expect fiscal-year sales of $$65.3 billion.

Home Depot said a "correction" in the home improvement market will help it achieve its long-term targets of operating margin of about 10% and a return on invested capital of about 15%.