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Home Depot Swings to Profit, Ups Dividend

The world's No. 1 home-improvement retailer swung to a profit in the fourth quarter and said it was raising its dividend 5%.

Updated from 6:37 a.m. EST

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

, the world's No. 1 home-improvement retailer, swung to a profit in the fourth quarter and said it was raising its dividend 5%.

Home Depot's dividend increase to 23.625 cents was its first since 2006.

Home Depot said fourth-quarter earnings were $342 million, or 20 cents a share. Adjusted earnings were 24 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Home Depot to earn 17 cents a share.

Sales fell 0.3% to $14.57 billion but topped Wall Street's view of $14.07 billion. Comparable-store sales in the quarter rose 1.2%. U.S. comparable sales declined 1.1%.

Home Depot said it expects earnings from continuing operations in 2010 to increase about 15.5% to $1.79 a share. It expects sales growth of about 2.5% and comparable-store sales growth of about 2.5%.

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Smaller rival

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

on Monday said its

fourth-quarter earnings topped analyst estimates

. But its forecast for first-quarter net income fell short of analyst views.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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