Home Depot

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Strong housing data has provided a shot in the arm for Home Depot's ( HD) performance in 2013, spurring shares close to 30% year-to-date. Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement retailer, with around $75 billion in annual sales. The firm boasts a network of 2,250 stores spread across the world -- albeit primarily in the U.S. and Canada.

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As consumers adjust to a housing market that isn't going up and away, Home Depot provides an alternative way to built equity and upgrade. Homeowners' natural interest in their biggest lifetime investment provides a truly captive audience for home improvement stores, and HD's big box model works exceedingly well as converting that audience into paying customers.

That doesn't mean that Home Depot hasn't made mistakes -- oh, has it ever. The firm nearly sunk itself by leveraging its way to too many stores in 2008, and its more recent entry into China turned out to be a flop. What's more important, however, is the fact that management has been adept at righting the ship each time the firm hits the rocks. Calculated risks should continue to yield palpable profits in 2013.

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