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Home Depot reports 7.5% Q4 sales gain, boosts dividend 15.7%

The Home Depot Inc. on Feb. 20 reported year-over-year gains in net income, earnings per share and sales, while setting full-year guidance expectations that call for solid sales growth.

Earnings per share for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28 rose 5.6% year over year to $1.52, above the mean consensus estimate for GAAP EPS of $1.43 compiled by S&P Capital IQ.

Net income for the quarter increased 2% year over year to $1.78 billion. Net earnings included a provisional charge of $127 million from the impact of recent U.S. tax legislation. Combined with a one-time bonus for hourly associates, diluted earnings were reduced by 17 cents per share.

The home improvement retailer said that for the fiscal year ended Jan. 28, EPS aggregated $7.29, up 13% compared to the prior year, and net earnings totaled $8.63 billion, up 8.5% year over year.

Fourth-quarter sales totaled $23.88 billion, up 7.5% year over year, while sales for the fiscal year totaled $100.9 billion, a 6.7% rise. Comparable sales for the fiscal fourth quarter rose 7.5% globally and 7.2% for U.S. stores.

For fiscal 2018, Home Depot expects EPS of $9.31. The fiscal year will include 53 weeks of operational results; the 53rd week will contribute 19 cents to the company's diluted EPS.

The company expects sales growth of roughly 6.5% in fiscal 2018, with comparable-store sales growth of 5.0%. It plans to open three new stores during the year.

For its long-term financial targets, Home Depot reaffirmed 2020 annual sales of $115 billion to $120 billion and a compounded annual sales growth rate of 4.5% to 6.0%.

Home Depot's board of directors raised the company's quarterly dividend 15.7% to $1.03 per share, payable March 22 to shareholders of record March 8.