THE NEWS: The Home Depot Inc. is feeling more upbeat about its prospects after healthy sales and cost-cutting helped lift its profit by 12 percent in the second quarter.
THE NUMBERS: The Atlanta-based company said revenue at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 2.6 percent. The metric is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it strips out the impact of recently opened or closed locations.
THE BIG PICTURE: Now that the housing market is starting to recover slightly, home prices are climbing somewhat and construction is on the rise. This typically helps companies like Home Depot as contractors head in for supplies. Homeowners may also spend more on remodeling projects.