Home Depot shares were boosted in early trading after the home improvement retailer said profits beat expectations in the final quarter of its tax year.

The company reported net earnings of $1.7bn in the three months to the end of January, equating to $1.44 per share, better than analysts’ expectations of $1.33 a share.

Sales for the quarter rose 5.8 per cent to $22.2bn, while annual sales were up 6.9 per cent to $94.6bn.

The company also announced a 29 per cent increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.89 a share and said it had authorised a $15bn share repurchase programme.

Shares were up 3 per cent in pre-market trading. Home Depot’s stock has risen 6.6 per cent so far this year.

Commenting on the figures, Home Depot chairman, chief executive and president Craig Menear said that the year had seen a “healthy housing market and strong customer demand”.

The company said it expects sales to grow a further 4.6 per cent this year.

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