Home Depot is riding America's housing boom

ATLANTA - Americans are plowing money into their homes at an astonishing rate, new, used and even those not yet built, creating for Home Depot (HD) a frenzy of loyal customers.

The world's biggest home improvement retailer rang up its highest quarterly sales, and richest earnings in the company's history, and boosted its outlook for the year Tuesday.

Revenue for the period ended July increased to $28.11 billion from $26.47 billion, topping the $27.84 billion that analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research forecast.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailers' health, increased 6.3 percent. In the U.S., the figure rose 6.6 percent.

In June, Americans signed more contracts to buy homes, snapping a three-month decline in pending sales. That same month, U.S. sales of new homes rose slightly, a sign that more would-be buyers are seeking newly built properties. In May U.S. home prices reached a new high for the sixth straight month.

Home Depot earned $2.67 billion, or $2.25 per share, in the quarter. A year ago the Atlanta-based company earned $2.44 billion, or $1.97 per share.

Analysts were calling for earnings of $2.21 per share, according to a Zacks survey.

Home Depot now foresees 2017 earnings per share will rise about 13 percent from the prior-year period and sales will climb approximately 5.3 percent. Its previous guidance was for earnings per share growth of about 11 percent and sales growth of approximately 4.6 percent.

It remains to be seen if Home Depot's robust earnings will translate into a further boost for the company's share price. So far this year the stock is up 15 percent, but at $154 it's now just below its 52-week high of $161. And in premarket trading on Tuesday morning, the shares slid lower by 0.5 percent, or 76 cents.