Stocks Opened Higher, Housing Recovery Boosts Home Depot 1Q Results

U.S. stocks opened higher on Tuesday, ahead of a much-anticipated statement from U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 64.97 points, or 0.42%, to 15,400.25 and the S&P 500 index gained 5.67 points, or 0.34%, to 1,671.96. The Nasdaq Composite gained 6.28 points, or 0.18%, to 3,502.71.

The Fed is conducting its third round of massive bond purchases known as quantitative easing. The aim has been to help drive down interest rates and spur lending.

Even though the weather was poor, Home Depot posted an 18 percent increase in its net income for the first quarter thanks to the ongoing housing recovery. For the three months ended May 5, Home Depot Inc. earned $1.23 billion, or 83 cents per share. That’s up from $1.04 billion, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier.

Best Buy Co. on Tuesday reported a loss in its fiscal first quarter as it sold its stake in Best Buy Europe and works on a turnaround plan that includes cutting costs and closing some stores. Net loss for the three months ended May 4 after paying preferred dividends totaled $81 million, or 24 cents per share. That compares with net income of $158 million, or 46 cents per share, last year.

Luxury retailer Saks Inc. (SKS) said Tuesday that its fiscal first-quarter profit fell to $20 million, or 13 cents a share, from $32.1 million, or 18 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose to $793.2 million from $753.6 million. Comparable sales rose 5.9%.

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