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Home Depot's quarterly profit rises 2 percent

(Reuters) - Home Depot Inc (HD.N), the largest U.S. home improvement chain, reported a 2 percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by higher customer traffic amid improving housing market.

Net earnings rose to $1.78 billion, or $1.52 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, from $1.74 billion, or $1.44 per share, a year earlier.

Home Depot said last month that the U.S. tax laws reform would lead to an expense of about $150 million. This along with a planned one-time $1000 bonus payment for employees, lowered fourth-quarter profit by about 17 cents per share.

The retailer’s net sales rose 7.5 percent to $23.88 billion.

Sales at stores open for more than a year rose 7.5 percent, above the average analyst estimate of 6.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.