Home Depot today announced its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2012 earnings, along with a significant increase in its dividend, and a new stock repurchase plan.

The company's board of directors approved a 34% increase in its quarterly dividend, raising the payout to $0.39 per share, up from $0.29. This will be the 104th consecutive quarter with Home Depot paying a cash dividend.

In addition, the board of directors has authorized buying back $17 billion worth of shares through fiscal 2015. This would replace any previous authorizations. Since 2002 (through Feb. 3, 2013), the company has returned more than $37.5 billion of cash to shareholders through repurchases, repurchasing approximately 1 billion shares.


These announcements come as Home Depot posted increased fourth-quarter 2012 revenues of $18.2 billion, 13.9% higher than the same period for 2011. That's a comparable-store sales increase of 7%. Net earnings for the quarter were $1 billion, a 29% increase over Q4 2011.

Home Depot's fiscal 2012 sales of $74.8 billion were an increase of 6.2% over fiscal 2011. Comparable-store sales increased 4.6%.

Home Depot's earnings did take a $0.01-a-share hit in Q4 from a $20 million charge associated with store closings in China. For the year, China store closings accounted for a nonrecurring charge of $145 million, or $0.10 a share.

For 2013, the company projects sales growth of approximately 2% and comparable-store sales growth of around 3%. It anticipates opening nine new stores in the year. At the end of the fourth quarter, Home Depot operated a total of 2,256 retail stores.

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The article Home Depot Raises Dividend 34%, OKs $17 Billion Buyback originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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