Home Depot Inc.'s stock surged 2.3% in active midday trade Tuesday to a record high, as better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results were further supported by upbeat housing starts data. The stock hit an intraday record of $123.80, and was on track to post the 16th record close this year. Volume of 6.8 million shares as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern was already more than the full-day average of 4.5 million shares, according to FactSet. Credit Suisse analyst Seth Sigman said that although expectations had moved up ahead of the home improvement retailing giant's results, "the underlying performance remains very encouraging," including sales strength in big-ticket items and progress with the professional and contractor services business. Separately, data showed that construction of new homes in the U.S. increased in July at the fastest rate since October 2007. Home Depot's stock has climbed 17% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 1.6%.
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