Citing cautious optimism about the home-improvement landscape, Lowe's Cos. slightly lifted its sales outlook on Wednesday, as earnings edged past Wall Street forecasts. For the fiscal year 2014, Lowe's said it expects total sales to increase 4.5% to 5%. In August, Lowe's trimmed its outlook to 4.5% from 5%. Same-store sales are expected to rise 3.5% to 4%. Lowe's reported third-quarter earnings of 59 cents, versus 47 cents in the year-ago period. Sales for the period rose 5.6% to $13.7 billion against $13 billion in the year-ago period. A survey of analysts polled by FactSet Research forecast earnings of 58 cents on sales of $13.55 billion. Lowe's said it expects EPS of around $2.68 for the fiscal year ending Jan. 30. Shares of Lowe's rose 2.3% in thin premarket trading.
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