national earnings

Home Depot Inc. The nation's largest home improvement chain said Tuesday its second-quarter profit sank 24 percent and reiterated its downbeat outlook for the year amid a weak housing market that shows no sign of recovery.

For the three months ending Aug. 3, Home Depot said net income fell to $1.2 billion, or 71 cents per share, down from $1.59 billion, or 81 cents per share, in the 2007 quarter.

Revenue slid 5.4 percent to $21 billion from $22.2 billion last year. Same-store sales fell 7.9 percent.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected earnings of 61 cents per share on revenue of $20.58 billion.

Home Depot said it expects earnings per share from continuing operations to decline by 24 percent for the year and full-year sales to decline by 5 percent.

Saks Inc. The luxury goods retailer reported a wider-than-expected loss for the second quarter on Tuesday and delivered a downbeat forecast for the year.

The New York-based retailer and operator of Saks Fifth Avenue said it lost $31.7 million, or 23 cents per share, for the three months ended Aug. 2. That compares with a net loss of $24.6 million, or 17 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell 3.5 percent to $669.2 million from $694.1 million a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected a loss of 19 cents a share on revenue of $679.2 million. Saks expects its 2008 operating margins, excluding certain items, to decline from 2007 levels.

Hewlett-Packard Co. The technology giant's fiscal third-quarter profit jumped 14 percent, beating Wall Street's expectations, buoyed by strong laptop sales and a robust international presence.

Results reported after the market closed Tuesday signaled that HP is holding its ground as the world's No. 1 seller of personal computers even with stronger competition from Dell Inc. and Apple Inc. and aggressive price cuts.

HP said it earned $2.03 billion, or 80 cents per share, in the latest period, up from $1.78 billion, or 66 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time charges, HP's profit was 86 cents per share, 3 cents higher than the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Sales were $28.0 billion, up 10 percent over last year.