Housing starts in the U.S. were little changed in February after declining less than previously estimated a month earlier, indicating the home-building industry is stabilizing after bad winter weather curbed construction.
Lowe’s Cos., the second-largest U.S. home-improvement chain, posted a 6.3 percent profit gain as the housing rebound spurred renovation spending. The company also announced a plan to buy back $5 billion in shares.
Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed more than forecast in January, reflecting the biggest increase in services in over 12 years as Americans began to enroll for the Obama administration’s health-care program.
Lowe’s Cos. climbed to an intraday record yesterday after Chief Executive Officer Robert Niblock said the strengthening housing market is helping sales recover from a cold spring that sapped demand for outdoor merchandise.