Lowe's fiscal second-quarter earnings provided even further evidence that the housing recovery is boosting the economy.

Lowe's Cos. on Wednesday reported that earnings for the quarter that ended Aug. 2 jumped 26% to $941 million, or 88 cents a share, compared with the same period a year earlier.

“Home improvement demand was strong during the quarter, and we capitalized on it with improving execution," said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chief executive. “We drove a healthy balance of ticket and transaction growth, and delivered solid performance across all product categories.”

Lowe's reported that sales increased to $15.7 billion, up 10.3% from the second quarter of 2012. 

Home price increases, city by city

The North Carolina-based retailer also raised its earnings outlook for the year. It now anticipates fiscal 2013 earnings of $2.10 per share, up slightly from $2.05. It also expects total sales to increase 5%. 

Lowe's earnings report comes a day after Home Depot Inc. beat Wall Street expectations when it reported that its earnings had jumped 17%. 

The home improvement retailers have largely credited the housing recovery for their strong performances. 

As the number of housing starts increases, new construction spurs demand for durable goods such as refrigerators, stoves and other large home appliances.

Pent-up demand has also contributed to the increased sales, economists said. As the economy improves gradually, consumers are once again spending on big-ticket items that they may have put off buying during the recession.

Lowe's shares rose $2.57, or 5.83%, to $46.65 Wednesday.

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ricardo.lopez@latimes.com