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(Reuters) - Home Depot Inc’s (HD.N) sales at established stores missed Wall Street forecasts for the first time in seven quarters, as cooler weather in some U.S. states led to a slower-than-expected start to the spring selling season.

FILE PHOTO: A Home Depot store is shown in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

Shares of the No. 1 U.S. home improvement chain, which have risen about 22 percent in the past 12 months, fell 2.4 percent to $186.54 in premarket trading on Tuesday.

U.S. homebuilding data from March suggested that construction activity may be slowing, as single-family homebuilding — which accounts for the biggest share of the housing market — fell 3.7 percent.

Cooler-than-usual weather in some parts of the country also hit sales, leading to weak customer spending on spring-season products.

Home Depot said customer transactions dipped 1.3 percent in the first quarter ended April 29.

Sales at Home Depot stores open for more than a year climbed 4.2 percent, missing analysts’ average estimate of a 5.38 percent rise, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net earnings rose to $2.40 billion or $2.08 per share in the first quarter, from $2.01 billion or $1.67 per share a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.05 per share.

Net sales rose 4.4 percent to $24.95 billion, but fell short of expectations of $25.16 billion.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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currensceneFLOGO WHTsquareThough not the oldest form of currency, some form of shell money appears to have been found on almost every continent. The shell most widely used worldwide as currency was the shell of Cypraea moneta, the money cowry.

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