UPDATE 1-Home Depot's profit and sales tops expectations on higher traffic

(Adds company's forecast, details on results, analysts estimates)

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Home Depot Inc's quarterly profit beat market estimates for the sixth straight quarter as the No.1 U.S. home improvement chain drew in more shoppers who spent more on average amid an improving housing market.

The company also increased its quarterly dividend by 15.7 percent to $1.03 per share.

Sales at stores open for more than a year rose 7.5 percent in the latest fourth quarter, handily beating analysts average estimate of 6.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Comparative sales for at it U.S. stores increased 7.2 percent, also beating analysts estimates of 6.1 percent.

The company said its customer transactions rose 2 percent, while the average ticket increased 5.5 percent.

However, Home Depot's comparable store sales growth forecast of 5 percent for fiscal year 2018 was below analysts estimate of an increase of 5.4 percent.

The retailer's net sales rose 7.5 percent to $23.88 billion in the latest fourth quarter beating analysts estimate of $23.66 billion.

Home Depot's net earnings rose 2 percent to $1.78 billion, or $1.52 per share, in the quarter ended Jan. 28.

Excluding one time items, the company earned $1.69 per share beating analysts' estimate of $1.61 per share.

Home Depot said last month that the U.S. tax laws reform would lead to an expense of about $150 million. The company recorded an expense of $127 million.

This along with a planned one-time $1000 bonus payment for employees, lowered fourth-quarter profit by about 17 cents per share. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)