What to Expect From Wal-Mart Earnings

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is scheduled to release its most recent earnings report before the markets open on Thursday. So far in 2016, this company is one of the top five performing Dow stocks, and investors may be expecting this momentum to carry over into the earnings report. Here are a few things to keep in mind ahead of the report.

The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for $1.02 in earnings per share (EPS) on $120.16 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, the world’s largest retailer posted EPS of $1.08 and $120.23 billion in revenue.

Earlier this month, the company announced that it would acquire Jet.com for $3.3 billion in cash and stock. Reports of a possible acquisition had became public, so the announcement was expected.

Although this data will not be reflected in this earnings report, we might expect some mention in the guidance about how Wal-Mart expects to tackle its e-commerce competition.

The Jet.com deal leads to the obvious question: How does this acquisition help Wal-Mart put a bigger dent in Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce? Wal-Mart said that the combined company will “leverage innovative technology solutions from both companies to develop new offerings to help customers save time and money.” It’s really anybody’s guess as to what that means.

A few analysts weighed in on Wal-Mart ahead of the earnings report:

  • MKM Partners reiterated a Neutral rating with a $71 price target.
  • Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating with an $85 price target.
  • Goldman Sachs has a Neutral rating with a $71 price target.
  • Morgan Stanley has a Neutral rating with a $73 price target.
  • Deutsche Bank reiterated a Hold rating with a $77 price target.
  • Northcoast Research has a Neutral rating.
  • Merrill Lynch has a Neutral rating with a $72 price target.
  • Credit Suisse reiterated a Hold rating.

Excluding Wednesday’s move, Wal-Mart has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up 21.5% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is only up about 4.5%.

Shares were trading down 0.8% at $72.34 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $70.19 and a 52-week trading range of $56.30 to $74.80.