Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported second-quarter earnings per share (EPS) of $1.18 and $113.5 billion in sales before markets opened today. In the same period a year ago, the retailing giant reported EPS of $1.09 on revenue of $109.4 billion. Second-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.07 and $115.75 billion in revenue.
The company’s president and CEO said:
We had positive comp sales in Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club, as well as each of our International markets, reinforcing that customers rely on Walmart to help them save money and live better. … The paycheck cycle remains pronounced in the United States and in our International markets. Given continuing economic pressures, we believe that our price leadership and value are growing in importance to customers across income levels.
Walmart also guided third-quarter EPS to$1.04 to $1.09, compared with the current consensus estimate of $1.05. The company raised full fiscal year EPS guidance to $4.83 to $4.93 from a previous $4.72 to $4.92. The current consensus estimate calls for$4.93 per share.
The company attributed the revenue miss to currency translation effects. Walmart said that revenues were down $2.2 billion due to currency translations. The implication is that absent that effect Walmart would have hit the consensus estimate. Maybe, but the estimate presumably took the currency effects into account.
Shares are likely to get a hit today because Walmart stock has been moving up steadily for the past 12 months and today’s report just does not add much. Since mid-May shares have added more than $15, a jump of about 25%. When Walmart was considered a defensive stock, that jump was a bonus. But now that its value has risen, something more than meeting estimates needs to happen in order to keep investors’ enthusiasm high.
Walmart shares are down 3.4% in premarket trading this morning, at $71.90. The current 52-week range is $49.94 to $75.24. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of $74.00 before today’s results were announced.