What to Watch in Walmart’s Earnings

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is set to release its fiscal third-quarter financial results before the markets open on Thursday. The holiday season is now upon us, and even though results for the Christmas quarter won’t be seen yet, investors can expect some updated guidance from the king of department stores and how it plans to fight Amazon this quarter.

Out of all the Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks, Walmart is the eighth best-performing so far in 2017, with its stock up about 32% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is up only about 29%.

The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters are $0.97 in earnings per share (EPS) and $121 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, Walmart posted EPS of $0.98 and $118.18 billion in revenue.

One way Walmart hopes to keep up with the likes of Amazon is to constantly offer sales in a blizzard of advertising, whether these are for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or something much sooner. It also will be interesting to see the impact that the Jet.com acquisition has on the holiday shopping, as so far this year it’s ramped up Walmart’s e-commerce sales by over 60%.

Walmart, like many other retailers, thinks that Black Friday really begins Thanksgiving evening, after the family dinner and nap. The company plans to keep stores open all day but deals will start in stores at 6 p.m. local time. Online shoppers can take advantage of Black Friday pricing beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.

Walmart’s 32-page Black Friday advertising supplement is now available as a scanned image at BFAds.net, as is the advertising supplement for the current four-day sale. In an email, Brent Shelton of BFAds noted that for the first time in a long time, there is no mention of Walmart’s infamous 1-Hour Guarantee. And details on which items will be available online are also scarce.

Here’s what analysts had to say about Walmart ahead of the report:

  • Oppenheimer has an Outperform rating with a $100 price target.
  • Jefferies has a Buy rating with a $105 price target.
  • KeyCorp has a Buy rating and a $100 price target.
  • Barclays has a Buy rating with a $100 price target.
  • Robert Baird has an Outperform rating and a $95 price target.
  • Morgan Stanley has a Neutral rating with a $90 price target.
  • Susquehanna has a Positive rating with a $99 price target.
  • BMO Capital Markets has a Hold rating with a $91 price target.
  • Goldman Sachs has a Buy rating and a $91 price target.

Shares of Walmart were last seen at $90.50, with a consensus analyst price target of $88.77 and a 52-week range of $65.28 to $91.98.

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