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News Breaks
February 20, 2013
12:22 EDTWMTEarnings Preview: Wal-Mart sees in-line Q4 EPS, analyst says comps have peaked
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is scheduled to report Q4 before the market open on Thursday, February 21, with a conference call scheduled for 7:00 am ET. Wal-Mart operates retail stores in various formats under 69 different banners in 27 countries with its "everyday low price" philosophy... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of $1.57 on revenue of $128.85B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is $1.52-$1.59 on revenue of $127.52B-$130.19B... LAST QUARTER: Wal-Mart reported Q3 EPS of 1.08 against estimates for $1.07, on revenue of $113.9B against estimates for $114.95B. The company forecast Q4 EPS $1.53-$1.58 and reaffirmed the top end of its FY EPS view of $4.88-$4.93, consensus $4.92. In a regulatory filing related, Wal-Mart stated that the board's Audit Committee was conducting an internal investigation into alleged violations of the U.S. FCPA and other alleged crimes or misconduct in connection with foreign subsidiaries, including Wal-Mart de Mexico, and whether prior allegations of such violations and/or misconduct were appropriately handled by the company. The company also said it was conducting a voluntary global review of its policies. During the quarter, the company reported its "best ever" Black Friday events, but CEO Mike Duke later said that the fiscal cliff was affecting shoppers. Bloomberg reported that the Mexican unit of Wal-Mart used a current state governor to facilitate $156,000 in bribes meant to help open stores, an ex-lawyer for the retailer told company officials in 2005, according to documents released by members of the U.S. Congress. Wal-Mart (WMT) executives said February sales are off to the worst monthly start in seven years, calling sales a "total disaster" in internal emails, Bloomberg also reported; the company responded to the Bloomberg report by saying that "internal communications may lack appropriate context" ... STREET RESEARCH: Cleveland Research said Wal-Mart's U.S. sales have slowed significantly over the last 3-4 weeks and that Q1 comps to date are running negative. The firm sees downside to consensus estimates for the year. Earlier this month, shares were downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, as the firm believes comps have peaked given pressures from the payroll tax increase and that earnings growth will be challenged going forward following successful company initiatives... PRICE ACTION: Year-to-date, shares are up just over 1%. Ahead of earnings, shares are trading up almost 1%.
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