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Wal-Mart Jumps After Beating, Guiding Higher Despite Drop In US Profits; Buybacks Soar

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After several quarters of deteriorating results, moments ago US retail giant Wal-Mart redeemed itself by reporting adjusted Q2 earnings of $1.07 (net of a $0.14 adjustment from the gain of a sale in China), higher than the $1.02 consensus estimate, on revenue of $120.9 billion, up 0.5% from the $120.2 billion a year ago, and also higher than the $120.3 billion expected. The company also reported positive comp sales in the US for the eighth consecutive quarter, up 1.6%, above the 1.0% estimate.


In a sign that its e-commerce business is picking up, WMT said that globally e-commerce sales and GMV increased 11.8% and 13.0%, respectively, representing an acceleration from the first quarter.


Year to date WMT reported operating cash flow of $14.9 billion and free cash flow of $10.3 billion, both approximately $5.0 billion higher than last year. The company aslo announced that while dividends in Q2 were flat at $1.6 billion, buybacks soared by 111% Y/Y to $3.7 billion, suggesting virtually all of the free cash flow in the quarter was returned back to shareholders.


A visual summary of the key results:






But most importantly, and the reason why the stock is more than 2% higher in the pre market is that Wal-Mart boosted its FY17 adj. EPS view to $4.15-$4.35, up from the $4.00-$4.30 it saw in February. Here is the latest guidance from WMT:


The company's guidance for adjusted earnings per share for fiscal year 2017 assumes currency exchange rates remain at today's levels. This guidance also includes an estimated dilutive impact to EPS of approximately $0.05, primarily in the fourth quarter, as a result of expected operating losses and one-time transaction expenses related to the planned acquisition of Jet.com, assuming the transaction is closed near the beginning of the fourth quarter of FY17. Also, the guidance excludes the non-cash gain of $0.14, net of tax, from the sale of Yihaodian in China to JD.com. Additionally, this updated guidance assumes that our full year effective tax rate is expected to be at the low end of our previously stated range of 31.5% to 33.5%.


  • Fiscal year 2017 adjusted EPS1: $4.15 to $4.35 (previously $4.00 to $4.30) Third quarter fiscal year 2017 EPS: $0.90 to $1.00

  • Comp sales for the 13-week period ending Oct. 28, 20162: Walmart U.S.: 1.0% to 1.5% Sam's Club (ex. fuel): Slightly positive


While the results were generally stronger than expected, WMT again hinted that rising wages continue to take a bite out of profits, WMT reported that while consolidated operating income increased 1.6%, this included a gain of $535 million from the sale of Yihaodian. Excluding the gain, consolidated operating income declined 7.2%. This was driven by a 6.2% drop in operating income in the US, which declined from $4.8 billion to $4.5 billion even as net sales rose 3.1% Y/Y to $76.2 billion. The profit weakness in the US was offset by a 35% jump in WMT International profit which rose to $1.7 billion.


It appears that the most iconic US retailer increasingly has to look offshore for profit growth.







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