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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Most Widely Traded 48 Hour Clock:Wal-Mart's Bank

24/7 Wall St. has begun coverage of the 36 most widely traded stocks, eighteen each from the NYSE and the NASDAQ. Most of these stocks trade over 50 million shares a week. This new feature will highlight each of the 36 stocks at least every 48 hours giving investors fresh infomation and perspective on the companies whose shares are most likely to move the broader markets.

Stocks: (WMT)(TGT)

It appears that Wal-Mart's plan to be the local banker ran into some problems. Congressman Barney Frank has proposed bill that would keep companies like Wal-Mart from operating financial services businesses like banks.

With same store sales up only a bit over 1% in June, the big retailer needs something other than it current line of products and services to prop up revenue, and offering bank services in its stores was clearly one of the solutions. While international sales rose nearly 30% in June, domestic revenue was up only 10%, another sign that Wal-Mart's sales in its home market are slowing substantially.

By contrast, Target Stores same store sales rose 4.6% in June, so the Wal-Mart excuse that gas prices cut traffic to its stores may be a bit thin.

Wal-Mart needs a high profile marketing success like the banking initiative. The company's stock is down from its 52-week high of $50.87 to $46.18. The stock traded near $57 in November 2004. Looking at the chance that Q3 numbers could be below expectations, Wal-Mart could drop below $44 for the first time since October 2005.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does now own securities in companies he writes about.

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