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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wal-Mart:The Empire Stikes Back (WMT)

Wal-Mart's earnings reports was strong, no matter what Wall St. says over the course of the next few days. The company's net income fell from $2.8 billion a year ago to under $2.1 billion in the most recent quarter, but the sales of the company's stores in Europe accounted for the drop. The company took a charge of $863 million for the sale. Revenue was slightly below the Wall St. consensus according to the Associated Press.

Quarterly sales rose 11.4%, an impressive gain for the largest company in the world based on revenue. Many smaller company's would love to have that growth rate. Revenue for the quarter was $85.42 billion. Operating income rose from $4.73 billion to $5.1 billion.

While sales in the US were up in the 5% to 7% range depending on reporting from different divisions, international sales rose almost 32%

The company guided for full-year EPS to be $2.88 to $2.95.

While the company admitted gas prices and utilities costs hurt results slightly, the numbers were impressive.

Watch for analysts to say that Wal-Mart's number were not enough. But, they were. The retail giant is growing, and that, in and of itself, speaks volumes to the fact that the formula of expanding overseas and defending share in the US is working.

At $45, near its 52-week low, the stock looks good.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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