Wal-Mart Affirms Earnings Outlook For Current Year

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shed 0.9% in premarket trade Thursday, after the discount retail giant affirmed its earnings per share outlook for the current fiscal year ending January 2017, but provided a downbeat outlook for next year. The company said it still expects adjusted EPS of $4.15 to $4.35, compared with the FactSet consensus of $4.34. Wal-Mart expects fiscal 2018 EPS based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to be "relatively flat" with its adjusted EPS outlook for fiscal 2017, while the FactSet consensus for next year's adjusted EPS calls for a rise to $4.46. Fiscal 2019 EPS is expected to rise 5%. Wal-Mart said it has $11.7 billion remaining in its $20 billion stock repurchase program that started in October 2015, and expects the program to be completed by the end of fiscal 2018. Capital expenditures for fiscal 2018 at expected to be $11 billion, with total new Walmart U.S. store openings expected to decline 55 from a projected 130 in fiscal 2017. The stock has soared 17% year to date through Wednesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has gained 1.7% and the S&P 500 has run up 5.7%.

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