Wal-Mart Stores Inc. gave upbeat earnings guidance, even as profit and revenue edged lower in its latest quarter on weaker international sales. Shares of Wal-Mart, down 31% over the past year, rose 2.7% to $59.45 in premarket trading Tuesday. The report follows lackluster quarterly updates from Macy's Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. that has raised concerns about consumer spending this holiday season. For the current quarter, Wal-Mart forecast earnings of $1.40 to $1.55 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast $1.42 in per-share profit. The company also predicted full-year earnings of $4.50 to $4.65 a share, compared with its prior downbeat forecast of $4.40 to $4.70 a share given in August. "We continue to expect relatively flat total sales growth for the year," Chief Executive Doug McMillon said. Without the currency impact, full-year sales growth would be around 3%, Mr. McMillon said. The world's biggest retailer by revenue has shown signs of weakness lately, warning of declining profits as the company has spent heavily to raise employees' wages, revamp its stores and improve online sales. It also has said it would slow the pace of new-store openings in the U.S. and cut capital investments. Meanwhile, the stronger U.S. dollar has dented results and shaved four cents off of per-share earnings in the latest quarter. International sales, which represent about a quarter of Wal-Mart's top line, fell 11%. Overall, for the third quarter, Wal-Mart posted a profit of $3.30 billion, or $1.03 a share, down from $3.71 billion, or $1.15 a share. The company had forecast per-share earnings between 93 cents and $1.05. Revenue slipped 1.3% to $117.41 billion. Analysts had forecast $117.86 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
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