Wal-Mart Shares Fall 1.6% After Company Forecast Falls Short

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shares fell 1.6% in premarket trade Thursday after the company gave disappointing forecasts. Wal-Mart reported fourth-quarter profit rose to $4.97 billion, or $1.53 a share, from $4.43 billion, or $1.36 a share, a year ago. Excluding items, Wal-Mart said it earned $1.61 a share, beating FactSet consensus estimate of $1.54 a share. Sales rose to $131.6 billion from $129.7 billion. That missed FactSet average estimate of $132.5 billion. Wal-Mart forecast first-quarter profit of 95 cents to $1.10 a share and $4.70 to $5.05 for the year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for profit of $1.14 a share in the first quarter and $5.20 for the year. The company said it will give raises to about 500,000 full-time and part time employees and ensure hourly employees earn at least $9 an hour, $1.75 above federal minimum wage. By Feb. 1, 2016, current employees will earn at least $10 an hour.

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