Monday, August 13, 2007

Wal-Mart Earnings: What To Look For

Wal-Mart (WMT) releases earnings before the bell Tuesday and there really is only one thing I want to know.

First the "skinny" as they say. First Call estimates are $0.77 EPS and $92.75 Billion in revenues. Next quarter's expectations are $0.68 EPS and $92.25 Billion, and fiscal January 2008 estimates are $3.16 EPS and $378.3 Billion revenues. July same store sales were released last week so much of the actual sales and assumed earnings data should already be reflected in the price of shares.

What to look for? How many shares did CEO Lee Scott and Co. repurchase since the $15 billion buyback was announced in June? I had called repeatedly for Lee to be let go to "pursue other opportunities" until the shareholders meeting at which the buyback and the store growth plans were announced. Now I am in a holding pattern.

So, the thing that needs to be known now is, are they following through with the plans? Wal-Mart stock sits about where it was 5 years ago so there will be no excuse about "value" and Wal-Mart sits on $6.5 billion in cash so the funds are there. I would like to see at least a billion dollars (about 22 million shares) in repurchases since the buyback was announced. Anything less would be very disappointing and one would have to wonder if the plans were just announced to buy Lee Scott more time. In short, Lee now has no excuses to be doing anything but shareholder friendly actions.


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