Moment ago Wal-Mart reported a top-line miss, a bottom line beat, a dividend hike and a rather subdued full year forecast ($5.20-$5.40 on Exp. of $5.39), and nobody cared. The only thing that algos and carbon-based lifeforms alike honed in on, was the recap of the most recent 13 week period, to see if WMT was only kidding when it said that February sales, which obviously were not part of Q4 results, were a "total disaster." The reason WMT's stock is not doing to well in the pre-market is that they did not like what they found.
Here is the key section:
"We are confident that our low prices will continue to resonate, as families adjust to a reduced paycheck and increased gas prices," Simon said. "We see the underlying health of the Walmart U.S. business is sound, and sales trends are similar to what we've demonstrated in the last few quarters. However, February sales started slower than planned, due in large part, to the delay in income tax refunds. We began seeing increased tax refund check activity late last week in our stores, resulting in a more normalized weekly sales pattern for this time of the year. Due to the slower sales rate in the first few weeks of this year's first quarter, we are forecasting comp sales for the 13-week period from Jan. 26 to Apr. 26, 2013 to be around flat. We continue to monitor economic conditions that can impact our sales, such as rising fuel prices, changes in inflation and the payroll tax increase."
One can hope that all the other retailers in the US, which are just as dependant on the consumer's discretionary revenue stream which is now certifiably less, will adjust just as well.