(By Balachander)Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) shares fell 3.29 percent in premarket trading on Thursday after the world's largest retail chain store operator posted quarterly sales that fell short of market expectations.
The company reported a 5.7 percent increase in second-quarter earnings to $4.0 billion on strong sales across its segments. Earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Walmart (EPS) were $1.18, up 8.3 percent.
Net sales grew 4.5 percent to $113.5 billion. Excluding currency impact, net sales would have been $115.7 billion, the company said.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.17 per share on sales of $115.44 billion.
Total U.S. comparable store sales rose 2.5 percent. Comparable sales from Walmart U.S. increased 2.2 percent with positive ticket and traffic. Walmart U.S. sales gained 3.8 percent and International sales grew 6.4 percent. Sam's Club sales rose 4.2 percent.
Looking ahead for the third quarter, the company expects earnings from continuing operations of $1.04 to $1.09 per share, while Wall Street analysts expect $1.05 per share.
For the full year, the company now expects earnings per share in the range of $4.83 to $4.93 from prior expectations of $4.72 to $4.92, while consensus estimate $4.93 a share.
For the 4-5-4 period from July 28 through October 26, Walmart U.S. expects comparable store sales to range from 1.0 percent to 3.0 percent.
WMT closed Wednesday's regular session at $74.45. The stock has been trading between $49.94 and $75.24 for the past 52 weeks.