Wal-Mart Earnings, and Earnings Warning, Help Send Shares Down

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT  ) was following the market down this morning, with shares off 2% after the company's Thursday morning earnings report came out.

Wal-Mart reported 2.3% revenue growth in fiscal Q2, decent results that were largely undermined by corresponding rises in expenses. Consolidated net income earned by the company grew only 1.3%. A smaller share count, however, had the happy result of allowing Wal-Mart to report 5.1% growth in diluted earnings per share. Wal-Mart earned $1.24 per diluted share in Q2.

Same-store sales at the company declined 0.3% in the quarter, a result largely explained by smaller receipts from gasoline sales. Backing out the effects of fuel sales, Wal-Mart's same-store sales would have grown 1.7%.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Wal-Mart lowered its full-year earnings guidance by $0.10. Wal-Mart now guides investors to expect full-year 2013 earnings of $5.10 per share to $5.30 per share.

Shares were down 1.8% as of this writing, trading at $75.01 per share.

Wal-Mart's sober assessment of consumer spending adds to worries in earnings from Macy's and Kohl's. Both lowered their expectations for the year after reporting disappointing results.

Wal-Mart is considered an economic bellwether because the retailer accounts for nearly 10% of nonautomotive retail spending in the U.S. The latest performance indicates that many American households continue to struggle in a yo-yo economic recovery.

During a call with the media, Wal-Mart Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said the top three concerns among its customers are jobs, food costs, and gas and energy prices.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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