Is anyone else as tired as I am of the market's strongly positive or negative reaction to each and every data point reported by Inside Value selection Wal-Mart
Today, the news is that earnings were better than analysts had expected, and the shares are up by close to 3%. A couple of weeks ago, the news was that same-store sales were flat, and the shares swooned. The previous month, same-store sales were strong and Wal-Mart's $4 prescription drug campaign was doing better than expected. As a dyed-in-the-wool value investor, I appreciate the opportunities the volatility creates, but I must admit the overreaction to each and every data point is getting old when the underlying business continues to generate substantial amounts of cash.
The financial results for the quarter were strong, and all the details can be seen in the Fool by Numbers published earlier today. The item I found most impressive was the company's controlled 6.2% inventory growth, while sales growth was nearly double that amount. The sales trends in the company's remaining international businesses are also strong, particularly in Mexico.
From a competitive standpoint, Target
At the moment, pharmacies such as Walgreens
Wal-Mart continues to be a strong force in retailing, and I don't think that will change any time soon. Eventually the market will come to realize just how much cash flow is flowing through this business and value it accordingly. My best estimate is that the company's valuation is in the ballpark of $60. Given the continued volatility, I think some pretty handsome returns can be earned by investors who pick up shares on the days when there is bad news and hold patiently for a few years.
At the time of publication, Nathan Parmelee owned shares in Costco and had a beneficial interest in shares of Wal-Mart, but had no interest in any of the other companies mentioned. Costco is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.