Walmart Stock Plummets on Forecast of Lower Earnings
Shares of Walmart plummeted sharply on Wednesday after the retailing giant in the U.S. jolted the financial markets when it forecasted an earnings drop of between 6% and 12% during its fiscal year 2017.
Shares at the Bentonville, Arkansas based company were lower by 8.7% on the unexpected announcement, delivered by Walmart executives during the annual investor’s conference.
Analysts on Wall Street were expecting Walmart to have forecasted earnings that were higher for that fiscal year that begins in February.
Instead, they received a bleak outlook, which triggered one of the largest declines of one day in the value of the shares of the retailer.
The drop in Walmart stock dragged the Dow Jones down with it, which lost over 113 points before noon.
The Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President at Walmart Charles Holley estimated that sales growth during the upcoming three years would be between 3% and 4% annually, adding approximately $45 billion to $61 billion in total revenue.
However, Holley warned of a long-range bleaker outlook for earnings.
He said fiscal 2017 would represent the heaviest investment time and estimated that operating income would have an effect of $1.5 billion from the second phases of investments previously announced in training and wages.
Due to this, Walmart is expecting its per share earnings to drop 6% to 12% during the 2017 fiscal year.
However, by the 2019 fiscal year we are expecting per share earnings to increase by between 5% and 10 % compared to the year before.
In separate action, Walmart said on Wednesday that it would start a new share buyback program of $20 billion over the upcoming two years. The company said it retired the rest of the $8.6 billion reaming for its repurchase authorization for 2013.
The bleaker outlook for the long range came after the discount retailer this past August missed estimates and cut the financial outlook amidst lower earnings for the second quarter.