Holding Walmart…for now

Today Walmart announced a beat on revenue, a miss on earnings, and lower forward guidance.  I had factored in an earnings miss, but not the lower guidance…obviously the stock gapped down.

I bought the position below the 50dma, and prior to the ex-dividend date and earnings announcement…which was a calculated risk that is now in the red.   (see Walmart nearing 50dma )

Although it was encountering resistance at the 50dma, I was impressed with the price and volume activity on the ex-dividend date (8/5/15).  Today’s announcement of lower forward guidance for the current fiscal year resulted in the stock breaking support at $71.  While concerning, this is not yet catastrophic.

I believe the valuation is still reasonable at 14 times forward earnings, considering:

  • top line sales are growing (US store growth for 4 consecutive quarters)
  • sales at Neighborhood Markets are growing at over 7% and this concept will expand nearly 50% this year to a total of 570 stores (about 10% of brick & mortar locations)
  • online sales are increasing at 16% (acceleration is slowing but top line is still healthy)
  • profits should improve because of Chinese imports (devalued yuan) and lower commodity prices
  • today’s 3.38% selloff could have been much worse

Bottom line:  Walmart is evolving Sam Walton’s 53-year-old business model and is successfully transitioning into Neighborhood Markets and online sales.  Their investments to modernize and face the challenges of Amazon are paying off.  Walmart will avoid a Sears’ death spiral.

Based on today’s forward guidance, I believe fair value is at least $72.80 and thus the stock is oversold.  For now, I’m holding and collecting the dividend.

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