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Walmart Earnings Praised By Analysts, But Some Question What's Next

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Walmart Earnings Praised By Analysts, But Some Question What's Next

Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) reported third-quarter results highlighted by a 41% growth in e-commerce sales, an overall earnings beat but miss on the revenue line. Here is a summary of how some of the top analysts reacted to the print.

The Analysts

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Edward Yruma maintains an Overweight rating on Walmart's stock with a price target lifted from $128 to $138.

UBS analyst Michael Lasser maintains at Neutral, price target lifted from $115 to $125.

Raymond James analyst Bobby Griffin maintains at Outperform, price target lifted from $120 to $130.

One Of The Best Positioned Retailers

Walmart's report solidifies the company's status as one of the best positioned retailers, Yruma said. Management deserves credit for translating investments in price, store experiences, and online initiatives to gain market share from traditional rivals. Despite continued investments, particularly in website and grocery pickup, gross margins for the quarter fell just four basis points.

Yruma said Walmart could benefit from the shorter holiday selling season, which typically pushes consumers to frequent physical retail locations.

Related Link: 'Hey Siri, Buy My Groceries At Walmart' Is Now A Real Thing

Executing Well But What's Next?

Lasser said Walmart is "enjoying the fruits of the hard work" management put in over the past year, culminating in a 3.2% U.S. same-store sales growth.Management stated in its conference it needs to "do more and move faster" in its online business, which begs some questions about the online outlook.

Granted, those comments may signal it's "operating with a sense of urgency and focus" but after fiscal 2020 the company will have less white space for new grocery pickup locations. Also, approximately 25% of Walmart's goods are sourced from China and a potential implementation of "List 4"tariffs would negatively impact annual earnings for Walmart by around 4%.

"We think the direction of WMT's shares over the intermediate term will be heavily influenced by the prospects of further omni-channel success," the analyst wrote in a note.

Feeling 'Better' About Online Margins

Griffen said Walmart's earnings should have investors feeling "better" about the e-commerce performance as U.S. online sales likely grew more than 2.5 times the industry average. Thursday's report also marks the third consecutive quarter of "favorable e-commerce margin commentary," which signals the company is heading into the right direction into the next fiscal year.

Management's commentary that it sees opportunities to move faster on assortment also signals improving economics are sustainable into next year.

'Key Driver' Of Success

Walmart's CFO said in a recent media interview its U.S. consumer base remains consistent, Tigress Financial Partners' Ivan Feinseth wrote in his daily newsletter. This may have been made evident in the 3.2% comp growth, which was driven by both traffic and average ticket growth.

Online growth remains a "key driver" of recent success as management continues to focus on promotion and same-day delivery.

Price Action

Walmart's stock traded around $129.96 per share at time of publication.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart, via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Ratings for WMT

DateFirmActionFromTo
May 2020Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweight
May 2020GuggenheimMaintainsBuy
May 2020StifelMaintainsHold

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