MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Opening View: Wal-Mart Stores Takes the Earnings Reins, Boosts Futures

Looking in on blue chips, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT: View sentiment for WMTsentiment, chart, options) posted second-quarter profit of $3.45 billion, or 87 cents per share, a 17% increase from the year-ago period. The numbers exceeded the Street's prediction for earnings of 76 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter docked at $101.6 billion, a 10.4% increase from a year prior; analysts were calling for sales of $101.9 billion. Meanwhile, same-store sales rose 4.5% during the second quarter, boosted by low prices amid a "difficult economy." What's more, the retail titan now expects third-quarter same-store sales to rise between 1% and 2%, and projects full-year profit of $3.43 to $3.50 per share. The Street estimates full-year profit of $3.49 per share. Ahead of the bell, the shares of WMT are set to open moderately higher than yesterday's close of $57.88.

Elsewhere in the earnings confessional, retailer Urban Outfitters (URBN: View sentiment for URBNsentiment, chart, options) reported second-quarter profit of $57 million, or 33 cents per share, a 79% jump higher from the year-ago period. Revenue for the quarter rose 30% to $454.3 million. Analysts, on average, predicted earnings of 30 cents per share on $450.5 million in sales. Meanwhile, same-store sales rose 13% in the quarter, aided by lower expenses, cost cutting, and higher sales. In pre-market activity, the shares are set to open roughly 2% higher.

Rounding out the earnings trifecta is Estee Lauder (EL: View sentiment for ELsentiment, chart, options) , which reported fourth-quarter profit of $120 million, or 61 cents per share, a 36% increase from the year prior. Analysts had expected earnings of 56 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter was $2.01 billion, compared to $1.76 billion in the year-ago period. The New York-based firm said it projects first-quarter profit to come in at 18 cents to 25 cents per share, with sales growth of 9% to 11%. EL also forecast fiscal-2009 profit of $2.57 to $2.72 per share. Ahead of the bell, EL is set to open with a 5% gain from yesterday's close of $44.96.


Opening View: Wal-Mart Stores Takes the Earnings Reins, Boosts Futures


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