Initial numbers flowing from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (NYSE:WMT) latest fourth quarter report looked good, considering the slow start that the world’s largest retailer has experienced so far in February, Reuters reports.
Profits rose 8.6 percent, and the company announced that it would be awarding larger dividends. However, Wal-Mart shares still fell by 1 percent in pre-market trading. Revenue was up one percent overall.
During the fourth fiscal quarter, Wal-Mart earned $1.67 per share — comfortably above the company’s own predictions of $1.53 to $1.58 per share. This is representative of the company’s continuing operations. Analysts had pegged the prospective figure at $1.57. Net sales topped at $127.1 billion, a 3.9 percent increase, but still just shy of the $127.8 billion projection.
However, neither the company nor the analysts are expecting to see any significant financial growth moving forward in 2013, due to raises in income taxes and rising gasoline costs. While this is certainly not fantastic news for the company, is isn’t good news for the economy at large either — Wal-Mart, after all, attributes 10 percent of the total (nonautomotive) retail spending in the country, according to USA Today. This puts the company in the position of being the nation’s thermometer, and patterns shown at the company are generally representative of the economy as a whole…