Will eBay Be the Next Wal-Mart?
This behemoth with a market cap of over $242 billion has had a great run over the past year, as the chart below demonstrates. I've included a line on the stock's PEG ratio for general interest. Currently, the five-year expected PEG ratio is around 1.73, which doesn't make WMT exactly a bargain at current levels.
The bottom line: Wal-Mart's price and PEG ratio, by technical standards, is somewhat over-extended. That doesn't mean the stock may not exceed the 52-week high of $75.24 if the second-quarter numbers are much better than expected and/or next quarter's guidance is ebullient.
During its second quarter WMT did all it could to counter the negative impact of a slowing economy and reduced consumer spending. It also tried to help its growth by opening more of its Neighborhood Market grocery stores.
Since 1998 the company has expanded this division from its very first Neighborhood Market to 199 stores today. Eighty of those grocery stores were added in this fiscal year alone.
With its first Wal-Mart Express store opening last year, WMT is trying to win back some business it has been gradually losing to dollar stores like Dollar Tree(DLTR) .
The smaller Express stores have worked well for WMT in international areas including Brazil and United Kingdom. Wal-Mart hopes to expand its footprint and presence in China, the country where many of the products sold at WMT are either made or assembled.
The second quarter saw some embarrassment for WMT, as it was during that time period it was accused of using bribery to expand its Mexican operations. The accusations included a yet-unproven charge the powerhouse tried to cover up the corruption. Reportedly both the U.S. and Mexico are investigating.
Despite the charges of wrongdoing and company admissions of needing to improve on their productivity, WMT shares (as the chart above illustrates) have had an even better performance in the past two quarters.