) doesn't just offer consumers good value for their money.
Shareholders also could be getting a deal.
Wal-Mart is no lumbering big-cap stock. It's up 14% this year,
outpacing the S&P 500. It's also in buying range after
breaking out above a 74.23 entry from a saucer base with a
Volume was only 20% above normal as the stock cleared the
entry, below the 40% you'd prefer to see. But keep in mind it can
be harder for megacaps to move the needle.
Meanwhile, the retailer in February boosted its annual
dividend by 29 cents, or 18%, to $1.88 a share. The dividend
yields 2.4% at the current share price, roughly in line with the
S&P 500 average.
Wal-Mart has raised its dividend every year since 1974 and is
a member of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index of
large-cap stocks that have increased dividends for at least 25
The world's largest retailer is benefiting from international
expansion and productivity improvements, which include the
introduction of self-checkout machines. It is also testing a
system that lets shoppers pick up goods ordered online without
going through a salesperson.
Profit has risen for at least eight straight years, growing
right through the 2008-09 recession as cash-strapped consumers
sought to cut expenses. Its three-year Earnings Stability Factor
is a stellar 1 on a scale of 0 (most stable) to 99 (least
stable). Revenue growth has also been steady if
Wal-Mart said late last month that it expects to suffer
unspecified losses from allegations that company executives had
bribed officials in Mexico to speed up its expansion there. But
Wal-Mart has said the losses won't have a material impact.