While the holiday shopping season got off to a weak start for
some retailers, that wasn't the case withWal-Mart Stores (
The world's biggest retailer recently announced record results
for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With Black Friday actually
starting on Thanksgiving evening, Wal-Mart rang up more than 10
million transactions within the first four hours. Towels, which
shoppers fought over, were the best sellers. TVs and tablets were
also hot items.
Wal-Mart's momentum carried over to Cyber Monday. The retail
giant noted that this year's Cyber Monday was its largest online
sales day in history. LG's 50-inch LED high-definition
televisions andApple (
)'s iPad 2s were among the top sellers.
The company's strong start to the holiday shopping season
followed last month's mixed Q3 results and lukewarm outlook.
Wal-Mart has delivered higher earnings year after year. It has
a five-year Earnings Stability Factor of 2, signaling a
rock-steady stream of income. Its current fiscal 2014 earnings
are expected to rise 3% to $5.17 a share. Profit for fiscal 2015
is slated to grow 9%.
Besides consistent growth, the company has also rewarded
investors with dividends. Wal-Mart is a member of the S&P 500
Dividend Aristocrats index, which tracks large-cap companies that
have paid rising dividends for the last 25 years. The retailer
has raised its dividend each year since it declared its
first-ever dividend in 1974.
The company last announced a dividend hike in February, when
it raised its annual payment to shareholders by about 18% to
$1.88 a share. Wal-Mart has a yield of about 2.3%, slightly lower
than that of lagging rivalTarget (
Wal-Mart has retreated this week after rising for eight
straight weeks. The stock is near a 79.10 early buy point in a
long consolidation that goes back to mid-May.