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Wal-Mart Is Ringing In Strong Holiday Sales So Far

Posted
12/5/2013 6:04:00 PM
By: Investor's Business Daily
Referenced Stocks:AAPL;TGT;WMT

While the holiday shopping season got off to a weak start for some retailers, that wasn't the case withWal-Mart Stores ( WMT ).

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 ( AAPL )'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 ( TGT )'s 2.7%.

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.