Fourth quarter earnings were not what analysts had expected for discount shopping giant Walmart Inc. (WMT). The company in its most recent earnings release announced earnings per share of $1.33. This fell below one analysis estimate of $1.36. There was good news, however, as the earnings per share figure announced actually increased 2.3% year over year.
WMT was able to deliver this year over year growth thanks in large part to its big push over the last quarter to boost revenue. The company announced total revenue of $136.3B, a figure which managed to grow a decent 4% year over year. This figure managed to beat analyst estimate of $135B.
WMT also saw lifts in several key areas of its business. US comparable sales rose 2.6% while there was a 1.6% increase in overall US traffic. Across the US e-commerce operations sales rose 23%, a massive jump for the company which until recently, relied mainly on brick and mortar stores to generate the bulk of its revenue. The push online seen by many as a direct challenge to Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) has been watched closely by Wall Street for many months.
For many watching WMT will have to prove itself in a whole different way from its traditional posture and interaction with customers. Quarter four fiscals go a long way in proving that WMT is up to the task in terms of its online foray. Looking ahead the company has projected earnings per share in the range $4.75 and $5.00.
Analysts have set a best-case scenario for the shopping company of $4.91 for the 2019 fiscal year. Shares in WMT were down at the close of trdaing on Tursday. The stock closed down 10.17%, one of its worse performances since 1988.
WMT may have missed estimate but not so for Noble Energy, Inc. (NBL), smaller company that managed to deliver outsized increases for its fourth quarter. One analyst had pegged NBL to deliver earnings per share of 4 cents for Q4; but NBL did better by a clear 700%, finishing the quarter with earnings per share of 32 cents.
This was a solid rebuff of Wall Street pundits and NBL translated its strong quarters into actual GAAP numbers. Unlike the year prior when NBL reported GAAP loss of 59 cents, the company turned things around with GAAP earnings of $1.01 per share. For the Q4) NBL delivered total revenues of $1,201M, a year over year increase of 18.9%. Wall Street had predicted total revenues for the quarter at $1,152M but NBL clearly delivered above this estimate to the delight of shareholders.
In trading on Tuesday the stock traded up 10.85% to finish the day’s session up $2.85. The close of $29.12 was one of the strongest for NBL since climbing to a high of $33 on January 24. The strong rally also marks, perhaps, a change in profile for the company. Market cap is currently $14.17B and the stock has a dividend yield of 1.37%.