Walmart profits take hit, but earnings rise as online grows

A shopper loads her car after shopping at a Walmart in Pittsburgh. The company reported its earnings on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (AP Photo)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Walmart profits take hit, but earnings rise as online grows

NEW YORK: US retail giant Walmart saw profits take a hit, but earnings beat analysts’ expectations and total sales rose amid the growth of online sales, according to results released Thursday.
Net income was down $905 million from the same period last year at $2.134 billion.
But the key earnings per share measure was $1.14, two cents higher than expected. And net sales, at $121.6 billion, were up 4.4 percent over the same period last year — more than $1 billion higher than expectations.
The decrease in net income is primarily due to a change in accounting policy related to Wal-Mart’s 2016 equity investment in Chinese online distributor JD.com, of which Wal-Mart holds a little more than 10 percent.
In its guidance, the company cautioned that the recent purchase of Indian online marketplace Flipkart announced earlier this month was expected to negatively impact earnings per share in the current fiscal year by $0.25 to $0.30 if the transaction closes at the end of the second quarter.
Wal-Mart, which is trying to compete with online giant Amazon, saw US comparable store sales rise 2.1 percent and customer traffic increase 0.8 percent, although the unseasonably cold weather hurt sales in the US.
US online sales surged 33 percent, while international sales jumped 4.5 percent.
“We are changing from within to be faster and more digital, while shaping our portfolio of businesses for the future,” Walmart chief Doug McMillon said in a statement.
Following the release, the company’s stock was up more than two percent in pre-market trading to $87.85.


Iraq’s southern oil exports hold near record in January

Updated 23 min 36 sec ago
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Iraq’s southern oil exports hold near record in January

  • Southern exports so far in 2019 close to 3.6 mbpd — tracker
  • OPEC-led oil supply cut deal started in January

LONDON: Oil exports from southern Iraq are holding close to a record high so far in 2019, according to shipping data and an industry source, which could raise questions over whether OPEC’s second-largest producer is following through on a deal to cut output.
Southern Iraqi exports in the first 21 days of January averaged close to 3.6 million barrels per day, according to tanker data on Refinitiv Eikon and separate tracking by an industry source. That’s close to December’s 3.63 million bpd — a monthly record.
The figures suggest there is little sign yet of lower supplies from Iraq, despite a deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies to reduce output by 1.2 million bpd as of Jan. 1 to support the market.
“So far, no cuts,” the industry source said on Monday of Iraq’s export rate.
The south is the main outlet for Iraq’s crude. An Iraqi official, the director of Iraq’s Basra Oil Company, on Jan. 11 gave similar figures for January exports to those suggested by the tanker data and source.
Iraq, which has been expanding its oil export capacity, was reluctant to join a previous OPEC-led supply cut effort which began in 2017 and was at times OPEC’s least compliant member with the initiative.
To be sure, the OPEC-led deal applies to production, not exports. It is possible that Iraq could have cut production and maintained exports from crude held in storage, or reduced supply to domestic refineries.
Nonetheless, oil traders and analysts will be looking at exports to gauge whether the deal is lowering supply to the global market. So far, Iraq’s shipments abroad from the north haven’t declined significantly either.
Iraq’s northern exports appear to have held steady in January at about 400,000 bpd, according to tanker data compiled by Reuters and the industry source. That is still far below levels of more than 500,000 bpd in some months of 2017.
Baghdad says it will stick to the accord. Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Jan. 4 Iraq would keep production at the level of its OPEC target in the first half of 2019.
Under the deal, Iraq agreed to cut production by 141,000 bpd to 4.512 million bpd as of Jan. 1.