By Swissquote Analysts
Walmart Lifts Full-Year Outlook as Quarterly Sales Rise
Topic of the day
Walmart's sales rose in the most recent quarter, the company said Thursday, a sign that the nation's largest retailer by revenue is hoovering up customers looking for lower prices that have curtailed spending elsewhere. The Bentonville, Ark., retail chain also lifted its outlook on sales and profits for the full year, helped by its stronger-than-expected first-quarter results. At Walmart, U.S. comparable sales, those from stores and digital channels operating for at least 12 months, grew 7.4% in the quarter ended April 28 compared with the same period last year. That was a slightly lower pace of growth compared with the previous quarter. The retailer is known for low prices and earns most of its U.S. revenue from groceries, characteristics that tend to attract shoppers in lean economic times as they give priority to necessities. Walmart said it continued to gain grocery market share, including among higher-income shoppers. Executives said the performance doesn't mean shoppers are flush with cash. Sales slowed as the first quarter progressed, said Walmart Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey in an interview, as people dealt with cuts to SNAP benefits and tax refunds shrank. A pandemic-era boost in food assistance payments to low-income households ended earlier this year.
The Switzerland stock market ended moderately lower on Wednesday as worries about inflation and interest rates weighed on sentiment. Weak industrial and retail sales data from China hurt as well. The benchmark SMI ended with a loss of 82.09 points or 0.71% at 11,437.78, after moving between 11,432.25 and 11,497.31. Givaudan ended 3.74% down. Lonza Group and Zurich Insurance Group ended lower by 2.78% and 2.52%, respectively. Swisscom ended 1.61% down, and Novartis drifted down 1.56%. Nestle, Sika, Swiss Life Holding, Sonova and Partners Group ended lower by 0.7 to 1%. Credit Suisse climbed 1.8%. UBS Group advanced 1.05%, and ABB shed 0.61%. In the Mid Price Group, DocMorris fell 7.45%. Tecan Group drifted down 2.9%, while Lindt & Spruengli, PSP Swiss Property, Barry Callebaut, Bachem Holding, Ems Chemie Holding, Georg Fischer, Swatch Group, Swiss Prime Site, Belimo Holding, Clariant and Kuehne & Nagel lost 1 to 2.2%. Flughafen Zurich surged 1.3%. Dufry gained 0.82%, while Galenica Sante and Helvetia gained 0.66% and 0.55%, respectively.
European stocks closed higher on Thursday amid optimism the lawmakers will eventually reach an agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling. Following a meeting earlier in the week, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., both expressed optimism a deal will be reached. Investors also reacted positively to some earnings news and other corporate news. The pan European Stoxx 600 ended 0.39% up. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.25%. Germany's DAX climbed 1.33% and France's CAC 40 gained 0.64%. The Switzerland market was closed today for Ascension Day holiday. Among other markets in Europe, many were closed for Ascension Day. Volume of business remained thin in markets where trading was on today, and stocks turned in a mixed performance. In the UK market, JD Sports Fashion rallied more than 5%, extending gains from the previous session, after saying profits could hit the 1 billion pound mark this year. Ashtead climbed 3.5%. Standard Chartered, Carnival, Ferguson, Experian, DCC, Informa and Scottish Mortgage gained 2 to 3%. HSBC Holdings, ITV, Admiral Group, M&G, Persimmon, 3i, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Halma, Easyjet, Barratt Developments, The Sage Group, Relx and Just Eat Takeaway.com also ended notably higher. Royal Mail, BT and Polymetal International lost 5 to 6%. Burberry Group shares dropped more than 5% despite the company posting a 16% sales increase, primarily driven by strong demand from Chinese consumers. National Grid, Centica, Pennon, Severn Trent and Imperial Brands lost 1.7 to 3%.
Stocks advanced Thursday, turning green after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that the House of Representatives could vote on a debt-ceiling deal as soon as next week. The S&P 500 rose 0.9% to close at its highest level since Aug. 25. The Nasdaq Composite added 1.5%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher 0.3%. Investors have been seeking confirmation that debt-ceiling talks are progressing, after President Biden helped boost sentiment on Wednesday by expressing confidence that a default would be avoided. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that absent a deal to raise the borrowing cap, the government could become unable to pay its bills on time by June 1. Large technology companies helped drive markets higher Thursday, as they have for much of the year. The Nasdaq-100, an index of the 100 largest nonfinancial companies traded on the tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange, closed at its highest level in more than a year. Apple, Microsoft, Nvidia, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all closed at fresh 52-week highs. Netflix shares rallied 9.2%. Chip maker Nvidia, the S&P 500's best performer this year, added to gains, closing up 5%. In earnings, Walmart reported an increase in sales and lifted its full-year outlook, an indication that U.S. consumers are going bargain hunting. Shares of the nation's largest retailer closed up 1.3%. "Consumer spending is shifting right now and moving away from pricier goods with a renewed focus on staples, where Walmart's lower-cost offerings are attractive," said David Trainer, CEO of investment research firm New Constructs.
The stock markets in East Asia and Australia show a mixed trend on Friday. While most stock exchanges record gains, the stock market in Hong Kong drops significantly. On the Tokyo stock exchange, the Nikkei index gains 0.6 per cent to 30,771 points at a daily high of 30,925 points. This is the seventh trading day in a row that the index has moved up. Tailwinds came from the reporting season and the expectation of an early settlement in the US debt dispute, they said.
U.S. treasury yields rose after weekly initial jobless claims fell and came in below expectations. Continuing claims dropped to the lowest level since early March.
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