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Wal-Mart meets earnings estimates in third quarter


Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, reported a 5.8 percent increase in third-quarter earnings, meeting Wall Street expectations.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based chain earned $1.37 billion, or 31 cents per share, in the three months ended Oct. 31. That was up from a profit of $1.29 billion, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial predicted earnings of 31 cents.

Revenues rose 13 percent to $45.67 billion, from $40.43 billion a year ago.

The discount retailer benefited from consumers' migration away from department stores toward lower-priced merchants. However, amid a slowing in consumer spending growth, it has lowered its sales outlook for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

``We are pleased that in a difficult quarter we were able to achieve record sales and earnings. We gained market share and generated good earnings growth in a challenging retail environment,'' said Lee Scott, president and chief executive officer.

Wal-Mart shares were up 5.5 percent, or $2.50, to $48 in early morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the nine months ended Oct. 31, Wal-Mart earned $4.29 billion, or 96 cents per share on sales of $134.77 billion. In the year-ago period, net income was $3.46 billion, or 78 cents, on revenues of $113.61 billion.

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