The world's largest retailer unveiled a health-care initiative Monday that will allow customers to compare and enroll in different insurance plans in thousands of its stores. The company said it has teamed up with DirectHealth.com to launch the program they are calling "Healthcare Begins Here."
"For years, our customers have told us that there is too much complexity when it comes to understanding their health insurance options," said Wal-Mart senior vice president and president of health and wellness, Labeed Diab, in a press release. "Healthcare Begins Here addresses that complexity by bringing clarity and increased choice to the insurance enrollment process through DirectHealth.com."
But can this new program help move the needle for Wal-Mart's stock, which has been relatively range-bound for the better part of the past year?
"[Healthcare Begins Here] is just another way to get people in the door more often and more frequently," said S&P Capital IQ's Erin Gibbs, who views Wal-Mart as more of a "hold" at its current levels.
"If these [new health-care] plans work and we see increased traffic, and we finally see the economy growing, and people having more cash in their pockets, then that is great. But that's a lot of ifs." she added."Until we see those plans come through, I do not see Wal-Mart as a buy here."
Based on the technicals, Ari Wald of Oppenheimer said all signs say to stay away from the retailer.
"Wal-Mart has been in this wide trading range for the past year. We're approaching the upper end of the range at $80 [per share]," said Wald. "I'd rather not buy [Wal-Mart] on anticipation of breakout above $80 [per share], I'd rather just buy the S&P 500."
On a chart of Wal-Mart relative to the S&P 500, Wald pointed out that the trend remains negative, with no signs of a base. "I think [Wal-Mart] will continue to underperform. I'm avoiding it."
Check out the video above for the full discussion with Gibbs and Wald.