Wal-Mart shares could soar for this reason

Wal-Mart has stood out as one of the few big names in retail without a post-earnings slump, and one strategist believes the company's continued success could hinge on low-income consumers.

Mark Tepper, president of Strategic Wealth Partners, says that a shift away from higher income consumers can give Wal-Mart a rebound after the retail giant's slump last October.

"One of the main things we're seeing is that lower income consumers are much more confident relative to higher income consumers over the course of the last several months," Tepper said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "A lot of it has to do with seeing wage inflation for the first time in a while."

Wage hikes during the first quarter gave low-income consumers more means to shop, including Wal-Mart's own employees. Wal-Mart has historically been a go-to retailer for low-income shoppers seeking out cheaper deals. In its May first-quarter earnings call, the company cemented its commitment to a "price investment" plan by saying that it had "[lowered] prices on key items and select geographies" for the first quarter.

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But Tepper believes that higher-income earners could flock to Wal-Mart as well, especially given the current savings outlook.

"We do think Wal-Mart would be the beneficiary of picking up some new customers, as the affluent may tend to trade down," he added. "Due to this personal savings rate we've seen lately, [higher-income shoppers may go to Wal-Mart] in order for them to preserve some capital."

The current outlook has Strategas Research Partners technical analyst Chris Verrone optimistic for Wal-Mart's future. He shows on a longer-term chart that Wal-Mart is actually following a gradual upward trend that looks to continue.

"Our longer term work has turned as well, old momentum has turned, I think any pullback into $65, $66 is an opportunity to add exposure," he said. "Ultimately, this continues to work higher."


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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