While most retailers continued to see same-store sale declines in February, Wal-Mart posted a larger-than-expected 5.1% rise in its sales from U.S. stores that have been open for at least 1 year. Wal-Mart has continued to be the beneficiary of value-hunting consumers seeking lower priced goods during the current recession. While the stock is down 21% from its 52-week high set on September 19, 2008, shares of the world’s biggest retailer have still performed well over the longer term.
- Of the current Dow components, Wal-Mart is the best-performing stock (up 258%) since May 1997, the last period when the Dow was below the 7,000 level. The second best performer is ExxonMobil , which is up 127% during that time.
- With a gain of 12%, Wal-Mart is the best performer in the Dow and the only member of that index that is up since the Dow’s all-time high on 10/9/07. Since hitting its historic high, the Dow has fallen 53%.
- While it is down 10% this year, Wal-Mart stock is still the second best Dow component YTD. The best performer on the Dow is IBM , which is up 7%.
- Featuring a market cap near $200 billion, Wal-Mart is currently the second biggest stock in the S&P 500. ExxonMobil remains the largest stock in the index with a market cap of $316 billion, while Microsoft comes in third with a market cap of $140 billion.
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Additionally, after reporting its sales numbers, Wal-Mart announced that it was raising is quarterly dividend 15% to 23.75 cents. This comes as many companies – and not just financial companies – have been cutting or even suspending dividend payments to conserve available capital. Fellow Dow components GE and Pfizer , for example, are amongst some of the most recent companies to cut their dividends.
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