Simple Stock Analysis – Walmart (WMT)

Reading Time: 5 minutes    

Chances are you’ve visited a Walmart at some point in time. There are locations in every single state in the US including Puerto Rico. Walmart is undoubtedly a retail giant. In fact, there are even Walmart Supercenters that offer groceries and so sell anything from apples to tires and everything in between.


I haven’t done a simple stock analysis in a while and this company sticks out to me because I visit it on a regular basis. I’ve even used their online platform for purchases in the past.


As with other analysis, please understand that I am not a licensed broker and do not have investment certifications or professional experience in stock selection. I also am not being paid by Walmart or its competitors to perform this analysis. Now let’s dive in!



WMT’s Brief History


Walmart began as Walton’s by Sam Walton in 1950. The name changed to Walmart in 1962. The company became public seven years later in 1969 with a stock price of $16.50 per share. As of 2017, it operates 4,672 stores throughout the United States.



WMT’s Financials



WMT has a market cap of almost 275 billion. For the past three years, it’s revenues have been fairly consistent:


1/31/15 – 486B

1/30/16 – 482B

1/28/17 – 486B


Source: Yahoo Finance


Current Ratio

WMT’s current ratio which defines its abilities to pay is at 86%. This means that for every $1 of current liability, it ha 86 cents to pay it. This is not a great sign; however if managed properly with sales generation to the payment of accounts payable, it is manageable. I’ve found that other major retailers such as Target and Costco also have a current ratio of less than one so this may not be so uncommon in the industry.



WMT’s Return on Equity is 15.24%. If you subscribe to the philosophy used by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, you may not like this figure. He likes ROEs that are over 20% because those companies place returns back into the business in an efficient manner.


Last year, Mr. Buffett sold most of his shares of WMT and mentioned that retail is a hard business to be associated with. He further mentions Amazon and what a gigantic force it is in the retail and e-commerce space.


Free Cash Flow

As of the end of January 2018, WMT’s free cash flow is over $18 billion. This is important to have as it continues to make investments to accelerate its online business. In previous months it was over $21 billion and suggests it is actively making investments and paying shareholders.

Simple stock analysis WMT free cash flow simple money man

Source: Ycharts



WMT From Investor Perspective


WMT pays a dividend of 2.17% or 52 cents per share. The company has had 43 years of dividend growth so income to shareholders is not a problem. Also, the large cash pot mentioned should support payment of future dividends.



WMT From A Consumer Perspective


If you shop online, you may have noticed that many Walmart items offer free shipping on orders over $35. Many retailers ask you to spend $50 or more to qualify for free shipping. Returns are easy as you can order online and go to the store if an item doesn’t work out for you instead of printing a return label and mailing the item back.


And unlike other large retailers, I’ve never had an issue returning items even without a receipt. They’ve simply asked if there’s anything wrong with the product and either provided a refund or a gift card with the value of the item(s) I returned.

As previously mentioned, I’m a regular consumer at Walmart. There’s one five minutes away from my home. Whenever I go it’s busy, so now I try to go and get things on the weeknights and use the self-checkout line because it’s much quicker.


The bottom line is most of the products are cheaper than other retailers in my experience. I’ve compared many basic products with other places in terms of the specific brand and quantity of bread and milk to home air filters and televisions.




WMT Current and Future


The stock was down more than 10% on February 20, 2018, as it announced lower than expected earnings. However, WMT’s online sales sector increased by 23% in the past quarter and it’s taking steps to continuously compete with Amazon by closing some stores.


One may argue the P/E ratio of 24.67 could mean the stock is overpriced. When you compare this to Target (TGT), whose P/E ratio is 15.80; about 10 points lower. Nevertheless, WMT’s has performed significantly better over the past year:


simple stock analysis wmt walmart tgt simple money man



Source: Google Finance


P/E ratios from other large retail chains include:


Costco – 30.09

Kroger – 16.30

AMZN – 243.86 – You think the stock price just might be related to this J


So you can make the argument that WMT is sitting in the middle of all these competitors in terms of the P/E ratio.


By the way, WMT at 24.67 is very close with the S&P 500’s PE ratio of 25.70:


Personally, I’ve purchased items from countless times and the process has always been smooth.


Although I didn’t pick up any shares of WMT due to my transition from an active to a more passive/index-fund oriented investment management strategy, the price does appear attractive and may provide room for growth.



On The Horizon For WMT


WMT has recently announced the home delivery of groceries. It plans to provide this service to 100 cities by the end of 2018. It’s already the biggest seller of groceries and if WMT can continue its low pricing model in the delivery space, this segment can also be capitalized upon.



Your Thoughts:

  1. Do you shop at Walmart?
  2. Do you own shares of Walmart?
  3. Would you consider investing in Walmart?
  4. If you’ve purchased items online from Walmart, how would you rate that experience?




I use Personal Capital because (1) it’s free, (2) it tracks all of my accounts and overall net worth, (3) my account balances automatically update, (4) it shows how my investments are diversified and allocated in various sectors, and (5) can use built-in tools like “Investment Checkup” to get….wait for it…free personalized advice!