May 16 - Wal-Mart pays back $3.8 billion to shareholders despite lower-than-expected results and paying tens of millions of dollars to look into possible foreign bribes. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit today is $3.8 billion. That's how much Wal-Mart is returning to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks in the first quarter, even though the world's largest retailer is also paying tens of millions of dollars to look into possible bribery at its international divisions. The cash payout also comes despite quarterly earnings just below Wall Street estimates at $3.78 billion, and lower-than-expected revenue of just over $114 billion. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year saw an unexpected drop, with the retailer citing everything from tax pressures on shoppers to a cool start to spring. Customers spent more per trip on average but they made fewer visits. That, in part, is behind the company's suggestion that profit will again miss Wall Street expectations in the quarter ahead.