Company Description: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart operates a chain of over 10,000 discount department stores, wholesale clubs, supermarkets and supercenters.
Fair Value: In calculating fair value, I consider the NPV MMA Differential Fair Value along with these four calculations of fair value, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:
1. Avg. High Yield Price
2. 20-Year DCF Price
3. Avg. P/E Price
4. Graham Number
WMT is trading at a premium to all four valuations above. The stock is trading at a 64.5% premium to its calculated fair value of $48.09. Wal-Mart did not earn any Stars in this section.
Dividend Analytical Data: In this section there are three possible Stars and three key metrics, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:
1. Free Cash Flow Payout
2. Debt To Total Capital
3. Key Metrics
4. Dividend Growth Rate
5. Years of Div. Growth
6. Rolling 4-yr Div. > 15%
Wal-Mart earned one Star in this section for 2.) above. The stock earned a Star as a result of its most recent Debt to Total Capital being less than 45%. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1973 and has increased its dividend payments for 40 consecutive years.
Dividend Income vs. MMA: Why would you assume the equity risk and invest in a dividend stock if you could earn a better return in a much less risky money market account (MMA) or Treasury bond? This section compares the earning ability of this stock with a high yield MMA. Two items are considered in this section, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:
1. NPV MMA Diff.
2. Years to > MMA
The negative NPV MMA Diff. means that on a NPV basis the dividend earnings from an investment in WMT would be less than a similar amount invested in MMA earning a 20-year average rate of 3.31%. If Wal-Mart grows its dividend at 2.1% per year, it will never equal a MMA yielding an estimated 20-year average rate of 3.31%.
Memberships and Peers: WMT is a member of the S&P 500, a Dividend Aristocrat, a member of the Broad Dividend Achievers™ Index and a Dividend Champion. The company's peer group includes: Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) with a 1.1% yield, Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) with a 2.8% yield and PriceSmart Inc. (NASDAQ:PSMT) with a 0.8% yield.
Conclusion: WMT did not earn any Stars in the Fair Value section, earned one Star in the Dividend Analytical Data section and did not earn any Stars in the Dividend Income vs. MMA section for a total of one Star. This quantitatively ranks WMT as a 1-Star Very Weak stock.
Using my D4L-PreScreen.xls model, I determined the share price would need to increase to $46.36 before WMT's NPV MMA Differential decreased to the $500 minimum that I look for in a stock with 40 years of consecutive dividend increases. At that price the stock would yield 4.1%.
Resetting the D4L-PreScreen.xls model and solving for the dividend growth rate needed to generate the target $500 NPV MMA Differential, the calculated rate is 7.6%. This dividend growth rate is significantly higher than the 2.1% used in this analysis, thus providing no margin of safety. WMT has a risk rating of 1.75 which classifies it as a Low risk stock.
Wal-Mart enjoys dominant positions in most markets where it competes. The weak economic environment has led some of the company's customers to spend cautiously due to government benefit reductions and job market uncertainties. However, WMT's huge scale, geographic and product diversities, aggressive cost savings and strong international presence and increased marketing of its core value message should deliver improved results in the long-term.
Going forward, Wal-Mart will face fierce competition from Costco (COST), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), dollar stores and other such retailers. This was reflected in the company's fiscal 2014 results in which all four quarters delivered weak results. In addition to slowing U.S. results, WMT is also experiencing weakness in Mexico, Brazil and China, leading to an anemic 1% growth in fiscal 2014 international revenues.
Q: What happens when a relatively low yielding stock cuts its dividend growth rate? A: A significant downgrade, and that is exactly what happened to Wal-Mart. When I last reviewed the stock in November 2013, its dividend growth rate was a generous 13.5%, including its latest dividend increase, its dividend growth rate is now only 2.1%. This is the primary driver of its calculated fair value dropping to $48.09. Until this changes, I will not add significantly to my position.
Full Disclosure: At the time of this writing, I was long in WMT (1.3% of my Dividend Growth Portfolio). See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.
Disclaimer: Material presented here is for informational purposes only. The above quantitative stock analysis, including the Star rating, is mechanically calculated and is based on historical information. The analysis assumes the stock will perform in the future as it has in the past. This is generally never true. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. See my Disclaimer for more information.