(Comments from Wal-Mart added, along with updated stock movement.)



) -- On the surface


(WMT) - Get Report

second-quarter results were positive.

The retail behemoth reported second-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations and boosted the low end of its guidance.

But sales for the company, however, remained weak -- a major hint that shoppers are still wary of spending, even at discounters.

During the quarter, the company earned $3.44 billion, or 88 cents a share, compared with $3.45 billion, or 87 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected the discounter to earn 85 cents.

Sales slipped 1.4% to $100.8 billion, hurt by currency exchange rates.

Wal-Mart said excluding the negative impact of currency exchange, net sales rose 2.7% to about $104.3 billion.

Total U.S. same-store sales, without fuel, fell 1.2% in the quarter. With fuel, sales fell 1.9%.

Wal-Mart, though, doesn't view these sales results at weak.

"These numbers are far better than everyone else out there," John Simley, a spokesperson for the company said. "If you look at it from a relative standpoint, many other companies would be happy to trade with us."

This is the first quarter where Wal-Mart has not been reporting monthly comparable sales.

Wal-Mart raised the bottom end of guidance to $3.50 to $3.60 a share, up from prior forecast of $3.45 to $3.60.

For the third quarter, the retail giant expects earnings in the range of 78 cents to 82 cents a share, including 3 cents of negative impact from currency exchange.

Shares of Wal-Mart were up 2.3%, or $1.19, to $51.70 in afternoon trading.

-- Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York


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