Wal-Mart ( WMT) said same-store sales were weaker than expected in April and would stay that way in May, but said its first-quarter earnings would come in above estimates.

The world's largest retailer said comparable-store sales rose 4.6% in April and predicted May comps would rise just 1% to 3%. Nevertheless, the company expects first-quarter earnings to be at the high end of its previous earnings forecast of 40 cents to 42 cents a share. Analysts had been predicting earnings of 37 cents a share.

Overall sales for April were $18.56 billion, up 12.2% over $16.54 billion in the year-ago period.

Wal-Mart closed at $55.08 Wednesday, down 83 cents.

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