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Wal-Mart reiterates earnings outlook before annual investor day

Ahead of its annual investor day on Oct. 10 in Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. confirmed its fiscal-year 2018 guidance on GAAP EPS of $4.18 to $4.28, and adjusted EPS guidance of $4.30 to $4.40.

Wal-Mart also announced a $20 billion share repurchase program, which the company expects to utilize in about two years, to replace its current program.

The company expects EPS to increase about 5% in fiscal year 2019 compared to fiscal year 2018. The big-box retailer stressed its e-commerce growth in a press release ahead of its investor meeting, saying it expects consolidated net sales in fiscal year 2019 to grow at or above 3%, driven by comparable store sales and the retailer's growing e-commerce operations. Wal-Mart said it anticipates sales growth in its U.S. e-commerce operations to jump 40%, helped by the addition of 1,000 online grocery locations.

For both fiscal years 2018 and 2019, Wal-Mart expects capital expenditures to hit about $11 billion, with the company putting a heavier emphasis on its existing stores and on its digital operations rather than opening new stores. In the U.S., the company anticipates opening fewer than 15 Supercenters and fewer than 10 neighborhood markets in fiscal year 2019. Internationally, Wal-Mart said it would open about 255 new stores, with a focus in Mexico and China.