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Wal-Mart cuts profit outlook amid sluggish sales
Earnings » Higher health care costs, need for online investment cuts into income stream.

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Wal-Mart said it now expects earnings per share for the year to be in the range of $4.90 to $5.15 per share. That’s down from its previous guidance of $5.10 to $5.45 per share.

Wal-Mart said that the reduction in full-year profit projections assumes a continued challenging global economy. But Wal-Mart also said that far more U.S. employees and their families are enrolling in its health care plan than it expected.

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As a result, it now expects the impact to be about $500 million for the fiscal year, which is about $170 million higher than the original estimate of about $330 million provided in February.

Wal-Mart is also investing more in its online business, including hiring people and building shipping centers.

Shares slipped 3 cents to $74 in morning trading.

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