Wal-Mart to offer banking in Mexico

Article Excerpt

WAL-MART STORES INC. $46 (New York symbol WMT; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Consumer sector; WSSF Rating: Above average) has received permission from Mexican finance regulators to offer banking services through its 565 stores in Mexico. This new business will likely lose money for the first three to four years. But it should have little trouble attracting clients, particularly low-income customers who avoid major Mexican banks due to their high transaction fees and interest rate charges. The experience should help Wal-Mart with its plans to roll out banking services in other countries, including the United States. The stock has moved down lately, mainly due to slowing sales. In November, same-store sales in the U.S. fell 0.1% due to weak sales of certain apparel and home furnishing items. Wal-Mart is now phasing out some of its more fashionable, higher-priced clothing, and focusing on cutting prices. The company should earn $2.86 a share in its current fiscal year, and the stock trades at 16.1 times that figure…

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