February 21, 2013 11:15 AM, EST
Wal-Mart’s 4Q Income Improves; Retailer Issues Cautious Outlook
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Wal-Mart Stores said Thursday its fourth-quarter net income rose 8.6% from a year ago, but the retail giant issued a cautious 2013 outlook.

Net income rose to $5.6 billion, or $1.67 per share, from $5.16 billion, or $1.50, a year earlier. Sales for the quarter ended Jan. 31 rose 3.9% to $127.1 billion.

Wal-Mart’s full fiscal-year earnings rose 7.8% to $17 billion, or $5.02 per share, from $15.8 billion, or $4.52. Sales rose 5% to $466.1 billion.

The company said that, after a strong start to the holiday season, the first three weeks of December were weak and that its business has been volatile since then, the Associated Press reported.

Wal-Mart forecast its first-quarter earnings to be $1.11 to $1.16 per share and full-year earnings to be $5.20 to $5.40 per share.

With more than 6,000 tractors and about 57,000 trailers, Wal-Mart Stores is ranked No. 4 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian private carriers.