Wal-Mart stock saw its biggest dip in five years in early trading this morning, after Q2 profits rose less than analysts had expected. The Arkansas-based behemoth says full-year profit will total $3.13 a share, 3 cents lighter than its projections: Bloomberg reports that surging gas prices, faltering home sales and steepening mortgage rates kept customers out of the retailer's labyrinthine isles.
"US consumers continue to be under difficult pressure economically,'' said CEO H. Lee Scott. "It is no secret that many customers are running out of money toward the end of the month." Wal-Mart revenue increased 8.9% to $93 billion and net income jumped 49% to $3.1 billion, or 76 cents a share.