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Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT)
Retained Earnings
$80,814 Mil (As of Oct. 2014)

Retained earnings is the accumulated portion of net income that is not distributed to shareholders. Wal-Mart Stores Inc's retained earnings for the quarter that ended in Oct. 2014 was $80,814 Mil.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc's quarterly retained earnings increased from Apr. 2014 ($73,366 Mil) to Jul. 2014 ($77,172 Mil) and increased from Jul. 2014 ($77,172 Mil) to Oct. 2014 ($80,814 Mil).

Wal-Mart Stores Inc's annual retained earnings increased from Jan. 2012 ($68,691 Mil) to Jan. 2013 ($72,978 Mil) and increased from Jan. 2013 ($72,978 Mil) to Jan. 2014 ($76,566 Mil).


Definition

Retained Earnings is the accumulated portion of net income that is not distributed to shareholders. Because the net income was not distributed to shareholders, shareholders’ equity is increased by the same amount.

Of course, if a company loses, it is called retained losses, or accumulated losses.


Explanation

Historically profitable companies sometimes have negative retained earnings. This is because they have cumulatively paid out more to shareholders than they reported in profits.

For example, in 2011, Microsoft had negative retained earnings. This does not mean the company lost more money than it made over the years. It just means it paid out more money than it earned.

If a company has negative retained earnings, investors should check the 10-year financial results. They should not assume that negative retained earnings prove a company has generally lost money in the past.

Of course, many companies with negative retained earnings have indeed lost money in the past.

Retained Earnings: Warren Buffett’s Secret.

One of the most important indicators of durable competitive advantage. Net earnings can be paid out as dividends, used to buy back shares or retained for growth.

If the company loses more than it has accumulated, retained earnings is negative.

If a company isn’t adding to its retained earnings, it isn’t growing its net worth.

Rate of growth of retained earnings is good indicator whether it’s benefiting from a competitive advantage.

Microsoft is negative because it chose to buyback stock and pay dividends.

The more earnings retained, the faster it grows and increases growth rate for future earnings.


Historical Data

* All numbers are in millions except for per share data and ratio. All numbers are in their own currency.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc Annual Data

Jan05Jan06Jan07Jan08Jan09Jan10Jan11Jan12Jan13Jan14
Retained Earnings 43,85449,10555,81857,31963,66066,35763,96768,69172,97876,566

Wal-Mart Stores Inc Quarterly Data

Jul12Oct12Jan13Apr13Jul13Oct13Jan14Apr14Jul14Oct14
Retained Earnings 67,73270,25672,97868,48970,79172,88876,56673,36677,17280,814
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