​Leaked Wal-Mart Emails Crash Company Stocks Amid Earnings​​

By: | 02/18/2013 08:11 PM ET
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If you’re wondering why Wal-Mart stocks are tumbling today, blame it on the leaked emails that were intended to be private among it executives, which are reporting nothing but negative news on recent sales.

The communication is embarrassing to the company, especially now that the message was sent to shareholders of its stock. But while the blue-chip index is down 45 points, or 0.32%, shares of the Bentonville, Ark.-based company are off 3%.

The world’s largest retailer has found itself in the middle of Europe’s horsemeat scandal after its British arm Asda discovered the evidence in a “beef” Bolognese pasta sauce it sells.

In a statement published on its website, the company apologized to customers for “any worry, upset or inconvenience” and said that it’s “moving swiftly to remove products from sale as a precaution even when there is no direct evidence that one of our products is affected.”

More concerning on the financial front, Bloomberg News has published internal emails suggesting a heightened level of alert over February sales.

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February [month-to-date] sales are a total disaster,” Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics wrote at the beginning of this week. He went on to term it the “worst start to a month I have seen in my seven years with the company.” Another executive asked: “Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”

Of course, it’s easy to take statements like these out of context when we don’t have the rest of the emails to read. At the same time, however, these seemingly unqualified pronouncements are certainly a cause for concern among current Wal-Mart shareholders.