Last but not least, Walmart (WMT) could feel the sting from the gas spike. For the big-box discounter, having a less-affluent consumer base means its shoppers are likely feeling the recent uptick in gas prices more strongly.
Granted, you could argue that penny-pinched consumers might actually migrate to Walmart to save money. But I believe people are much more likely to simply cut back in the face of short-term fluctuations that actually change habits.
Plus, Walmart has already been lagging the market so far this year and is struggling to get any momentum. Its current-quarter earnings estimate has been sliding in the past few months, and expected full-year results have been coming down with it.
The company has pointed a finger at every imaginable factor — storms, cool temperatures, the payroll tax and more — meaning even the slightest uptick in gas prices and subsequent fall in spending is the last thing it needs.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.