Wal-Mart Stores Inc reported a roughly flat quarterly profit on Thursday as its low prices attracted shoppers amid a global economic slowdown, but the retailer's results were limited by a stronger U.S. dollar.

The company said profit was $3.02 billion, or 77 cents per share, in the first quarter ended April 30, compared $3.02 billion, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had forecast earnings of 77 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales were $93.471 billion, down 0.6 percent from last year. Net sales increased 4.5 percent to approximately $98.307 billion on a constant currency basis, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart has been gaining market share in the recession as shoppers head to its discount stores to take advantage of low prices on necessities, like groceries and toiletries.

But it had warned that its quarterly results would be hurt by currency exchange rates, and it said on Thursday that currency exchange rates hurt earnings by roughly 4 cents per share.

It forecast earnings per share of 83 cents to 88 cents from continuing operations for the second quarter.

Wal-Mart shares rose to $50.15 in light premarket trading from Wednesday's New York Stock Exchange close of $50.03.

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)