Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was upgraded by equities researchers at Vetr from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday, May 15th. The firm presently has a $79.40 target price on the retailer’s stock. Vetr‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 5.53% from the stock’s current price.
Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. TheStreet upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Thursday, February 23rd. Bank of America Corporation upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their target price for the company from $76.00 to $88.00 in a research report on Wednesday, February 22nd. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $86.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Friday, April 7th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $84.00 price objective on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, April 25th. Finally, Gordon Haskett initiated coverage on Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, May 9th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $90.00 price objective on the stock. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating, eleven have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $78.80.
Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) traded down 4.65% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $75.24. 56,233,027 shares of the stock were exchanged. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12 month low of $65.28 and a 12 month high of $80.47. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $77.60 and its 200-day moving average is $72.06. The stock has a market cap of $226.81 billion, a PE ratio of 17.08 and a beta of 0.30. Wal-Mart Stores also was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Friday. Traders purchased 9,731 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 278% compared to the typical daily volume of 2,572 call options.
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 18th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.04. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.79% and a return on equity of 16.96%. The firm had revenue of $116.53 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $117.01 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.98 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.36 EPS for the current year.
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In other Wal-Mart Stores news, Director S Robson Walton sold 3,000,000 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.25, for a total transaction of $237,750,000.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 3,344,956 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $265,087,763. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 1,157,500 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, May 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.06, for a total value of $90,354,450.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $526,794,154.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 22,980,991 shares of company stock worth $1,814,159,476. 51.39% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 3.1% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 105,233,311 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $7,585,217,000 after buying an additional 3,196,912 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1,866.4% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 91,133,379 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $6,568,893,000 after buying an additional 86,498,829 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.2% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 73,568,236 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $5,303,013,000 after buying an additional 854,010 shares during the period. Dodge & Cox bought a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores during the fourth quarter valued at $1,503,922,000. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 8.0% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 15,369,668 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,106,330,000 after buying an additional 1,137,828 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 30.15% of the company’s stock.
About Wal-Mart Stores
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units in various formats around the world. The Company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club. The Walmart U.S. segment includes its mass merchant concept in the United States operating under the Walmart or Wal-Mart brands, as well as digital retail.
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