First Merchants Corp Increases Stake in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)

First Merchants Corp increased its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 11.1% in the third quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 44,964 shares of the retailer’s stock after purchasing an additional 4,510 shares during the period. First Merchants Corp’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $3,513,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in WMT. Winfield Associates Inc. raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% during the 2nd quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% during the 2nd quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 1,429 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $108,000 after buying an additional 45 shares during the last quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% during the 2nd quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,526 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 1,252 shares during the last quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% during the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 124.2% during the 2nd quarter. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC now owns 1,910 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $145,000 after buying an additional 1,058 shares during the last quarter. 30.58% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) opened at $98.75 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a current ratio of 0.81 and a quick ratio of 0.19. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a 1-year low of $65.28 and a 1-year high of $100.13. The company has a market cap of $294,460.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.26, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.64 and a beta of 0.37.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $122.14 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $120.23 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.31% and a return on equity of 16.92%. Wal-Mart Stores’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.98 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will post 4.43 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Wal-Mart Stores declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to repurchase $20.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the retailer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of research firms recently commented on WMT. Wells Fargo & Co set a $101.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday. Telsey Advisory Group lowered their price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $108.00 to $96.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a report on Friday, November 17th. Royal Bank of Canada upped their price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $83.00 to $92.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. Moffett Nathanson began coverage on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Monday, December 4th. They set a “neutral” rating for the company. Finally, Jefferies Group upped their price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $93.00 to $97.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have given a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $95.78.

In related news, EVP John R. Furner sold 1,200 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $99.29, for a total value of $119,148.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 48,757 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,841,082.53. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,900,679 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.82, for a total transaction of $283,744,419.78. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $660,146,095.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 12,419,588 shares of company stock valued at $1,207,333,538. 51.39% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

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Wal-Mart Stores Profile

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

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