Granite Investment Advisors LLC reduced its position in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 6.6% in the 2nd quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 185,142 shares of the retailer’s stock after selling 13,121 shares during the quarter. Wal-Mart Stores makes up 2.6% of Granite Investment Advisors LLC’s portfolio, making the stock its 8th largest holding. Granite Investment Advisors LLC’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $14,537,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Waldron LP bought a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores during the first quarter valued at $313,000. Whittier Trust Co. lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.4% during the first quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 73,221 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $5,278,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares during the period. Callahan Advisors LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 16.6% during the first quarter. Callahan Advisors LLC now owns 58,446 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $4,213,000 after acquiring an additional 8,330 shares during the period. Capital Advisors Inc. OK lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 27.1% during the first quarter. Capital Advisors Inc. OK now owns 25,144 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,812,000 after acquiring an additional 5,356 shares during the period. Finally, Welch & Forbes LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.6% during the first quarter. Welch & Forbes LLC now owns 117,185 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $8,447,000 after acquiring an additional 1,812 shares during the period. 30.16% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) opened at 87.36 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $260.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.99 and a beta of 0.29. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $81.89 and a 200-day moving average price of $78.50. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a one year low of $65.28 and a one year high of $88.92.
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.07 by $0.01. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.87% and a net margin of 2.60%. The business had revenue of $123.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $121.86 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.07 EPS. Wal-Mart Stores’s quarterly revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will post $4.37 EPS for the current year.
Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to buyback $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the retailer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,000,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.47, for a total value of $158,940,000.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $536,309,652.60. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 129,628 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.44, for a total value of $10,427,276.32. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 3,344,956 shares in the company, valued at approximately $269,068,260.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 9,924,828 shares of company stock worth $785,676,492 in the last quarter. Company insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.
A number of research firms recently issued reports on WMT. BidaskClub raised Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Morningstar, Inc. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Vetr cut Wal-Mart Stores from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $64.26 price target for the company. in a report on Monday, July 17th. Citigroup Inc. lifted their price objective on Wal-Mart Stores from $78.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 15th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $86.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have issued a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $84.77.
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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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