Vetr upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Wednesday morning. They currently have $104.38 target price on the retailer’s stock.
Several other research firms also recently issued reports on WMT. CIBC cut their price objective on Wal-Mart Stores from $100.00 to $90.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, November 15th. Telsey Advisory Group cut their price target on Wal-Mart Stores from $108.00 to $96.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 17th. Citigroup upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a neutral rating to a buy rating and upped their price target for the stock from $106.00 to $117.00 in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Royal Bank of Canada upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from an underperform rating to a sector perform rating and set a $96.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, November 29th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Saturday, January 6th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $97.16.
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) traded up $0.85 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $100.87. The company had a trading volume of 6,907,200 shares, compared to its average volume of 8,490,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a current ratio of 0.81 and a quick ratio of 0.19. The stock has a market cap of $298,820.00, a P/E ratio of 26.83, a PEG ratio of 3.68 and a beta of 0.37. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $102.35.
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $120.23 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.92% and a net margin of 2.31%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.98 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores will post 4.43 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Wal-Mart Stores declared that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to buyback $20.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the retailer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
In other news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,900,679 shares of the company’s 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 directly owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $660,146,095.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, SVP David Chojnowski sold 684 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.29, for a total value of $67,914.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 12,419,588 shares of company stock valued at $1,207,333,538. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.
Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMT. Sheets Smith Wealth Management acquired a new stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores in the 4th quarter valued at about $658,000. Stillwater Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores in the 4th quarter valued at about $9,445,000. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 47.8% in the 4th quarter. Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. now owns 3,310 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $327,000 after purchasing an additional 1,070 shares during the period. Lathrop Investment Management Corp boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 3.5% in the 4th quarter. Lathrop Investment Management Corp now owns 175,302 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $17,311,000 after purchasing an additional 5,942 shares during the period. Finally, Rowland & Co. Investment Counsel ADV boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.6% in the 4th quarter. Rowland & Co. Investment Counsel ADV now owns 71,138 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $7,053,000 after purchasing an additional 1,105 shares during the period. 30.58% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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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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