Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Share price of Walmart has been outperforming the industry on a year-to-date basis, as the company is pushing itself to understand the evolving needs of its customers and expand itself in both brick-and-mortar space as well as e-commerce activities. On one hand, the company is posting positive comps at Walmart U.S. for 12 successive quarters, on the other hand, it is also building its e-commerce capabilities through acquisitions and growing in the online grocery and delivery market. The company therefore expects sales to rise approximately 3% during fiscal 2019, backed by the sustained growth in comps and e-commerce. However, the company still faces headwinds such as unfavorable currency, stiff competition from both brick & mortar and online retailers and huge expenses related to e-commerce investments. Nevertheless, the company makes efforts to offset these headwinds with its initiatives to boost sales.”

WMT has been the topic of several other reports. MKM Partners reissued a neutral rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, August 15th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc reissued a buy rating and issued a $91.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Cowen and Company set a $86.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, August 7th. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $80.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Monday, August 14th. Finally, BidaskClub raised Wal-Mart Stores from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned a hold rating, fifteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Wal-Mart Stores currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $84.38.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE WMT) opened at 87.44 on Tuesday. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $87.45. The company has a market cap of $261.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.01 and a beta of 0.29. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $81.17 and a 200-day moving average price of $78.10.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate 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 firm had revenue of $123.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $121.86 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.07 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.37 earnings per share for the current year.

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Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to buyback $20.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the retailer to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,586 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.00, for a total transaction of $125,294.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 21,125 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,668,875. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 646,330 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.20, for a total transaction of $51,835,666.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 3,344,956 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $268,265,471.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock valued at $785,676,492. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Winfield Associates Inc. boosted its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% in the 2nd quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the period. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% in the 1st quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 1,476 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 696 shares during the period. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC boosted its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% in the 2nd quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 1,429 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 45 shares during the period. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. boosted its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% in the 2nd quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,526 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 1,252 shares during the period. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $139,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the period. 30.19% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Wal-Mart Stores Company 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.

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Analyst Recommendations for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

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