Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $96.00 price target on the retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Share price of Walmart has outperformed the industry in the past one year, 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; while 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.”

Several other analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) set a $84.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. Jefferies Group LLC set a $88.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Royal Bank Of Canada set a $74.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a sell rating in a research report on Monday, July 24th. Wells Fargo & Company reissued a market perform rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, June 27th. Finally, Robert W. Baird set a $90.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned 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 a consensus price target of $84.77.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) opened at 87.44 on Wednesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $81.17 and its 200 day moving average is $78.10. Wal-Mart Stores has a one year low of $65.28 and a one year high of $87.45. The company has a market capitalization of $261.20 billion, a PE ratio of 21.01 and a beta of 0.29.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.01. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.60% and a return on equity of 16.87%. The company had revenue of $123.40 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $121.86 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.07 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback plan on Tuesday, October 10th that permits the company to buyback $20.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the retailer to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, Director S Robson Walton sold 129,628 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 24th. The shares were 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 directly owns 3,344,956 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $269,068,260.64. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 474,042 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.04, for a total transaction of $37,942,321.68. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 10,048,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $804,288,343.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 9,924,828 shares of company stock valued at $785,676,492 in the last three months. 51.39% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Winfield Associates Inc. lifted its position in shares of 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 purchasing an additional 75 shares during the period. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC lifted its position in shares of 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 purchasing an additional 45 shares during the period. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC lifted its position in shares of 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 purchasing an additional 696 shares during the period. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. lifted its position in shares of 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 purchasing an additional 1,252 shares during the period. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC lifted its position in shares of 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 purchasing 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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