Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday, July 19th.

According to Zacks, “Share price of Wal-Mart has been outperforming the Zacks categorized Retail-Supermarkets industry since the past six months. Wal-Mart continues to impress investors with positive comps at Wal-Mart U.S. for 11 successive quarters. The impact of rising consumer spending was seen in improved traffic during the first-quarter fiscal 2018. Moreover, the company’s price-matching initiative has been bearing fruits. The company is also taking advantage of the booming online grocery shopping and delivery industry by expanding its business offerings. Wal-Mart’s e-commerce business development initiatives are also commendable. The company’s acquisition of four e-commerce businesses since the Jet.com acquisition is in-line with the company’s efforts to grow its online activities. However unfavorable currency, decline in international revenues and stiff competition  poses concerns for the company's performace.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on WMT. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Saturday, May 13th. UBS AG reissued a “neutral” rating and issued a $80.00 target price (up previously from $73.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Sunday, May 21st. Pacific Crest downgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores to a “hold” rating in a research note on Sunday, April 30th. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Sunday, June 11th. Finally, Vetr raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $71.15 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, July 10th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $79.83.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) traded up 0.26% on Wednesday, hitting $80.98. 11,520,414 shares of the stock were exchanged. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12 month low of $65.28 and a 12 month high of $81.99. The company has a 50-day moving average of $77.76 and a 200 day moving average of $74.46. The firm has a market cap of $244.11 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.39 and a beta of 0.29.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, May 18th. The retailer reported $1.00 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $116.53 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $117.01 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.79% and a return on equity of 16.96%. The business’s revenue was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.98 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, insider David Cheesewright sold 25,729 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.65, for a total transaction of $1,972,127.85. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider David Chojnowski sold 5,142 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.36, for a total value of $408,069.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 23,006,720 shares of company stock worth $1,816,131,604 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WMT. Winfield Associates Inc. boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% in the second quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% in the second 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. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% in the first 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. Asset Planning Services Ltd. raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.7% in the first quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. now owns 1,511 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the period. Finally, Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% in the second 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. 30.00% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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