Stock Traders Purchase High Volume of Put Options on Wal-Mart Stores (WMT)

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Stock investors purchased 5,107 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 351% compared to the typical volume of 1,132 put options.

WMT has been the subject of a number of recent analyst reports. KeyCorp reissued a “buy” rating and set a $90.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, September 19th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. Jefferies Group LLC set a $88.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 17th. J P Morgan Chase & Co reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $84.00 target price (up previously from $80.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have issued a hold rating, fourteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $85.58.

In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,000,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.47, for a total value of $158,940,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $536,309,652.60. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 646,330 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 completion of the transaction, the director now 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 quarter, insiders sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock valued at $785,676,492. 51.39% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Winfield Associates Inc. raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% during 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 raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% during 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 raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% during 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. raised its stake 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 valued at $115,000 after acquiring an additional 1,252 shares during the period. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC raised its stake 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 valued at $139,000 after acquiring an additional 7 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 30.18% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) opened at $89.68 on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $267,892.28, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.57, a PEG ratio of 3.46 and a beta of 0.34. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52 week low of $65.28 and a 52 week high of $89.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51, a quick ratio of 0.18 and a current ratio of 0.78.

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

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its board has approved a share buyback program on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to buyback $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the retailer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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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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