Wal-Mart Stores’ (WMT) “Equal Weight” Rating Reaffirmed at Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley reaffirmed their equal weight rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) in a research note released on Tuesday morning. Morgan Stanley currently has a $100.00 price objective on the retailer’s stock, up from their prior price objective of $92.00.

A number of other brokerages have also recently issued reports on WMT. Moffett Nathanson initiated coverage on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Monday, December 4th. They issued a neutral rating for the company. Royal Bank of Canada raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from an underperform rating to a sector perform rating and set a $96.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday, November 29th. Vetr raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a sell rating to a hold rating and set a $96.71 price objective for the company in a research note on Monday, November 27th. Cowen reissued a buy rating and issued a $110.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, November 22nd. Finally, Barclays reissued a buy rating and issued a $110.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have assigned a hold rating, fourteen have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $92.96.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE WMT) opened at $96.70 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a current ratio of 0.81 and a quick ratio of 0.19. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $100.13. The firm has a market cap of $287,143.69, a P/E ratio of 22.13, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.57 and a beta of 0.37.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.31% and a return on equity of 16.92%. The business had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $120.23 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.98 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores will post 4.43 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Wal-Mart Stores declared that its board has approved a stock buyback 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. Stock buyback plans are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,586 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.00, for a total value of $125,294.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 21,125 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,668,875. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, SVP David Chojnowski sold 684 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.29, for a total transaction of $67,914.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 14,419,109 shares of company stock valued at $1,366,198,547 in the last quarter. 51.39% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Cutter & CO Brokerage Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.5% in the 2nd quarter. Cutter & CO Brokerage Inc. now owns 8,067 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $611,000 after acquiring an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 23.1% in the 2nd quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 2,095,792 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $158,610,000 after acquiring an additional 393,180 shares during the last quarter. Berkshire Asset Management LLC PA lifted its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Berkshire Asset Management LLC PA now owns 138,747 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $10,500,000 after buying an additional 1,994 shares in the last quarter. Numeric Investors LLC lifted its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 31.2% during the 2nd quarter. Numeric Investors LLC now owns 1,179,674 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $89,278,000 after buying an additional 280,430 shares in the last quarter. Finally, R. G. Niederhoffer Capital Management Inc. bought a new stake in Wal-Mart Stores during the 2nd quarter valued at about $363,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 30.65% of the company’s stock.

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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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