Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Wolfe Research from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.
WMT has been the subject of a number of other reports. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “market weight” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Thursday, September 14th. Jefferies Group set a $105.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 14th. Bank of America set a $100.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. J P Morgan Chase & Co reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $84.00 price objective (up from $80.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Barclays set a $100.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, November 13th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty have issued a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Wal-Mart Stores presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $95.78.
Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) opened at $98.06 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $290,490.00, a PE ratio of 22.56, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.64 and a beta of 0.37. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a quick ratio of 0.19 and a current ratio of 0.81. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52 week low of $65.28 and a 52 week high of $100.13.
Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Tuesday, October 10th that permits the company to buyback $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the retailer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.
In other news, SVP David Chojnowski sold 684 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.29, for a total transaction of $67,914.36. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,000,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.47, for a total value of $158,940,000.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at $536,309,652.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 14,421,174 shares of company stock worth $1,366,398,832 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. FMR LLC raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 45.3% during the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 17,982,372 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,360,906,000 after buying an additional 5,608,785 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 42.6% during the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 5,745,493 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $434,819,000 after buying an additional 1,716,422 shares during the period. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 52.9% during the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 4,883,390 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $369,565,000 after buying an additional 1,689,364 shares during the period. Neuberger Berman Group LLC raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 100.2% during the 2nd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 2,646,589 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $200,294,000 after buying an additional 1,324,722 shares during the period. Finally, Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. raised its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 128.7% during the 3rd quarter. Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. now owns 2,058,798 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $160,874,000 after buying an additional 1,158,519 shares during the period. 30.58% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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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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