Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) have been given an average rating of “Hold” by the thirty-eight research firms that are presently covering the stock, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, nineteen have given a hold recommendation, fourteen have given a buy recommendation and one has given a strong buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month target price among brokerages that have covered the stock in the last year is $81.13.

Several analysts have commented on WMT shares. Wells Fargo & Company restated a “hold” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Sunday, June 4th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Morningstar, Inc. restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Vetr downgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $64.26 target price on the stock. in a report on Monday, July 17th. Finally, Citigroup Inc. raised their target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $78.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 15th.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) traded down 0.60% on Wednesday, reaching $79.53. 5,755,262 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm has a market cap of $237.57 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.11 and a beta of 0.30. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $79.87 and its 200 day moving average is $76.28. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $81.99.

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

In other Wal-Mart Stores news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 621,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.28, for a total transaction of $48,651,020.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $528,278,842.40. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider David Cheesewright sold 25,729 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.65, for a total value of $1,972,127.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 7,948,971 shares of company stock valued at $628,583,326. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. FMR LLC increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 45.3% in the second 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. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 161.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 3,297,419 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $237,678,000 after buying an additional 2,035,800 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P. increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 42.6% in the second 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 increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 52.9% in the second 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. Finally, Karp Capital Management Corp acquired a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores in the first quarter valued at approximately $111,777,000. 30.19% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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.

Analyst Recommendations for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

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