Smith Chas P & Associates PA Cpas boosted its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 8.5% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 228,771 shares of the retailer’s stock after buying an additional 17,896 shares during the period. Wal-Mart Stores makes up approximately 2.5% of Smith Chas P & Associates PA Cpas’ investment portfolio, making the stock its 23rd largest position. Smith Chas P & Associates PA Cpas’ holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $16,490,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other large investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the stock. State Street Corp increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 2.8% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 72,714,226 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $5,026,451,000 after buying an additional 2,011,829 shares during the last quarter. Dodge & Cox purchased a new stake in Wal-Mart Stores during the fourth quarter valued at $1,503,922,000. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 35.2% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 11,407,831 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $788,532,000 after buying an additional 2,969,581 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 23.7% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 8,810,593 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $608,988,000 after buying an additional 1,689,794 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Fisher Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.2% in the first quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 5,308,983 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $382,672,000 after buying an additional 165,474 shares during the last quarter. 30.15% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE WMT) opened at 75.24 on Friday. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $77.60 and a 200-day moving average price of $72.06. The company has a market capitalization of $226.81 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.08 and a beta of 0.30. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a one year low of $65.28 and a one year high of $80.47. Wal-Mart Stores also saw unusually large options trading on Friday. Investors bought 9,731 call options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 278% compared to the average daily volume of 2,572 call options.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 18th. The retailer reported $1.00 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.04. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.96% and a net margin of 2.79%. The company had revenue of $116.53 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $117.01 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.98 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will post $4.36 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on the company. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $68.00 price target on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, February 23rd. Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Sunday, June 4th. Vetr raised Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $79.40 price target for the company in a report on Monday, May 15th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $74.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Monday, May 15th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Wal-Mart Stores from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, March 21st. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have given a hold rating, eleven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $78.80.

In other news, Director S Robson Walton sold 3,000,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.25, for a total value of $237,750,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 3,344,956 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $265,087,763. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,322 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.75, for a total value of $104,107.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 23,854 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,878,502.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 22,980,991 shares of company stock valued at $1,814,159,476 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

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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