Van ECK Associates Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) by 5.2% during the 3rd quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 45,389 shares of the retailer’s stock after buying an additional 2,246 shares during the period. Van ECK Associates Corp’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $3,547,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in WMT. FMR LLC grew its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 45.3% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 17,982,372 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $1,360,906,000 after acquiring an additional 5,608,785 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. grew its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 42.6% in the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 5,745,493 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $434,819,000 after acquiring an additional 1,716,422 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC grew its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 52.9% in the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 4,883,390 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $369,565,000 after acquiring an additional 1,689,364 shares in the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC grew its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 100.2% in the 2nd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 2,646,589 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $200,294,000 after acquiring an additional 1,324,722 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. grew its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 128.7% in the 3rd quarter. Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. now owns 2,058,798 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $160,874,000 after acquiring an additional 1,158,519 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 30.53% of the company’s stock.

Several research firms have recently issued reports on WMT. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Sunday. Macquarie set a $85.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 18th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, January 18th. Stephens set a $117.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Finally, Vetr upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $104.38 price target for the company in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Nineteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $99.44.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) opened at $105.45 on Tuesday. Wal-Mart Stores Inc has a fifty-two week low of $65.28 and a fifty-two week high of $105.45. The stock has a market cap of $312,380.00, a PE ratio of 28.05, a PEG ratio of 4.14 and a beta of 0.37. 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 (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates 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 firm had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $120.23 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.98 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores Inc will post 4.44 EPS for the current year.

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, October 10th that authorizes the company to repurchase $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the retailer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,900,679 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $97.82, for a total value of $283,744,419.78. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $660,146,095.60. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 826,617 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.39, for a total transaction of $79,677,612.63. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 3,345,065 shares in the company, valued at $322,430,815.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 12,419,588 shares of company stock worth $1,207,333,538. Insiders own 51.39% 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

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