Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Share price of Wal-Mart has been outperforming the Zacks categorized Retail-Supermarkets industry since the past six months. Wal-Mart continues to impress investors with positive comps at Wal-Mart U.S. for 11 successive quarters. The impact of rising consumer spending was seen in improved traffic during the first-quarter fiscal 2018. Moreover, the company’s price-matching initiative has been bearing fruits. The company is also taking advantage of the booming online grocery shopping and delivery industry by expanding its business offerings. Wal-Mart’s e-commerce business development initiatives are also commendable. The company’s acquisition of four e-commerce businesses since the Jet.com acquisition is in-line with the company’s efforts to grow its online activities. However unfavorable currency, decline in international revenues and stiff competition  poses concerns for the company's performace.”

Several other research firms have also commented on WMT. Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research 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 on the stock in a research 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 research report on Monday, May 15th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an underperform rating and set a $63.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Friday, April 7th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein set a $75.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a neutral rating in a report on Monday, May 29th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have given a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Wal-Mart Stores has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $78.11.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE WMT) opened at 76.15 on Wednesday. The company has a 50-day moving average of $76.69 and a 200 day moving average of $72.87. Wal-Mart Stores has a one year low of $65.28 and a one year high of $80.47. The firm has a market cap of $229.55 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.29 and a beta of 0.28.

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

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In other news, Director S Robson Walton sold 1,321,340 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.61, for a total value of $103,870,537.40. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider David Cheesewright sold 25,729 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, June 28th. The shares were 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 quarter, insiders sold 23,006,720 shares of company stock valued at $1,816,131,604. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of WMT. Gemmer Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the second quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC now owns 2,965 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $224,000 after buying an additional 10 shares during the period. Asset Planning Services Ltd. raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.7% in the first quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. now owns 1,511 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the period. Wellington Shields & Co. LLC raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the first quarter. Wellington Shields & Co. LLC now owns 3,661 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $264,000 after buying an additional 15 shares during the period. Alexandria Capital LLC raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.9% in the first quarter. Alexandria Capital LLC now owns 2,513 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $181,000 after buying an additional 22 shares during the period. Finally, Sterneck Capital Management LLC raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the first quarter. Sterneck Capital Management LLC now owns 6,588 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $475,000 after buying an additional 22 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 30.15% 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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Analyst Recommendations for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

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