Covington Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 4.6% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 13,930 shares of the retailer’s stock after purchasing an additional 610 shares during the period. Covington Investment Advisors Inc.’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $1,054,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Hudock Capital Group LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $139,000 after purchasing an additional 7 shares in the last quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC now owns 2,965 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $224,000 after purchasing an additional 10 shares in the last quarter. Wellington Shields & Co. LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the 1st quarter. Wellington Shields & Co. LLC now owns 3,661 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $264,000 after purchasing an additional 15 shares in the last quarter. Sterneck Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the 1st quarter. Sterneck Capital Management LLC now owns 6,588 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $475,000 after purchasing an additional 22 shares in the last quarter. Finally, LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC now owns 7,843 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $594,000 after purchasing an additional 24 shares in the last quarter. 30.15% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the company. UBS AG set a $91.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday. Royal Bank of Canada set a $83.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $95.00 price objective (up from $90.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Thursday. Morgan Stanley set a $90.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 31st. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $86.65.

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In other news, Director S Robson Walton sold 129,628 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.44, for a total transaction of $10,427,276.32. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 3,344,956 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $269,068,260.64. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 474,042 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.04, for a total value of $37,942,321.68. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 10,048,580 shares in the company, valued at $804,288,343.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock worth $785,676,492. Corporate insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE WMT) opened at $90.92 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51, a current ratio of 0.78 and a quick ratio of 0.18. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $91.69. The company has a market capitalization of $269,744.38, a PE ratio of 20.71, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.37 and a beta of 0.34.

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

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback program on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to buyback $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the retailer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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

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