Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) saw a large decrease in short interest in the month of May. As of May 31st, there was short interest totalling 32,330,406 shares, a decrease of 12.3% from the May 15th total of 36,879,679 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 9,722,780 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 3.3 days. Currently, 2.2% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Several research analysts have weighed in on the stock. Sanford C. Bernstein reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Saturday, May 13th. Vetr upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $90.92 price objective on the stock in a research note on Thursday. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Sunday, June 11th. MKM Partners set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, February 18th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $88.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating, eleven have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $78.80.

In other news, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 3,278,735 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.00, for a total transaction of $259,020,065.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 10,507,224 shares in the company, valued at $830,070,696. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,576,324 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.65, for a total transaction of $202,627,882.60. Following the sale, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $530,775,817. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 22,980,991 shares of company stock valued at $1,814,159,476. Company insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. purchased a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores during the third quarter worth approximately $104,000. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC raised its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% in the first quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 1,476 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 696 shares during the last quarter. Glassman Wealth Services raised its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 68.3% in the first quarter. Glassman Wealth Services now owns 1,471 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 597 shares during the last quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. raised its position in shares of 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 last quarter. Finally, Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC raised its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 6,777.8% in the fourth quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 114,171 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $114,000 after buying an additional 112,511 shares during the last quarter. 30.15% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE WMT) opened at 75.24 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $226.81 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.08 and a beta of 0.30. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $77.60 and its 200-day moving average price is $72.06. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12 month low of $65.28 and a 12 month high of $80.47.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its earnings results on Thursday, May 18th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the 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 firm had revenue of $116.53 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $117.01 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.98 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.36 earnings per share for the current year.

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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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