Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Saturday.
According to Zacks, “Wal-Mart Stores, which recently announced plans to drop the “hyphen” and “stores” from its name to officially emerge as an omnichannel retailer, has surpassed the industry in a year. The company has been riding on its robust past record, which derives strength from constant e-commerce initiatives, like buyouts, alliances, surging grocery business and improved delivery systems. Thanks to these trends, along with solid traffic, Walmart’s third-quarter fiscal 2018 marked its ninth and 13th straight quarter of positive earnings surprise and comps growth, respectively. Also, the company’s international business remains a growth driver. However, costs associated with technological and e-commerce investments; mix impact from growing e-commerce operations and a compelling pricing strategy have been hurting Walmart’s gross margin for a while now. Stiff competition and volatile consumer spending also pose threats.”
A number of other analysts have also recently commented on WMT. Robert W. Baird set a $110.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 2nd. Royal Bank of Canada set a $106.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday. Vetr raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $96.71 price target on the stock in a research report on Monday, November 27th. UBS Group set a $100.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Thursday. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Sunday, December 31st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty have given a hold rating, fourteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $96.81.
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) traded up $1.48 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $101.61. The company had a trading volume of 8,277,400 shares, compared to its average volume of 8,510,000. The firm has a market capitalization of $301,010.00, a P/E ratio of 27.02, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.69 and a beta of 0.37. Wal-Mart Stores has a 1-year low of $65.28 and a 1-year high of $101.75. The company has a quick ratio of 0.19, a current ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52.
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. The business had revenue of $122.14 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $120.23 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.92% and a net margin of 2.31%. Wal-Mart Stores’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.98 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post 4.43 earnings per share for the current year.
Wal-Mart Stores declared that its board has initiated a share buyback program on Tuesday, October 10th that authorizes the company to buyback $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the retailer to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.
In other news, Director S Robson Walton sold 826,617 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.39, for a total transaction of $79,677,612.63. Following the transaction, the director now owns 3,345,065 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $322,430,815.35. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP David Chojnowski sold 684 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.29, for a total transaction of $67,914.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 12,419,588 shares of company stock worth $1,207,333,538 in the last three months. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.
Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Winfield Associates Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% in the 2nd quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $104,000 after acquiring an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% in the 2nd quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 1,429 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $108,000 after acquiring an additional 45 shares during the last quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% in the 2nd quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,526 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $115,000 after acquiring an additional 1,252 shares during the last quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $139,000 after acquiring an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 124.2% in the 2nd quarter. Kistler Tiffany Companies LLC now owns 1,910 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $145,000 after acquiring an additional 1,058 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 30.58% of the company’s stock.
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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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