Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Monday morning. They currently have $112.00 target price on the retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Walmart has surpassed the industry over a year, courtesy of its solid earnings and comps record. The company has been gaining from constant e-commerce initiatives, like buyouts, alliances, and improved delivery systems. These trends, along with solid traffic drove Walmart’s third-quarter fiscal 2018 performance, wherein both earnings and revenues rose year over year and beat estimates. Notably, this marked Walmart’s ninth and 13th straight quarter of positive earnings surprise and U.S. comps growth, respectively. Results were driven by strong e-commerce sales, which were majorly fuelled by Walmart’s online grocery services. Also, the company’s international performance gained from strength in food categories. All these factors encouraged management to raise its view. However, stiff competition from brick and mortar and online retailers remains a concern. Also, macroeconomic woes like volatile consumer spending poses threats.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) set a $84.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, July 26th. Bank of America Corporation set a $100.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. KeyCorp set a $100.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Robert W. Baird set a $90.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada set a $74.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a sell rating in a report on Monday, July 24th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $92.38.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE WMT) opened at $96.41 on Monday. 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 has a 12-month low of $65.28 and a 12-month high of $100.13. The firm has a market capitalization of $288,000.00, a P/E ratio of 22.26, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.60 and a beta of 0.34.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.92% and a net margin of 2.31%. The firm had revenue of $122.14 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $120.23 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.98 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts forecast that Wal-Mart Stores will post 4.43 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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Wal-Mart Stores declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, October 10th that permits the company to repurchase $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the retailer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Wal-Mart Stores news, insider Jeffrey J. Gearhart sold 9,216 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.96, for a total value of $727,695.36. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 621,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.28, for a total value of $48,651,020.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at $528,278,842.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 11,856,436 shares of company stock worth $1,008,696,039 over the last three months. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $139,000 after purchasing an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC raised its stake in shares of 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. Sterneck Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of 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. LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the second quarter. LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC now owns 7,843 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $594,000 after buying an additional 24 shares during the period. Finally, Edgemoor Investment Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the second quarter. Edgemoor Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 7,654 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $579,000 after buying an additional 24 shares during the period. 30.22% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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