Walmart (WMT) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Walmart, which recently emerged as an omni-channel retailer officially, has been riding on constant growth efforts – both in stores and online. The company’s robust e-commerce initiatives, like buyouts, alliances, online grocery and improved delivery systems have been working well. These trends helped Walmart surpass the industry in a year and post its 14th straight quarter of U.S. comps growth in fourth-quarter fiscal 2018, wherein earnings and sales rose year over year. However, gross margin remained pressurized owing to mix impact from growing e-commerce operations, price investments and higher markdowns. Also, the rate of e-commerce growth slowed down sequentially, as Jet.com’s buyout was already factored in last year. Nonetheless, management expects U.S. e-commerce sales to jump nearly 40% in fiscal 2019. Also, we expect these drivers and expected gains from tax reforms to fuel bottom line.”

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WMT has been the subject of several other reports. Wells Fargo & Co set a $101.00 target price on shares of Walmart and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 27th. Jefferies Group set a $105.00 price target on Walmart and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, November 14th. Vetr raised Walmart from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $110.28 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, February 20th. Goldman Sachs Group reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $113.00 price target on shares of Walmart in a report on Friday, February 16th. Finally, Barclays set a $100.00 price target on Walmart and gave the company a buy rating in a report on Monday, November 13th. Nineteen research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, thirteen have issued a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company. Walmart presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $102.40.

Walmart (WMT) opened at $88.72 on Tuesday. Walmart has a 52 week low of $69.33 and a 52 week high of $109.98. The company has a quick ratio of 0.20, a current ratio of 0.76 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46. The firm has a market cap of $265,210.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 27.73, a P/E/G ratio of 3.10 and a beta of 0.57.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The retailer reported $1.33 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.37 by ($0.04). Walmart had a net margin of 1.97% and a return on equity of 16.85%. The firm had revenue of $135.15 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $133.63 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.30 earnings per share. Walmart’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Walmart will post 4.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 2nd. Investors of record on Friday, December 7th will be paid a $0.52 dividend. This represents a $2.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.34%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 6th. Walmart’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 63.75%.

In related news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 2,065 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.99, for a total value of $200,284.35. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 19,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,848,629.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 51.39% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Pacer Advisors Inc. grew its position in Walmart by 3.9% in the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 57,535 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $4,354,000 after acquiring an additional 2,174 shares during the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC grew its position in Walmart by 100.2% in the second quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 2,646,589 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $200,294,000 after acquiring an additional 1,324,722 shares during the last quarter. Buckingham Asset Management LLC grew its position in Walmart by 98.2% in the second quarter. Buckingham Asset Management LLC now owns 26,747 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $2,024,000 after acquiring an additional 13,255 shares during the last quarter. Private Harbour Investment Management & Counsel LLC grew its position in Walmart by 1.3% in the second quarter. Private Harbour Investment Management & Counsel LLC now owns 18,992 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,437,000 after acquiring an additional 250 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC grew its position in Walmart by 0.4% in the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $139,000 after acquiring an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. 30.03% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Walmart Company Profile

Walmart Inc, formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units in various formats around the world. The Company offers an assortment of merchandise and services at everyday low prices (EDLP). The Company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club.

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