Stifel Nicolaus Reiterates “Hold” Rating for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)‘s stock had its “hold” rating reiterated by equities researchers at Stifel Nicolaus in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. They presently have a $85.00 price target on the retailer’s stock, up from their prior price target of $79.00. Stifel Nicolaus’ target price indicates a potential downside of 1.28% from the stock’s current price.

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on WMT. J P Morgan Chase & Co reiterated a “neutral” rating and set a $84.00 price objective (up previously from $80.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Jefferies Group LLC lifted their price objective on Wal-Mart Stores from $93.00 to $97.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday. MKM Partners reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, August 15th. Cowen and Company set a $86.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, August 7th. Finally, KeyCorp set a $100.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have issued a hold rating, fifteen have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $83.11.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) opened at 86.10 on Wednesday. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12-month low of $65.28 and a 12-month high of $86.37. The stock has a market cap of $257.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.69 and a beta of 0.29. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $79.80 and its 200 day moving average price is $77.45.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ 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 firm had revenue of $123.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $121.86 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.07 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.37 earnings per share for the current year.

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

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In other news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 474,042 shares of the business’s 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 completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 10,048,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $804,288,343.20. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 696,363 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.73, for a total value of $54,824,658.99. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $531,315,703.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock valued at $785,676,492. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WMT. FMR LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 45.3% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 17,982,372 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,360,906,000 after purchasing an additional 5,608,785 shares during the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 161.4% in the 1st quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 3,297,419 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $237,678,000 after purchasing an additional 2,035,800 shares during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 42.6% in the 2nd quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 5,745,493 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $434,819,000 after purchasing an additional 1,716,422 shares during the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 52.9% in the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 4,883,390 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $369,565,000 after purchasing an additional 1,689,364 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Karp Capital Management Corp purchased a new stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores in the 1st quarter valued at about $111,777,000. 30.19% of the stock is 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.

Analyst Recommendations for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

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