Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have been declining since past 30 days period after Wal-Mart reported its second quarter fiscal 2017 results.  While both earnings and revenues exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate, unfavorable currency and higher investments in wages and e-commerce activities took a toll on the company’s results. Encouragingly, Wal-Mart is focused on its building its e-commerce capabilities, as evidenced by its recent deal with JD.com in China and Jet.com acquisition in the U.S. The company has also raised its earnings guidance to reflect the Jet.com acquisition. However, huge investments in e-commerce initiatives and higher wages to its workers and training them are increasing the expense burden. The recent move to raise the minimum salary for entry-level store managers will also add to the costs. This along with unfavorable currency will remain headwinds.”

Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. BMO Capital Markets dropped their price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $67.00 to $63.00 and set an underperform rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, October 11th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 11th. Barclays PLC set a $82.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a buy rating in a research note on Monday, October 10th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $72.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Monday, October 10th. Finally, RBC Capital Markets reiterated an underperform rating and issued a $75.00 price objective (down previously from $76.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Saturday, October 8th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $75.38.

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

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) traded up 0.01% during trading on Tuesday, reaching $68.88. 1,415,310 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12 month low of $56.30 and a 12 month high of $75.19. The company has a market cap of $213.06 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.83 and a beta of 0.20. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $71.00 and its 200 day moving average is $70.96.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, August 18th. The retailer reported $1.07 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.02 by $0.05. The company earned $120.90 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $119.33 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 3.04% and a return on equity of 17.93%. Wal-Mart Stores’s quarterly revenue was up .5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.08 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.34 EPS for the current year.

In other Wal-Mart Stores news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 3,142,846 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.41, for a total transaction of $227,573,478.86. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at $488,664,677.80. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 3,502,398 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $73.02, for a total transaction of $255,745,101.96. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 10,507,127 shares in the company, valued at $767,230,413.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 51.55% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. First Quadrant L P CA boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.0% in the third quarter. First Quadrant L P CA now owns 636,347 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $45,893,000 after buying an additional 6,219 shares during the last quarter. Trust Co. of Virginia VA boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.0% in the third quarter. Trust Co. of Virginia VA now owns 10,541 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $760,000 after buying an additional 101 shares during the last quarter. Somerset Trust Co boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 3.6% in the third quarter. Somerset Trust Co now owns 17,120 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $1,235,000 after buying an additional 590 shares during the last quarter. Lodestar Investment Counsel LLC IL boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.1% in the third quarter. Lodestar Investment Counsel LLC IL now owns 120,828 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $8,714,000 after buying an additional 2,445 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Piershale Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the third quarter. Piershale Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,612 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $116,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 29.56% of the company’s stock.

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 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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:WMT

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