Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) have been assigned an average recommendation of “Hold” from the thirty brokerages that are presently covering the stock. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, seventeen have given a hold recommendation, nine have issued a buy recommendation and one has assigned a strong buy recommendation to the company. The average 12-month target price among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $75.84.

A number of analysts recently weighed in on WMT shares. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $85.00 target price (up previously from $82.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $77.00 target price (up previously from $68.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, August 2nd. Morgan Stanley set a $73.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Vetr cut shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $76.24 target price on the stock. in a research note on Monday, August 8th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set a $71.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, August 15th.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) traded down 3.68% on Thursday, reaching $68.76. 16,926,107 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $69.80 and its 200 day moving average price is $71.11. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52-week low of $58.32 and a 52-week high of $75.19. The firm has a market capitalization of $212.69 billion, a PE ratio of 14.80 and a beta of 0.10.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, November 17th. The retailer reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $118.20 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $117.86 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 3.04% and a return on equity of 17.93%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.99 earnings per share. On average, analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 3,502,398 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $73.02, for a total value of $255,745,101.96. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 10,507,127 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $767,230,413.54. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 3,504,756 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.37, for a total transaction of $250,134,435.72. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $481,646,154.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 51.55% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMT. Vigilant Capital Management LLC increased its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 1,270.0% in the second quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,370 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 1,270 shares during the period. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management acquired a new position in Wal-Mart Stores during the second quarter worth $100,000. Americafirst Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Wal-Mart Stores during the second quarter worth $106,000. BKS Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Wal-Mart Stores during the third quarter worth $110,000. Finally, Seven Eight Capital LLC acquired a new position in Wal-Mart Stores during the second quarter worth $111,000. 29.96% 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 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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