Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Estimates have been revised downward as Wal-Mart’s third quarter fiscal 2017 top-line marginally fell short of expectations after surpassing the same in the preceding two quarters.  Though total revenues increased slightly, earnings per share declined year over year but came within the company’s guided range. The company has narrowed its fiscal 2017 guidance to reflect the impact of the gain from the sale of Yihaodian in China. Decline in international revenues has been a major concern for Wal-Mart for quite some time now. Moreover, stiff competition from both brick & mortar and online retailers, and foreign currency headwinds pose as concerns. Nevertheless, Wal-Mart is aggressively expanding its E-commerce platform, foraying into new markets, expanding product assortments and implementing innovative ways to drive traffic.”

Several other brokerages have also recently commented on WMT. Nomura set a $81.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, August 19th. Morgan Stanley set a $76.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, August 19th. Royal Bank Of Canada upped their target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $73.00 to $76.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a research report on Friday, August 19th. Telsey Advisory Group upped their target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $71.00 to $78.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research report on Friday, August 19th. Finally, Buckingham Research reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Thursday, August 18th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $74.96.

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

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) opened at 70.43 on Tuesday. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12-month low of $58.60 and a 12-month high of $75.19. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $69.76 and a 200-day moving average price of $71.32. The stock has a market cap of $217.56 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.28 and a beta of 0.10.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 17th. The retailer reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.96 by $0.02. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.98% and a return on equity of 17.71%. The firm earned $118.20 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $118.69 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.03 EPS. Wal-Mart Stores’s revenue was up .5% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.34 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other Wal-Mart Stores news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,100,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.44, for a total value of $150,024,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $482,118,555.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO C Douglas Mcmillon sold 75,063 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $69.08, for a total transaction of $5,185,352.04. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 51.55% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Piershale Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the third quarter. Piershale Financial Group Inc. now owns 1,612 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 5 shares in the last quarter. Vantage Investment Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the third quarter. Vantage Investment Advisors LLC now owns 2,118 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $153,000 after buying an additional 8 shares in the last quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the second quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC now owns 2,902 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $212,000 after buying an additional 11 shares in the last quarter. WealthTrust Arizona LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.5% in the third quarter. WealthTrust Arizona LLC now owns 2,549 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $184,000 after buying an additional 13 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Wellington Shields & Co. LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the third quarter. Wellington Shields & Co. LLC now owns 3,646 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $263,000 after buying an additional 15 shares in the last quarter. 28.67% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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