Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report published on Friday, July 14th, Marketbeat Ratings reports. They currently have $84.00 price objective on the retailer’s stock, up from their previous price objective of $78.00.

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $82.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. Vetr upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $79.40 price target for the company in a research note on Monday, May 15th. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a sell rating and issued a $67.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, May 2nd. BMO Capital Markets upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from an underperform rating to a market perform rating and lifted their price target for the stock from $63.00 to $80.00 in a research note on Friday, May 19th. Finally, KeyCorp reiterated an overweight rating and issued a $90.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, April 19th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the stock. Wal-Mart Stores currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $78.86.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) traded up 0.38% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $81.59. 7,380,620 shares of the stock traded hands. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12-month low of $65.28 and a 12-month high of $81.86. The company’s 50-day moving average is $76.65 and its 200 day moving average is $73.67. The firm has a market cap of $245.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.53 and a beta of 0.29. Wal-Mart Stores also was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Traders bought 5,107 put options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 351% compared to the average daily volume of 1,132 put options.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 18th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.96 by $0.04. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.79% and a return on equity of 16.96%. The company had revenue of $116.53 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $117.01 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.98 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 1.3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.36 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 3,278,735 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.00, for a total value of $259,020,065.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 10,507,224 shares in the company, valued at approximately $830,070,696. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, insider David Chojnowski sold 5,142 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.36, for a total transaction of $408,069.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 23,006,720 shares of company stock worth $1,816,131,604 over the last quarter. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Dodge & Cox purchased a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores during the fourth quarter valued at $1,503,922,000. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main purchased a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores during the fourth quarter valued at $274,739,000. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 161.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 3,297,419 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $237,678,000 after buying an additional 2,035,800 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 23.7% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 8,810,593 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $608,988,000 after buying an additional 1,689,794 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Karp Capital Management Corp purchased a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores during the first quarter valued at $111,777,000. 30.09% of the stock is 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 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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