Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) shares gapped up before the market opened on Tuesday after Telsey Advisory Group raised their price target on the stock from $88.00 to $92.00. The stock had previously closed at $78.38, but opened at $80.53. Telsey Advisory Group currently has an outperform rating on the stock. Wal-Mart Stores shares last traded at $84.13, with a volume of 25,110,368 shares traded.

Several other brokerages have also recently weighed in on WMT. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Morningstar, Inc. restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Vetr downgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $64.26 price objective on the stock. in a research report on Monday, July 17th. Citigroup Inc. raised their price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores from $78.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 15th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG restated a “hold” rating and set a $81.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, June 13th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating, fourteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $82.91.

In other Wal-Mart Stores news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,586 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.00, for a total value of $125,294.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 21,125 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,668,875. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,000,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.47, for a total transaction of $158,940,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $536,309,652.60. 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. 51.39% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMT. Winfield Associates Inc. boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% in the 2nd quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 75 shares during the period. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% in the 1st quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 1,476 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $106,000 after buying an additional 696 shares during the period. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% in the 2nd quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 1,429 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $108,000 after buying an additional 45 shares during the period. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% in the 2nd quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,526 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 1,252 shares during the period. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the period. 30.19% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

The company has a market capitalization of $256.09 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.60 and a beta of 0.29. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $79.62 and its 200-day moving average is $77.38.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.07 by $0.01. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.60% and a return on equity of 16.87%. The business had revenue of $123.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $121.86 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.07 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will post $4.37 earnings per share for the current year.

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, October 10th that authorizes the company to buyback $20.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the retailer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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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 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.

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