Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) had its price objective increased by analysts at Jefferies Group LLC from $93.00 to $97.00 in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a “buy” rating on the retailer’s stock. Jefferies Group LLC’s price objective points to a potential upside of 12.66% from the company’s current price. Jefferies Group also issued estimates for Wal-Mart Stores’ Q3 2018 earnings at $0.96 EPS, FY2018 earnings at $4.45 EPS and FY2021 earnings at $6.20 EPS.

Several other research firms have also issued reports on WMT. Royal Bank Of Canada set a $76.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, August 4th. Citigroup Inc. lifted 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 note on Tuesday, August 15th. MKM Partners reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, August 15th. Stephens raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $78.00 to $91.00 in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have issued a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $83.11.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) opened at 86.10 on Wednesday. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $79.80 and a 200 day moving average price of $77.45. The firm has a market capitalization of $257.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.69 and a beta of 0.29. Wal-Mart Stores has a one year low of $65.28 and a one year high of $86.37.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate 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 analyst estimates of $121.86 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.07 EPS. Wal-Mart Stores’s quarterly revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock buyback program on Tuesday, October 10th that permits the company to buyback $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the retailer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

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In other Wal-Mart Stores news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,586 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.00, for a total transaction of $125,294.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 21,125 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,668,875. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 646,330 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.20, for a total transaction of $51,835,666.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 3,344,956 shares in the company, valued at $268,265,471.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock worth $785,676,492 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in WMT. FMR LLC lifted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 45.3% during the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 17,982,372 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $1,360,906,000 after purchasing an additional 5,608,785 shares in the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board lifted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 161.4% during the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 3,297,419 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $237,678,000 after purchasing an additional 2,035,800 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 42.6% during the second quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 5,745,493 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $434,819,000 after purchasing an additional 1,716,422 shares in the last quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC lifted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 52.9% during the second quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 4,883,390 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $369,565,000 after purchasing an additional 1,689,364 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Karp Capital Management Corp acquired a new position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores during the first quarter worth approximately $111,777,000. Institutional investors own 30.19% of the company’s stock.

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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