Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) saw an uptick in trading volume on Friday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. 16,624,703 shares changed hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 88% from the previous session’s volume of 8,829,106 shares.The stock last traded at $97.20 and had previously closed at $99.62.

The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 1.55% and a return on equity of 9.20%. The company had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $120.23 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.98 earnings per share. Wal-Mart Stores’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis.

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to repurchase $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the retailer to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

WMT has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. set a $84.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 26th. Bank of America Corporation set a $100.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 10th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $88.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. KeyCorp set a $100.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 11th. Finally, Robert W. Baird set a $90.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating, fifteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Wal-Mart Stores has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $89.87.

In other news, Director S Robson Walton sold 2,117,863 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.45, for a total transaction of $166,146,352.35. Following the sale, the director now owns 3,344,956 shares in the company, valued at approximately $262,411,798.20. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,586 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on 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 owns 21,125 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,668,875. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock worth $785,676,492. Corporate insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Hudock Capital Group LLC raised 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 worth $139,000 after purchasing an additional 7 shares during the period. Gemmer Asset Management LLC raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC now owns 2,965 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $224,000 after purchasing an additional 10 shares during the period. Sterneck Capital Management LLC raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the 1st quarter. Sterneck Capital Management LLC now owns 6,588 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $475,000 after purchasing an additional 22 shares during the period. LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC now owns 7,843 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $594,000 after purchasing an additional 24 shares during the period. Finally, Edgemoor Investment Advisors Inc. raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Edgemoor Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 7,654 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $579,000 after purchasing an additional 24 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 30.12% of the company’s stock.

The firm has a market capitalization of $290,420.00, a PE ratio of 20.60, a PEG ratio of 3.35 and a beta of 0.34. The company has a current ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.18 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51.

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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.

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