Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Thursday. The firm currently has a $86.00 target price on the retailer’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective points to a potential upside of 9.00% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Wal-Mart have outperformed the Retail-Supermarkets industry in the last one year, primarily owing to sturdy earnings history. We note that the company continues to gain from its robust strategies such as price-matching initiative and expanding e-commerce business. Also, its acquisition of four e-commerce businesses since the Jet.com acquisition is in-line with the company’s efforts to grow its online activities. Recently, Wal-Mart extended its partnership with JD.com to integrate the platforms, supply chains and customer resources in China. Furthermore, it is benefiting from the booming online grocery shopping and delivery industry by expanding its business offerings. Notably, it posted positive comps at the U.S. segment for 11 successive quarters now. However, unfavorable currency, soft international revenues and stiff competition pose concerns. Nonetheless, estimates have been stable ahead of the second-quarter earnings.”

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. 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 report on Monday, May 15th. Royal Bank Of Canada restated a “sell” rating and set a $67.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Tuesday, May 2nd. BMO Capital Markets upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $63.00 to $80.00 in a report on Friday, May 19th. KeyCorp restated an “overweight” rating and set a $90.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. Finally, Cowen and Company reiterated an “outperform” rating and issued a $86.00 target price (up from $83.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Monday, June 5th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $78.46.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) traded up 0.44% during trading on Thursday, reaching $79.25. 2,067,382 shares of the company traded hands. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12 month low of $65.28 and a 12 month high of $80.47. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $76.46 and a 200-day moving average price of $73.13. The firm has a market capitalization of $238.90 billion, a PE ratio of 18.00 and a beta of 0.28. Wal-Mart Stores also was the target of unusually large options trading activity on Monday. Traders bought 5,107 put options on the stock. This represents an increase of 351% compared to the average daily volume of 1,132 put options.

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

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In other Wal-Mart Stores news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,576,324 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.65, for a total value of $202,627,882.60. Following the sale, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $530,775,817. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider David Chojnowski sold 5,142 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 19th. The shares were 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 in the last three months. Insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of WMT. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% in the first 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 in the last quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.7% in the first quarter. Asset Planning Services Ltd. now owns 1,511 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 11 shares in the last quarter. High Point Bank & Trust Co. increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 71.9% in the fourth quarter. High Point Bank & Trust Co. now owns 1,960 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 820 shares in the last quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 75.2% in the first quarter. SRS Capital Advisors Inc. now owns 2,099 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $151,000 after buying an additional 901 shares in the last quarter. Finally, WealthTrust Arizona LLC increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.2% in the second quarter. WealthTrust Arizona LLC now owns 2,135 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $162,000 after buying an additional 26 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 30.16% 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.

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

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