Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) had its target price boosted by investment analysts at Citigroup Inc. from $78.00 to $80.00 in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has a “neutral” rating on the retailer’s stock. Citigroup Inc.’s price objective indicates a potential downside of 0.87% from the company’s previous close.

A number of other brokerages also recently commented 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 report on Friday, August 4th. MKM Partners reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday. 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 report on Friday. Jefferies Group LLC set a $88.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Friday. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have issued a hold rating, fifteen have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $79.83.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE WMT) traded up 0.38% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $81.01. 859,225 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $77.61 and a 200 day moving average price of $74.35. The company has a market cap of $244.20 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.39 and a beta of 0.29. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52 week low of $65.28 and a 52 week high of $81.99.

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, beating the consensus estimate 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 firm had revenue of $116.53 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $117.01 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.98 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 1.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.36 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,576,324 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.65, for a total transaction of $202,627,882.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $530,775,817. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider David Cheesewright sold 25,729 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $76.65, for a total transaction of $1,972,127.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 23,006,720 shares of company stock valued at $1,816,131,604. 51.39% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Lowe FS boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.6% in the third quarter. Lowe FS now owns 314 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $20,000 after buying an additional 2 shares in the last quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 1,270.0% in the second quarter. Vigilant Capital Management LLC now owns 1,370 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 1,270 shares in the last quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management bought a new position in Wal-Mart Stores during the second quarter worth about $100,000. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. bought a new position in Wal-Mart Stores during the third quarter worth about $104,000. Finally, Winfield Associates Inc. boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% in the second quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 30.00% 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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