Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Walmart’s both earnings and revenues exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate in second-quarter fiscal 2018. The company has also raised the lower end of its fiscal 2018 earnings guidance. Notably, share price of Walmart has been outperforming the industry for the last six months. Encouragingly, the company is making efforts to boost sales and remains focused on building its e-Commerce capabilities and foraying into new markets through acquisitions. The company has posted positive comps at Walmart U.S. for 12 successive quarters. Further, the company’s acquisition of four e-Commerce businesses since the Jet.com acquisition is in line with its efforts to grow online activities. However, the company remains concerned due to currency headwinds, decline in international revenues, stiff competition from both brick and mortar and online retailers and huge investments in e-Commerce activities leading to margin pressure.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on WMT. MKM Partners restated a “neutral” rating and set a $77.00 price target (up from $72.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, April 26th. Pacific Crest downgraded Wal-Mart Stores to a “hold” rating in a research report on Sunday, April 30th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $67.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, May 2nd. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $74.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Friday, May 5th. Finally, Vetr downgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $79.40 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday, May 8th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have assigned a hold rating, fourteen have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $80.25.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) traded down 0.08% during midday trading on Monday, reaching $79.25. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 951,869 shares. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12-month low of $65.28 and a 12-month high of $81.99. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $78.09 and its 200 day moving average is $74.64. The stock has a market cap of $238.38 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.04 and a beta of 0.29.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $123.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $121.86 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.87% and a net margin of 2.60%. The firm’s revenue was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.07 earnings per share. Analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.38 earnings per share for the current year.

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In other news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 1,157,500 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction on Friday, May 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.06, for a total transaction of $90,354,450.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $526,794,154.80. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider David Cheesewright sold 25,729 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction on Wednesday, June 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $76.65, for a total value of $1,972,127.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 21,680,238 shares of company stock worth $1,711,852,997. 51.39% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of WMT. Hudock Capital Group LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the second 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. Gemmer Asset Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the second quarter. Gemmer Asset Management LLC now owns 2,965 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $224,000 after buying an additional 10 shares during the period. Asset Planning Services Ltd. boosted its position 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 during the period. Wellington Shields & Co. LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the first quarter. Wellington Shields & Co. LLC now owns 3,661 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $264,000 after buying an additional 15 shares during the period. Finally, Alexandria Capital LLC boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.9% in the first quarter. Alexandria Capital LLC now owns 2,513 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $181,000 after buying an additional 22 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 30.00% of the company’s stock.

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

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