Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was upgraded by equities researchers at Vetr from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Monday. The firm currently has a $87.80 price objective on the retailer’s stock. Vetr‘s price target suggests a potential upside of 0.98% from the company’s previous close.

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on WMT. Susquehanna Bancshares Inc reaffirmed a “positive” rating and set a $99.00 price target (up previously from $93.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Monday, October 16th. BMO Capital Markets set a $91.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $96.00 price target on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The) reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $91.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $85.00 price target (up previously from $79.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eighteen have assigned a hold rating, fifteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $85.58.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) traded down 1.38% during trading on Monday, reaching $86.95. The company had a trading volume of 7,051,993 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $259.74 billion, a PE ratio of 20.89 and a beta of 0.29. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $82.57 and a 200-day moving average price of $78.86. Wal-Mart Stores has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $89.11.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ 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 firm had revenue of $123.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $121.86 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.07 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.37 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Tuesday, October 10th that allows the company to buyback $20.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the retailer to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

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In related news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,586 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred 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 completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 21,125 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,668,875. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 621,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.28, for a total transaction of $48,651,020.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $528,278,842.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock valued at $785,676,492. Company insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMT. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 105,673,654 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $7,997,381,000 after acquiring an additional 440,343 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.2% during the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 73,568,236 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $5,303,013,000 after acquiring an additional 854,010 shares during the period. FMR LLC raised its holdings 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 valued at $1,360,906,000 after acquiring an additional 5,608,785 shares during the period. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 4.1% during the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 14,579,702 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,103,426,000 after acquiring an additional 580,373 shares during the period. Finally, American Century Companies Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.6% during the first quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 10,040,766 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $723,738,000 after acquiring an additional 256,833 shares during the period. 30.18% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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.

To view Vetr’s full report, visit Vetr’s official website.

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

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