Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) saw some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Stock traders purchased 5,107 put options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 351% compared to the typical volume of 1,132 put options.

Several brokerages recently commented on WMT. MKM Partners reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Tuesday, August 15th. Cowen and Company set a $86.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, August 7th. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $80.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, August 14th. BidaskClub upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $90.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Friday, August 18th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have issued a hold rating, fourteen have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $85.58.

In other news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 696,363 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.73, for a total value of $54,824,658.99. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $531,315,703.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 474,042 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.04, for a total value of $37,942,321.68. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 10,048,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $804,288,343.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock valued at $785,676,492 in the last ninety days. 51.39% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WMT. Winfield Associates Inc. increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% during the 2nd quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $104,000 after purchasing an additional 75 shares during the last quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC increased its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% in the 1st quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 1,476 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $106,000 after acquiring an additional 696 shares during the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC increased its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% in the 2nd quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 1,429 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $108,000 after acquiring an additional 45 shares during the last quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. increased its holdings in Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% in the 2nd quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,526 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $115,000 after acquiring an additional 1,252 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC increased its holdings 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 acquiring an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. 30.18% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) opened at $89.68 on Friday. The stock has a market cap of $265,263.56, a PE ratio of 20.37, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.43 and a beta of 0.34. The company has a quick ratio of 0.18, a current ratio of 0.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.01. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.87% and a net margin of 2.60%. The firm had revenue of $123.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $121.86 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.07 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores will post 4.39 EPS for the current year.

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its Board of Directors has initiated 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 often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

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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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