Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) to Hold

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Walmart, which recently dropped the “hyphen” and “stores” from its name to officially emerge as an omnichannel retailer, has surpassed the industry in a year. The company has been riding on its robust past record, which derives strength from constant e-commerce initiatives, like buyouts, alliances, surging grocery business and improved delivery systems. Thanks to these trends, along with solid traffic, Walmart’s third-quarter fiscal 2018 marked its ninth and 13th straight quarter of positive earnings surprise and comps growth, respectively. Also, the company’s international business remains a growth driver. However, costs associated with technological and e-commerce investments; mix impact from growing e-commerce operations and a compelling pricing strategy have been hurting Walmart’s gross margin for a while now. Stiff competition and volatile consumer spending also pose threats.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on the company. Citigroup upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $106.00 to $117.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Goldman Sachs Group raised Wal-Mart Stores from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, January 18th. Wells Fargo & Co set a $101.00 price target on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 27th. Wolfe Research raised Wal-Mart Stores from an “underperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, December 20th. Finally, Deutsche Bank set a $88.00 price target on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, November 16th. Seventeen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $100.30.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE WMT) opened at $101.70 on Tuesday. Wal-Mart Stores has a 12 month low of $67.76 and a 12 month high of $109.98. The firm has a market capitalization of $301,270.00, a P/E ratio of 27.05, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.56 and a beta of 0.42. The company has a quick ratio of 0.19, a current ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.92% and a net margin of 2.31%. The company had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $120.23 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.98 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores will post 4.44 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Wal-Mart Stores news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 2,065 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.99, for a total transaction of $200,284.35. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 19,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,848,629.40. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 826,617 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $96.39, for a total value of $79,677,612.63. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 3,345,065 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $322,430,815.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 12,419,588 shares of company stock valued at $1,207,333,538 in the last three months. 51.39% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Pinnacle Wealth Planning Services Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores in the fourth quarter valued at $105,000. Lenox Wealth Advisors Inc. grew its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 13,287.5% in the fourth quarter. Lenox Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 1,071 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $106,000 after purchasing an additional 1,063 shares during the period. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. grew its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% in the second quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,526 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $115,000 after purchasing an additional 1,252 shares during the period. Cerebellum GP LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores in the fourth quarter valued at $127,000. Finally, G&S Capital LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores in the fourth quarter valued at $128,000. 30.45% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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.

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

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