Walmart (WMT) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $112.00 price target on the retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Walmart's shares have rallied in the past year, due to its focus on strengthening e-commerce and store operations. These factors helped the company retain its sturdy comps trend in fourth-quarter fiscal 2019, wherein top and bottom lines improved year over year and the latter marked its fourth consecutive beat. Notably, U.S. comps rose for the 18th straight time. Further, e-commerce sales surged on the back of strong Walmart.com and online grocery performances. Encouragingly, e-commerce sales are expected to rise nearly 35% in fiscal 2020. Walmart is also making efforts to improve its International unit by shifting focus to profitable countries. To this end, the company’s investment in Flipkart is however expected to dent the bottom line in fiscal 2020. Moreover, transportation costs and a compelling pricing strategy are threats to gross margin. Nonetheless, the Flipkart deal bodes well for the long term.”

WMT has been the topic of several other research reports. Credit Suisse Group restated a neutral rating and set a $103.00 price target on shares of Walmart in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Morgan Stanley set a $113.00 price target on shares of Walmart and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. BMO Capital Markets restated a buy rating and issued a $115.00 price target on shares of Walmart in a research report on Thursday, February 21st. Bank of America set a $120.00 price objective on shares of Walmart and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded shares of Walmart from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $101.80 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and nineteen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $107.13.

WMT stock traded up $0.03 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $101.35. The company had a trading volume of 5,353,367 shares, compared to its average volume of 5,465,498. Walmart has a 1 year low of $81.78 and a 1 year high of $106.21. The company has a quick ratio of 0.23, a current ratio of 0.80 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63. The company has a market cap of $297.01 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.64, a PEG ratio of 4.59 and a beta of 0.36.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) last released its earnings results on Thursday, May 16th. The retailer reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.02 by $0.11. Walmart had a net margin of 1.30% and a return on equity of 18.60%. The company had revenue of $122.95 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $124.51 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.14 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 1.1% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, research analysts anticipate that Walmart will post 4.76 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 3rd. Investors of record on Friday, May 10th will be given a dividend of $0.53 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 9th. This represents a $2.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.09%. Walmart’s dividend payout ratio is 43.18%.

In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 1,855,869 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $99.56, for a total transaction of $184,770,317.64. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 15,557,224 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,548,877,221.44. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 1,139,696 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.72, for a total transaction of $113,650,485.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 14,240,978 shares of company stock valued at $1,406,078,670 in the last ninety days. 51.11% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WMT. Vanguard Group Inc raised its holdings in Walmart by 0.9% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 125,244,695 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $11,761,729,000 after buying an additional 1,110,593 shares during the last quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Walmart during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $41,000. Ipswich Investment Management Co. Inc. acquired a new stake in Walmart during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $26,000. Windward Capital Management Co. CA increased its position in Walmart by 4.8% during the 4th quarter. Windward Capital Management Co. CA now owns 22,090 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $2,058,000 after purchasing an additional 1,003 shares during the period. Finally, Tealwood Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Walmart by 130.2% during the 4th quarter. Tealwood Asset Management Inc. now owns 5,105 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $476,000 after purchasing an additional 2,887 shares during the period. 28.96% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Walmart Company Profile

Walmart Inc engages in the retail and wholesale operations in various formats worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International, and Sam's Club. It operates supercenters, supermarkets, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, cash and carry stores, discount stores, drugstores, and convenience stores; membership-only warehouse clubs; e-commerce Websites, such as walmart.com, jet.com, shoes.com, and samsclub.com; and mobile commerce applications.

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