Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was the target of a significant decrease in short interest during the month of December. As of December 15th, there was short interest totalling 31,239,588 shares, a decrease of 14.8% from the November 30th total of 36,665,020 shares. Approximately 2.1% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 8,806,813 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 3.5 days.
In related news, SVP David Chojnowski sold 684 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.29, for a total value of $67,914.36. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 1,002,210 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $96.23, for a total value of $96,442,668.30. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $649,415,853.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 12,419,588 shares of company stock worth $1,207,333,538. 51.39% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMT. Voya Investment Management LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 10.9% in the second quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 2,983,092 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $225,760,000 after acquiring an additional 294,383 shares during the last quarter. Cutter & CO Brokerage Inc. increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 2.5% in the second quarter. Cutter & CO Brokerage Inc. now owns 8,067 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $611,000 after acquiring an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 23.1% in the second quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 2,095,792 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $158,610,000 after acquiring an additional 393,180 shares during the last quarter. Numeric Investors LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 31.2% in the second quarter. Numeric Investors LLC now owns 1,179,674 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $89,278,000 after acquiring an additional 280,430 shares during the last quarter. Finally, R. G. Niederhoffer Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in Wal-Mart Stores in the second quarter valued at $363,000. 30.58% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) opened at $100.13 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $296,620.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.63, a PEG ratio of 3.66 and a beta of 0.37. Wal-Mart Stores has a 1-year low of $65.28 and a 1-year high of $100.38. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a current ratio of 0.81 and a quick ratio of 0.19.
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $120.23 billion. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.31% and a return on equity of 16.92%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.98 earnings per share. research analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores will post 4.43 EPS for the current year.
Wal-Mart Stores declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, October 10th that permits the company to repurchase $20.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the retailer to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
WMT has been the topic of several research analyst reports. CIBC dropped their price objective on Wal-Mart Stores from $100.00 to $90.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, November 15th. Telsey Advisory Group dropped their price objective on Wal-Mart Stores from $108.00 to $96.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Citigroup upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $106.00 to $117.00 in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. Royal Bank of Canada upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from an “underperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and set a $96.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, November 29th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group set a $87.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have given a hold rating, fifteen have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $96.81.
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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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