Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) was down 0.2% during mid-day trading on Friday . The company traded as low as $73.24 and last traded at $73.39, with a volume of 3,724,550 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $73.53.

A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on WMT shares. Barclays PLC reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and set a $70.00 price objective (up from $61.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Wednesday, March 30th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased their target price on Wal-Mart Stores from $62.00 to $66.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 6th. Morgan Stanley set a $63.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, May 9th. Vetr upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $75.48 target price for the company in a research report on Thursday, June 23rd. Finally, Nomura Holdings Inc. set a $70.00 target price on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 28th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-two have given a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $69.02.

The stock’s 50-day moving average is $71.31 and its 200-day moving average is $67.42. The company has a market cap of $230.13 billion and a P/E ratio of 16.32.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 19th. The retailer reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.10. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.03 EPS. The business earned $115.90 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $112.68 billion. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will post $4.26 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 1,450,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.39, for a total transaction of $103,515,500.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 478,158 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.60, for a total value of $34,236,112.80. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,987,604 shares in the company, valued at approximately $142,312,446.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 6.9% in the fourth quarter. Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL now owns 33,987 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $2,919,000 after buying an additional 2,207 shares during the last quarter. Shelton Capital Management raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 22.5% in the fourth quarter. Shelton Capital Management now owns 31,201 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $1,913,000 after buying an additional 5,726 shares in the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 2.8% in the fourth quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 6,981,125 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $427,943,000 after buying an additional 191,907 shares in the last quarter. Fort Pitt Capital Group LLC bought a new stake in Wal-Mart Stores during the fourth quarter worth about $1,094,000. Finally, World Asset Management Inc raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.1% in the fourth quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 197,921 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $12,133,000 after buying an additional 5,893 shares in the last quarter.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units in various formats around the world. The Company offers an assortment of merchandise and services at everyday low prices (EDLP). The Company’s operations are conducted in three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club.

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