Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) shares hit a new 52-week high on Monday . The company traded as high as $74.33 and last traded at $74.25, with a volume of 3,469,969 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $73.84.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on WMT. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th. Vetr raised Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $75.48 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday, June 23rd. Bank of America Corp. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $72.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Saturday, June 25th. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Wednesday, June 22nd. Finally, Nomura Holdings Inc. reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $81.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Thursday, June 23rd. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-two have issued a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.02.

The stock has a market capitalization of $231.29 billion and a P/E ratio of 16.40. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $71.45 and a 200-day moving average of $67.53.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, May 19th. The retailer reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.10. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.03 earnings per share. The company had revenue of $115.90 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $112.68 billion. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts anticipate 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 firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.39, for a total transaction of $103,515,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 971,842 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.29, for a total value of $69,282,616.18. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,987,604 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $141,696,289.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds and institutional investors recently made changes to their positions in the company. Patriot Wealth Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.3% in the fourth quarter. Patriot Wealth Management Inc. now owns 77,249 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $4,735,000 after buying an additional 256 shares in the last quarter. Chemung Canal Trust Co. raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 101.5% in the fourth quarter. Chemung Canal Trust Co. now owns 128,129 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $7,855,000 after buying an additional 64,527 shares during the period. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 16.5% in the fourth quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 115,107 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $7,056,000 after buying an additional 16,345 shares during the period. CIBC Asset Management Inc raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 4.5% in the fourth quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 476,666 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $29,220,000 after buying an additional 20,627 shares during the period. Finally, Thompson Investment Management Inc. raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Thompson Investment Management Inc. now owns 61,388 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $3,764,000 after buying an additional 449 shares during the period.

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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