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

Several research analysts recently issued reports on the stock. Morgan Stanley reissued an “equal weight” rating and set a $67.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Tuesday. Northcoast Research cut shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Wednesday, July 6th. Vetr raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $75.48 price objective for the company in a report on Thursday, June 23rd. Finally, Bank of America Corp. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $72.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Saturday, June 25th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-three have given a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Wal-Mart Stores currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $69.02.

The company’s 50 day moving average price is $71.68 and its 200 day moving average price is $67.77. The stock has a market cap of $228.36 billion and a P/E ratio of 16.20.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its quarterly 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. The firm had revenue of $115.90 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $112.68 billion. Wal-Mart Stores’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.03 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will post $4.26 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, EVP Rosalind G. Brewer sold 10,794 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, June 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.65, for a total value of $773,390.10. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 285,749 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $20,473,915.85. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 1,450,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several large investors recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. NEXT Financial Group Inc boosted its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 9.4% in the fourth quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc now owns 28,176 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,727,000 after buying an additional 2,418 shares in the last quarter. Everence Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 10.1% in the fourth quarter. Everence Capital Management Inc. now owns 33,592 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $2,059,000 after buying an additional 3,068 shares in the last quarter. SignalPoint Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 10.2% in the fourth quarter. SignalPoint Asset Management LLC now owns 65,811 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $4,034,000 after buying an additional 6,088 shares in the last quarter. Thompson Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake 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 in the last quarter. Finally, CIBC Asset Management Inc boosted its stake 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 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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