Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) shares reached a new 52-week high during trading on Wednesday . The company traded as high as $74.51 and last traded at $74.23, with a volume of 4,680,196 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $73.54.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on WMT shares. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Sunday, May 22nd. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Monday, June 6th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $85.00 price objective (up previously from $82.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. Barclays PLC reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and set a $70.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, June 7th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Wednesday, May 25th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-four have given a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $69.83.

The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $73.15 and its 200-day moving average price is $69.29. The company has a market capitalization of $230.59 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.354.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, May 19th. The retailer reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $115.90 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $112.68 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.03 EPS. Wal-Mart Stores’s quarterly revenue was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will post $4.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Wal-Mart Stores news, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 1,450,000 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction on Tuesday, June 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.39, for a total value of $103,515,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Rosalind G. Brewer sold 10,794 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction 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 completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 285,749 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $20,473,915.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of institutional investors have modified their holdings of the stock. Parsons Capital Management Inc. RI increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.2% in the fourth quarter. Parsons Capital Management Inc. RI now owns 19,717 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,209,000 after buying an additional 416 shares during the last quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.8% in the fourth quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. now owns 18,659 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,137,000 after buying an additional 500 shares during the last quarter. Boltwood Capital Management increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.6% in the fourth quarter. Boltwood Capital Management now owns 19,494 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,195,000 after buying an additional 500 shares during the last quarter. Meridian Investment Counsel Inc. increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.9% in the fourth quarter. Meridian Investment Counsel Inc. now owns 25,040 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,535,000 after buying an additional 705 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Pekin Singer Strauss Asset Management IL increased its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Pekin Singer Strauss Asset Management IL now owns 127,551 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $7,819,000 after buying an additional 1,040 shares during 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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