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

Several research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $67.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, July 12th. Northcoast Research cut Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 12th. Jefferies Group reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Wednesday, July 6th. Deutsche Bank AG reissued a “hold” rating and set a $77.00 price target (up from $68.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Finally, Vetr cut Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $76.24 price target for the company. in a research report on Monday. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-four have assigned a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $69.83.

The company has a market capitalization of $230.48 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.35. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $73.28 and a 200 day moving average of $69.35.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 19th. The retailer reported $0.98 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.10. The firm earned $115.90 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $112.68 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.03 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will post $4.27 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, EVP Rosalind G. Brewer sold 10,794 shares of the company’s 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 transaction, the executive vice president now owns 285,749 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $20,473,915.85. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 478,158 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, June 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.60, for a total transaction of $34,236,112.80. Following the completion of 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.

Several hedge funds and institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. American International Group Inc. boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 734.5% in the fourth quarter. American International Group Inc. now owns 6,379,113 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $391,040,000 after buying an additional 5,614,652 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 39.6% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 5,836,543 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $357,803,000 after buying an additional 1,654,378 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 4.3% in the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 3,800,864 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $232,992,000 after buying an additional 155,993 shares during the last quarter. Green Valley Investors LLC boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 6.7% in the fourth quarter. Green Valley Investors LLC now owns 3,200,000 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $196,160,000 after buying an additional 200,000 shares during the last quarter. Finally, US Bancorp DE boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.6% in the fourth quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 1,756,446 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $107,671,000 after buying an additional 61,432 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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