Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) saw an uptick in trading volume on Wednesday . 6,566,320 shares changed hands during trading, an increase of 1% from the previous session’s volume of 6,514,852 shares.The stock last traded at $72.49 and had previously closed at $72.89.

A number of research firms recently weighed in on WMT. Morgan Stanley restated a “hold” rating and set a $67.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, July 12th. Northcoast Research cut shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 12th. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set a $71.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday. Jefferies Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $85.00 target price on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Monday. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG restated a “hold” rating and set a $77.00 target price (up previously from $68.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, August 2nd. Four research 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 assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $70.15.

The company has a market cap of $227.30 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.12. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $73.45 and its 200 day moving average price is $69.64.

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

In related news, major shareholder Jim C. Walton sold 1,450,000 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, June 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.39, for a total value of $103,515,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 478,158 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, June 27th. The shares were 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 owns 1,987,604 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $142,312,446.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds and institutional investors have made changes to their positions in WMT. Parsons Capital Management Inc. RI boosted 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 worth $1,209,000 after buying an additional 416 shares during the period. Moors & Cabot Inc. boosted 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 worth $1,137,000 after buying an additional 500 shares during the period. Boltwood Capital Management boosted 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 worth $1,195,000 after buying an additional 500 shares during the period. Meridian Investment Counsel Inc. boosted 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 worth $1,535,000 after buying an additional 705 shares during the period. Finally, BOKF NA boosted its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 1.2% in the fourth quarter. BOKF NA now owns 91,077 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $5,583,000 after buying an additional 1,060 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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