Smith Asset Management Group LP increased its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 5.3% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 323,521 shares of the retailer’s stock after acquiring an additional 16,267 shares during the quarter. Smith Asset Management Group LP’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $24,472,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other large investors also recently made changes to their positions in WMT. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 161.4% in the first quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 3,297,419 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $237,678,000 after purchasing an additional 2,035,800 shares during the period. Karp Capital Management Corp acquired a new position in Wal-Mart Stores in the first quarter valued at $111,777,000. Swiss National Bank increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 24.3% in the first quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 6,072,429 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $437,701,000 after purchasing an additional 1,188,400 shares during the period. State Street Corp increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 1.2% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 73,568,236 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $5,303,013,000 after purchasing an additional 854,010 shares during the period. Finally, Fisher Asset Management LLC increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 10.3% in the second quarter. Fisher Asset Management LLC now owns 5,853,675 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $443,006,000 after purchasing an additional 544,692 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 30.19% of the company’s stock.

In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 621,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.28, for a total transaction of $48,651,020.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at $528,278,842.40. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 474,042 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.04, for a total transaction of $37,942,321.68. Following the sale, the insider now owns 10,048,580 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $804,288,343.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock valued at $785,676,492. Corporate insiders own 51.39% of the company’s stock.

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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE WMT) opened at 86.22 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $257.56 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.72 and a beta of 0.29. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $86.95. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $80.68 and a 200-day moving average of $77.93.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, August 17th. The retailer reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.07 by $0.01. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.60% and a return on equity of 16.87%. The company had revenue of $123.40 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $121.86 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.07 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will post $4.37 EPS for the current year.

Wal-Mart Stores announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase program on Tuesday, October 10th that authorizes the company to buyback $20.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the retailer to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

WMT has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “buy” rating and issued a $75.54 price objective (down from $88.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Vetr lowered shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $77.38 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, June 26th. Wells Fargo & Company restated a “market perform” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, June 27th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 12th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $82.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Thursday, July 13th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seventeen have assigned a hold rating, fifteen have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $84.38.

Wal-Mart Stores Company Profile

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units in various formats around the world. The Company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club. The Walmart U.S. segment includes its mass merchant concept in the United States operating under the Walmart or Wal-Mart brands, as well as digital retail.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT)

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