Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors LLC increased its position in Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) by 13.3% in the third quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 24,650 shares of the retailer’s stock after acquiring an additional 2,900 shares during the period. Wal-Mart Stores makes up about 1.3% of Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors LLC’s portfolio, making the stock its 27th biggest holding. Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors LLC’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $1,926,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of the company. Voya Investment Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 10.9% during the 2nd quarter. Voya Investment Management LLC now owns 2,983,092 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $225,760,000 after buying an additional 294,383 shares during the last quarter. Cutter & CO Brokerage Inc. raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 2.5% during the 2nd quarter. Cutter & CO Brokerage Inc. now owns 8,067 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $611,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 23.1% during the 2nd quarter. State of Wisconsin Investment Board now owns 2,095,792 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $158,610,000 after buying an additional 393,180 shares during the last quarter. Numeric Investors LLC raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 31.2% during the 2nd quarter. Numeric Investors LLC now owns 1,179,674 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $89,278,000 after buying an additional 280,430 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Comerica Bank raised its stake in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 3.5% during the 3rd quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 575,839 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $50,070,000 after buying an additional 19,415 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 30.53% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE WMT) opened at $105.90 on Wednesday. Wal-Mart Stores Inc has a 12-month low of $65.28 and a 12-month high of $106.14. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a quick ratio of 0.19 and a current ratio of 0.81. The company has a market capitalization of $313,720.00, a PE ratio of 28.16, a PEG ratio of 4.14 and a beta of 0.37.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. Wal-Mart Stores had a return on equity of 16.92% and a net margin of 2.31%. The company had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $120.23 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.98 EPS. Wal-Mart Stores’s revenue was up 4.2% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts predict that Wal-Mart Stores Inc will post 4.44 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,900,679 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.82, for a total value of $283,744,419.78. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $660,146,095.60. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, EVP John R. Furner sold 1,200 shares of Wal-Mart Stores stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.29, for a total value of $119,148.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 48,757 shares in the company, valued at $4,841,082.53. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 12,419,588 shares of company stock worth $1,207,333,538. 51.39% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on WMT shares. KeyCorp set a $100.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Jefferies Group lifted their price objective on Wal-Mart Stores from $93.00 to $97.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Bank of America set a $100.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. Oppenheimer started coverage on Wal-Mart Stores in a research note on Tuesday, October 10th. They set a “buy” rating and a $90.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Wal-Mart Stores from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $88.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Nineteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Wal-Mart Stores presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $99.44.

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About Wal-Mart Stores

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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