Walmart (WMT) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report published on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Walmart’s shares have increased in the past six months, due to its focus on strengthening e-commerce and store operations. These factors helped the company retain its sturdy comps trend in third-quarter fiscal 2019, wherein top and bottom lines improved year over year and the latter marked its third consecutive beat. Notably, U.S. comps rose for the 17th straight time. Further, e-commerce sales surged, courtesy of strong Walmart.com and online grocery performances. These factors encouraged management to raise view. Walmart is also making efforts to improve its International unit by shifting focus to profitable countries. However, the company’s investment in Flipkart is expected to dent the bottom line. Such investment costs and a compelling pricing strategy have been hurting Walmart’s gross margin for a while. Nonetheless, the Flipkart deal bodes well for the long term and should help the company stand firm against Amazon.”

A number of other analysts have also commented on WMT. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their price objective on Walmart to $108.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Monday, October 8th. Deutsche Bank raised Walmart from a hold rating to a buy rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $89.00 to $113.00 in a report on Tuesday, October 9th. KeyCorp boosted their price objective on Walmart from $107.00 to $112.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a report on Friday, November 16th. Cowen boosted their price objective on Walmart from $115.00 to $120.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Monday, October 29th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reissued a neutral rating and set a $103.00 price objective on shares of Walmart in a report on Wednesday, October 17th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have issued a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $104.77.

WMT stock traded up $0.99 during trading on Friday, reaching $97.73. 6,089,501 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 7,169,603. Walmart has a twelve month low of $81.78 and a twelve month high of $109.98. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a quick ratio of 0.22 and a current ratio of 0.81. The company has a market cap of $289.51 billion, a P/E ratio of 22.11, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.97 and a beta of 0.36.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 15th. The retailer reported $1.08 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.02 by $0.06. Walmart had a return on equity of 18.36% and a net margin of 1.01%. The business had revenue of $124.89 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $124.86 billion. Equities analysts predict that Walmart will post 4.83 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Walmart news, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 4,026 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, November 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.95, for a total transaction of $394,346.70. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 53,250 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,215,837.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director S Robson Walton sold 1,109,156 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $97.92, for a total value of $108,608,555.52. Following the sale, the director now owns 3,347,254 shares in the company, valued at approximately $327,763,111.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 11,818,674 shares of company stock valued at $1,122,286,815. 51.11% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of WMT. Carmichael Hill & Associates Inc. raised its position in shares of Walmart by 2.0% in the fourth quarter. Carmichael Hill & Associates Inc. now owns 5,502 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $512,000 after buying an additional 106 shares in the last quarter. New Capital Management LP raised its position in shares of Walmart by 18.0% in the fourth quarter. New Capital Management LP now owns 720 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $67,000 after buying an additional 110 shares in the last quarter. Bath Savings Trust Co raised its position in shares of Walmart by 3.8% in the fourth quarter. Bath Savings Trust Co now owns 3,247 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $302,000 after buying an additional 118 shares in the last quarter. Lourd Capital LLC raised its position in shares of Walmart by 1.5% in the fourth quarter. Lourd Capital LLC now owns 8,182 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $762,000 after buying an additional 120 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. raised its position in shares of Walmart by 4.5% in the fourth quarter. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 2,841 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $265,000 after buying an additional 123 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 29.08% of the company’s stock.

About Walmart

Walmart Inc engages in the retail and wholesale operations in various formats worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International, and Sam's Club. It operates supercenters, supermarkets, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, cash and carry stores, discount stores, drugstores, and convenience stores; membership-only warehouse clubs; e-commerce Websites, such as walmart.com, jet.com, hayneedle.com, shoes.com, moosejaw.com, modcloth.com, bonobos.com, and samsclub.com; and mobile commerce and voice-activated commerce applications.

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