Zacks Investment Research Lowers Walmart (NYSE:WMT) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $126.00 price objective on the retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Walmart’s shares have underperformed the industry in the past three months. The company has been witnessing strained margins for a while now, due to costs associated with e-commerce and technological investments; along with a compelling pricing strategy. In fact, investment in Flipkart is expected to continue weighing on Walmart’s bottom line in fiscal 2020. Nonetheless, the deal is likely to augment top line and be beneficial in the long run. Notably, Walmart’s top line has been gaining from its focus on enhancing e-commerce and store operations. Further, the company is making efforts to improve its International unit by shifting focus to profitable countries. These factors helped Walmart retain its sturdy earnings surprise record in third-quarter fiscal 2019, wherein U.S. comps rose for the 21st straight time.”

WMT has been the topic of several other reports. Citigroup reiterated a buy rating and set a $135.00 target price (up from $129.00) on shares of Walmart in a research report on Wednesday, September 18th. Nomura assumed coverage on shares of Walmart in a research note on Friday, November 8th. They set a buy rating and a $132.00 price objective for the company. Gordon Haskett upgraded shares of Walmart from an accumulate rating to a buy rating and increased their price objective for the stock from $115.00 to $125.00 in a report on Thursday, August 15th. Raymond James increased their price objective on shares of Walmart from $120.00 to $130.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Friday, November 15th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Guggenheim reissued a buy rating and issued a $135.00 target price (up from $125.00) on shares of Walmart in a research report on Thursday, November 14th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $124.07.

Shares of NYSE:WMT traded up $1.04 during trading on Monday, reaching $119.70. The stock had a trading volume of 322,835 shares, compared to its average volume of 6,177,585. The company has a quick ratio of 0.20, a current ratio of 0.81 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83. The stock has a market cap of $338.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.37, a PEG ratio of 4.83 and a beta of 0.36. The business has a fifty day moving average price of $119.01 and a 200-day moving average price of $113.54. Walmart has a fifty-two week low of $85.78 and a fifty-two week high of $125.38.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, November 14th. The retailer reported $1.16 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.09 by $0.07. The firm had revenue of $126.98 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $128.08 billion. Walmart had a net margin of 2.77% and a return on equity of 18.47%. Walmart’s revenue was up 2.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.08 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Walmart will post 4.97 EPS for the current year.

In other news, EVP Judith J. Mckenna sold 8,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $119.21, for a total value of $989,443.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 216,811 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $25,846,039.31. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Insiders own 50.22% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Krane Funds Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Walmart in the 2nd quarter worth $26,000. AllSquare Wealth Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Walmart by 235.3% during the second quarter. AllSquare Wealth Management LLC now owns 285 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $31,000 after acquiring an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. Mcmillion Capital Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Walmart during the second quarter valued at about $34,000. Shine Investment Advisory Services Inc. increased its position in shares of Walmart by 181.7% during the third quarter. Shine Investment Advisory Services Inc. now owns 307 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $36,000 after acquiring an additional 198 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Knuff & Co LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Walmart during the third quarter worth about $36,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 30.31% 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, shoes.com, and samsclub.com; and mobile commerce applications.

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