Crawford Investment Counsel Inc. Cuts Position in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)

Crawford Investment Counsel Inc. reduced its position in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 4.1% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 270,364 shares of the retailer’s stock after selling 11,597 shares during the quarter. Crawford Investment Counsel Inc.’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $20,461,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently modified their holdings of WMT. Tower Bridge Advisors raised its position in shares of Wal-Mart Stores by 4.4% in the 1st quarter. Tower Bridge Advisors now owns 131,001 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $9,443,000 after buying an additional 5,576 shares during the period. Massmutual Trust Co. FSB ADV raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 23.7% in the first quarter. Massmutual Trust Co. FSB ADV now owns 35,583 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $2,565,000 after purchasing an additional 6,820 shares during the period. Girard Partners LTD. raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 83.7% in the first quarter. Girard Partners LTD. now owns 14,824 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,069,000 after purchasing an additional 6,755 shares during the period. Boston Partners purchased a new position in Wal-Mart Stores in the first quarter valued at about $541,000. Finally, Henderson Group PLC raised its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 1.2% in the first quarter. Henderson Group PLC now owns 210,453 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $15,167,000 after purchasing an additional 2,455 shares during the period. 30.15% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Several research analysts have commented on the company. UBS AG set a $91.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday. Royal Bank Of Canada set a $83.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research report on Friday. Robert W. Baird reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $95.00 price objective (up from $90.00) on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a research report on Thursday. Morgan Stanley set a $90.00 price objective on Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday. Finally, Vetr raised Wal-Mart Stores from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $87.80 price objective on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nineteen have issued a hold rating, fourteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $86.65.

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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) opened at $90.92 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.18 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51. The stock has a market capitalization of $269,950.00, a P/E ratio of 20.70, a PEG ratio of 3.50 and a beta of 0.34. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a 52-week low of $65.28 and a 52-week high of $91.69.

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

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

In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 474,042 shares of the business’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 sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 621,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 31st. The stock was sold at an average price of $78.28, for a total value of $48,651,020.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at approximately $528,278,842.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 9,924,828 shares of company stock worth $785,676,492. 51.39% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Wal-Mart Stores 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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