Willis Investment Counsel increased its stake in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) by 31.1% in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 244,022 shares of the retailer’s stock after buying an additional 57,900 shares during the period. Wal-Mart Stores accounts for 1.4% of Willis Investment Counsel’s portfolio, making the stock its 22nd largest position. Willis Investment Counsel’s holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $18,468,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A number of other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in WMT. Winfield Associates Inc. raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 5.8% in the second quarter. Winfield Associates Inc. now owns 1,373 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 89.2% in the first quarter. TrimTabs Asset Management LLC now owns 1,476 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $106,000 after buying an additional 696 shares in the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 3.3% in the second quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC now owns 1,429 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 45 shares in the last quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 456.9% in the second quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,526 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 1,252 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Hudock Capital Group LLC raised its stake in Wal-Mart Stores by 0.4% in the second quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 1,847 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $139,000 after buying an additional 7 shares in the last quarter. 30.40% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

In related news, major shareholder Alice L. Walton sold 2,000,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.47, for a total value of $158,940,000.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 6,748,580 shares in the company, valued at $536,309,652.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Jacqueline P. Canney sold 1,586 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $79.00, for a total transaction of $125,294.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 21,125 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,668,875. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 14,419,109 shares of company stock worth $1,366,198,547 in the last 90 days. 51.39% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) traded down $0.55 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $97.28. 7,140,900 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 8,942,550. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has a 1 year low of $65.28 and a 1 year high of $100.13. The company has a current ratio of 0.81, a quick ratio of 0.19 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52. The stock has a market capitalization of $289,809.84, a PE ratio of 22.34, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.61 and a beta of 0.37.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 16th. The retailer reported $1.00 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.97 by $0.03. Wal-Mart Stores had a net margin of 2.31% and a return on equity of 16.92%. The firm had revenue of $122.14 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $120.23 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.98 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.2% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts forecast that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will post 4.43 EPS for the current year.

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

A number of equities analysts recently issued reports on WMT shares. Stephens raised shares of Wal-Mart Stores from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $78.00 to $91.00 in a research note on Friday, August 11th. Jefferies Group set a $88.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Wal-Mart Stores from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 11th. J P Morgan Chase & Co set a $80.00 price objective on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, August 14th. Finally, MKM Partners restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Wal-Mart Stores in a report on Tuesday, August 15th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have issued a hold rating, fourteen have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $92.68.

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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.

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

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