Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) to Raise Pay For Over 1.2 Million Employees

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In a move which could in itself help raise the average of US wages, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) today announced that they will be raising wages for over 1.2 million of their Walmart and Sam’s Club employees. The raises will take effect on February 20 and bump up all wages of associates hired prior to January 1st to $10 an hour, while giving pay raises to those already earning more that $10 an hour.

“We are committed to investing in our associates and to continuing to simplify our business. When we do so, there is no limit to what our associates can accomplish,” said Judith McKenna, chief operating officer for Walmart U.S. “Our customers and associates are noticing a difference. We’re seeing strong increases in both customer experience and associate engagement scores. Five straight quarters of positive comps in our U.S. business is just one example of how helping our associates grow and succeed helps the company do the same.”

The average full time employee for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) will earn approximately $13.38 an hour once these new rules go into effect. The company is also introducing a new paid time off policy in March, along with other employee benefits. The stock is down 3.09% or $1.93 following the news, hitting $60.63 per share. Approximately 8.62 million shares traded hands. WMT shares have declined 13.03% since June 15, 2015 and are currently downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 4.16%.

From a total of 22 analysts covering Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) stock, 5 rate it a “Buy”, 1 a “Sell”, and 16 a “Hold”. This means that 23% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $84 while the lowest target price is $55. The mean of all analyst targets is $67.55 which is 11.41% above today’s ($60.63) stock price. Wal-Mart Stores Inc was the topic of 37 analyst reports since August 14, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. JP Morgan upgraded shares on January 8 to a “Overweight” rating. S&P Research downgraded shares to a”Hold” rating and a $62 target share price in their report from an October 15. Northcoast upgraded WMT stock in a recent report from November 13 to a “Buy” rating. Credit Suisse downgraded the rating on October 15. Credit Suisse has a “Neutral” rating and a $62 price target on shares. Finally, Wells Fargo upgraded the stock to a “Outperform” rating in a report they issued on an October 26.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.01, from 0.99 in 2015Q2. The ratio increased, as 106 funds sold all their Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. shares they owned while 518 reduced their positions. 86 funds bought stakes while 537 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 869.10 million shares which is 10.24% less than the previous share count of 968.23 million in 2015Q2.

Cook & Bynum Capital Management Llc holds 20.48% of its total portfolio in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., equating to 529,529 shares. Cullinan Associates Inc owns 3.35 million shares representing 19.87% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Rwwm Inc. has 15.74% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 488,323 shares. The New York-based Gabalex Capital Management Llc has a total of 12.62% of their portfolio invested in the stock. General Re New England Asset Management Inc, a Connecticut-based fund reported 7.36 million shares owned.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units in various formats around the world. The company has a market cap of $199.62 billion. The Firm offers an assortment of merchandise and services at everyday low prices . It has 13 P/E ratio. The Company’s activities are conducted in three divisions: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club.

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