Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) Set to Report Earnings This Week – Stock could go either way

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As the market opens trading on Thursday, February 18, 2016, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) will release their fourth quarter 2015 earnings report, one that investors everywhere will be looking forward to seeing. Since the company is the world’s largest retailer, their earnings report more than likely will affect more than just their own stock. Investors of other retail stocks will be paying close attention to see where the market as a whole seems to be headed.

The consensus estimates on Wall Street expect Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to report approximate earnings per share of $1.43 on revenue of $130.93. While the stock has been trading up quite a bit over the past three months, an earnings beat could send it soaring. However, if earnings miss these estimates, the stock could fall back down to its 52-week low of $64.87

Regardless, Thursday will be an interesting day for investors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). The stock increased 1.29% or $0.84 on February 12, hitting $66.16. About 9.70M shares traded hands. WMT has declined 9.49% since July 10, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 0.02%.

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 2.10% above today’s ($66.16) 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 is positive, 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 $214.63 billion. The Firm offers an assortment of merchandise and services at everyday low prices . It has 14.19 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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