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TheStreet Open House

Wal-Mart (WMT) Earnings: Wall Street's Take

Deutsche Bank maintained a "hold" position, but reduced its price target to $76 from $77.

"We see limited downside for WMT shares as the company benefits from being a preferred defensive holding in a tough overall tape. For material upside, however, we believe WMT needs to (1) reduce capital spend, returning more cash to shareholders, (2) continue to grow its online efforts faster than the market place, becoming a clear substitute to shopping at Amazon (AMZN), (3) improve distribution capabilities that allow for further acceleration of small stores in the U.S., and (4) be a consistent market share taker in grocery and other consumable categories," wrote analysts in the report.

One analyst who remained bullish was Jefferies' Daniel Binder who kept a "buy" rating and price target of $87.

"CEO Doug McMillon appears ready to get this business moving in the right direction and we think investors should stick with this name a bit longer to see what he can do," wrote Binder in the report.

McMillon assumed the role of CEO of Wal-Mart on Feb. 1, succeeding Mike Duke. McMillon had previously worked as president and CEO of Wal-Mart International.

"McMillon noted there was much to achieve this year, and this will inevitably include "change." While not a terribly specific comment, it was not a casual one either. We expect to hear more on this as the year unfolds," wrote Binder.

"Out of the gate, we already heard a plan today that included an acceleration in small format store expansion. We also heard about greater discipline in its EDLP strategy, a culture of getting cost out, focus on getting product mix right (an effort already showing some success), accelerated investment in eCommerce, focus on improving Brazil, Mexico and China and more cross-border cooperation, which Mr. McMillon fostered while he headed up International."

Must Read: Minimum Wage Hike Could Derail Young Workers

Also See: Wal-Mart Blames Weather, Government For 21% Drop In 4Q Profits

TheStreet Ratings team rates WAL-MART STORES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate WAL-MART STORES INC (WMT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

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