A study of analyst recommendations at the major brokerages shows that Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) is the #19 broker pick, on average, out of the 30 stocks making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, according to ETF Channel. Within the broader S&P 500, when components were ranked in terms of analyst favorites, WMT claims the #280 spot.

In forming this rank, the analyst opinions from the major brokerage houses were tallied, and averaged; then, the underlying components were ranked according to those averages. Investors often interpret analyst opinions from different angles — when companies have a low rank among analysts, it isn't necessarily the case that investors should conclude that the stock will perform poorly. It can, of course, but a bullish investor could also take the contrarian angle and read into the data that there is lots of room for upside because the stock is so out of favor.

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15 Forgotten Giants of the S&P 500: Analysts' Current Least Favorites »
From the other direction, a popular analyst pick could mean that many sharp minds individually came to the same bullish conclusion, and therefore the stock should do well, but it could also mean that if the company stumbles, that would come as a negative surprise.

For these reasons, we at ETF Channel find value to putting together these rankings, because both the top and the bottom ends of the list can often make for some interesting stock picking ideas for further research.

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The Top 15 Broker Darlings of the Dow: Current Top Analyst Picks »

Below is a chart of rank over time: Loading+chart++2018+TickerTech.com

According to the ETF Finder at ETF Channel, WMT makes up 8.14% of the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF (XLP) which is trading lower by about 0.3% on the day Tuesday.

WMT operates in the Department Stores sector, among companies like Costco Wholesale Corp (COST) which is down about 0.7% today, and Target Corp (TGT) trading lower by about 0.4%. Below is a three month price history chart comparing the stock performance of WMT, versus COST and TGT.

WMT,COST,TGT Relative Performance Chart

WMT is currently trading up about 0.4% midday Tuesday.

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