Wal-Mart Shares Rise After Upgrade To Outperform

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shares are up 1.3% in premarket trading after it was upgraded on Monday to outperform from market perform at Cowen & Co. Analysts believe that the retail giant could "regain retail dominance" through same-store sales growth, price investments and other efforts. Wal-Mart has reported seven quarters of positive traffic in the U.S. and Cowen analysts believe that trend should continue for the next two years. "Wal-Mart's impressive second-quarter results of U.S. comps of +1.6% driven by traffic of +1.2% demonstrated that the retailer is taking share at the expense of Target Corp. , dollar stores, and grocers," the note said. Cowen's proprietary data shows that customer experience has improved, fueled by higher wages and better staff training. And the recent Jet.com acquisition, which should help the company reach younger, urban customers, positions the company to accelerate e-commerce growth and could create "a more level playing field to compete with Amazon ." Wal-Mart will host its analyst day on Oct. 6, and Cowen doesn't expect any bad news. Wal-Mart shares are up 14.7% for the year so far while the S&P 500 Index is up 4.1% for the same period.

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