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News Brief: Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) tagged an all-time high of $80.57 earlier today, amid news that retiring CEO Michael T. Duke will be replaced by C. Douglas McMillon on Feb. 1 of next year. McMillon -- who previously served as the president of Wal-Mart International -- was also elected to the firm's board of directors. "Doug is uniquely positioned to lead our growing global company and to serve the changing customer, while remaining true to our culture and values," noted Rob Walton, chairman of WMT's board.
Meanwhile, call activity is buzzing in the stock's options pits today, with approximately 15,000 contracts crossing the tape so far -- more than double the intraday norm. By contrast, around 8,000 puts have changed hands. From a broader sentiment scope, however, today's call-skewed activity is a deviation from WMT's recent trend. In fact, the equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 1.05 ranks in the 82nd annual percentile, confirming traders have been buying to open puts over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the last 10 weeks.
On the technical front, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) sports a year-to-date gain of 17.5%. What's more, the shares have recovered 12.3% since touching an early October low of $71.51. At last check, the stock was up 0.5% to trade at $80.33.