Analyst: Buy Walmart Stock After Tax Bill

WMT shares are flirting with record highs after a Goldman upgrade

Jan 18, 2018 at 10:19 AM
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Waxing optimistic on higher consumer spending and wage growth following the Republican tax bill, Goldman Sachs this morning added Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) stock to its "Conviction Buy" list. In fact, Walmart just recently announced plans to lift its own minimum wage for hourly employees in the wake of tax reform. In light of the upgrade from "neutral" to "buy," WMT stock is flirting with record highs this morning -- and even loftier peaks could be on the horizon, if more analysts change their tune.

Walmart stock has rallied more than 53% in the past year, and has already advanced more than 5% in 2018. The shares are pacing for a sixth straight weekly gain, and their best week since an earnings beat in mid-November. The security was last seen 1.9% higher at $104.64, and fresh off an all-time high of $104.94.

More upgrades could be on the way, to boot. Despite WMT's fundamental and technical strength, more than half of the 24 analysts following the stock maintain tepid "hold" or worse opinions. Another round of "buy" ratings could lure more buyers to the table.

Options traders have taken note of Walmart stock's rally. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) indicates accelerated call buying relative to put buying during the past two weeks. However, it's an opportune time for WMT premium buyers to strike.

The blue chip's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 17% is in just the 22nd percentile of its annual range, pointing to relatively muted volatility expectations being priced into short-term Walmart options. Likewise, the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) is at a lofty 100, indicating WMT has handily exceeded options traders' volatility expectations during the past year.


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