Is Wal-Mart Bucking This Holiday Trend?

While many analytic firms, including MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, have issued early reports indicating that holiday-related sales were weak, Gilford Securities reported a different reality for Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) when its analysts reiterated their Buy rating on the retailer and set a price target of $78 on its shares.

Where has the holiday season left Wal-Mart?

“Based on visits to Walmart stores, mostly on Long Island, and observing traffic and seasonal departments, we surmise sales were up significantly over a year ago, despite the hardship caused by Hurricane Sandy,” wrote Gilford’s analysts on Friday. While the firm made a seemingly broad assessment based on limited observations, analysts added that data supplied from their store visits was supplemented by Wal-Mart’s own reports; the company has said that it had its best Black Friday this year and layaways were greater than a year ago.

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Although shares of Wal-Mart have been trading slightly down since the Christmas holiday, the company’s stock price has gained close to 14 percent this year to date, further supporting Gilford’s rating…

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