Self-Driving Deal With Walmart Sends GM Stock to 52-Week High

If you live in Scottsdale, Arizona, Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is preparing to make your life a little easier. Beginning early next year, the company will let you place an order from a local Walmart store and have it delivered to your home in a self-driving vehicle.

Details of the program are scarce, but the vehicles will be supplied by Cruise, an autonomous vehicle maker acquired in 2016 by General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM). In May of last year, Cruise announced a capital raise of $1.15 billion, which translated into a pre-money valuation of $19 billion.

In a blog post, Walmart’s senior vice president of customer products, Tom Ward, commented that since April of this year, when the company launched its express delivery service, Walmart has scaled the express delivery to more than 2,800 of its 5,300 U.S. stores and is available to more than 65% of American households.

This is not Walmart’s first excursion into self-driving vehicles. Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with self-driving startup Nuro to test autonomous grocery delivery in Houston. That program is expected to launch next year.

Another program in Surprise, Arizona, is already testing a self-driving delivery van from another autonomous vehicle startup, Udelv. And in Walmart’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, autonomous vehicle startup Gatik AI is delivering customer orders from Walmart’s main warehouse to neighborhood stores.

Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), also has a deal with Walmart, among other companies, to pick up customers at their homes and drive them to businesses in the Phoenix area. Early last month, Waymo opened up its Waymo One fully autonomous service to the general public after testing the program for about three years with a selected group of customers and drivers in the vehicles.

News of the deal between Cruise and Walmart helped boost GM’s share price to a new 52-week high of $41.76 on Wednesday. The stock’s 52-week low is $14.33, and the consensus price target is $45.47.

Walmart shares added 1.2% Wednesday morning, at $147.26 in a 52-week range of $102.00 to $151.33. The consensus price target on the stock is $148.05.

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