Costco Wholesale (COST) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Tuesday morning. The brokerage currently has $270.00 price objective on the retailer’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Costco continues to be one of the dominant retail wholesalers based on the breadth and quality of merchandise offered. The stock, which has outpaced the industry in the past six months, has been gaining from sturdy comps performance and upbeat results. Notably, comps for the month of August rose 9.2%. Meanwhile, net sales for fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 grew 5%, while comps improved 9.5%. Certainly, Costco seems somewhat unfazed by tough retail scenario, comprising soft store traffic and inclination toward online shopping. Moreover, we believe growth strategies, increase in membership fees and sturdy e-commerce sales bode well for the stock. E-commerce comparable sales grew 23.8% in the month of August and 26.2% in the final quarter. However, analysts pointed that any incremental investments or aggressive pricing strategy may hurt margins. Further, we note that SG&A expenses and merchandise costs have been increasing.”

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the company. Gordon Haskett lowered Costco Wholesale from a buy rating to an accumulate rating in a report on Wednesday, July 25th. Loop Capital initiated coverage on Costco Wholesale in a report on Wednesday, May 16th. They issued a buy rating and a $224.00 price objective for the company. Citigroup increased their price objective on Costco Wholesale from $217.00 to $222.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 1st. Argus increased their price objective on Costco Wholesale from $200.00 to $220.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, May 30th. Finally, ValuEngine raised Costco Wholesale from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, June 21st. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-one have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $223.94.

Shares of COST stock opened at $241.27 on Tuesday. Costco Wholesale has a 12-month low of $154.11 and a 12-month high of $245.16. The company has a market capitalization of $106.32 billion, a P/E ratio of 41.46, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.87 and a beta of 0.95. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a current ratio of 1.01 and a quick ratio of 0.47.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, August 31st will be given a dividend of $0.57 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 30th. This represents a $2.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.94%. Costco Wholesale’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 39.18%.

In other news, Director John W. Meisenbach sold 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, July 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $208.42, for a total transaction of $625,260.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 8,654 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,803,666.68. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP James P. Murphy sold 15,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, July 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $219.22, for a total value of $3,288,300.00. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 33,834 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,417,089.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 29,585 shares of company stock valued at $6,424,076 in the last quarter. Insiders own 0.74% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in COST. MUFG Securities EMEA plc acquired a new stake in shares of Costco Wholesale during the 2nd quarter valued at $103,000. Well Done LLC acquired a new stake in Costco Wholesale during the 1st quarter valued at $109,000. Trilogy Capital Inc. acquired a new stake in Costco Wholesale during the 1st quarter valued at $116,000. Bay Colony Advisory Group Inc d b a Bay Colony Advisors acquired a new stake in Costco Wholesale during the 2nd quarter valued at $119,000. Finally, Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd raised its stake in Costco Wholesale by 82.9% during the 1st quarter. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd now owns 737 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $138,000 after purchasing an additional 334 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 71.49% of the company’s stock.

About Costco Wholesale

Costco Wholesale Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates membership warehouses. It offers branded and private-label products in a range of merchandise categories. The company provides dry and packaged foods, and groceries; snack foods, candies, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning supplies; appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, and garden and patio products; meat, bakery, deli, and produces; and apparel and small appliances.

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