Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) Upgraded 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 released on Tuesday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $272.00 price target 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 outpaced the industry in a year, has been gaining from sturdy comps and decent results. The company posted positive earnings surprise in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 but revenues fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Notably, the top and the bottom line continued to rise year over year. Certainly, Costco seems somewhat unfazed by tough retail scenario. We believe growth strategies, increase in membership fees and sturdy e-commerce sales bode well. The company’s efforts have been driving traffic across online and brick-and-mortar platforms. However, any incremental investments or aggressive pricing strategy may hurt margins. Moreover, rising SG&A expenses and stiff competition also pose concerns.”

COST has been the topic of several other reports. Nomura began coverage on shares of Costco Wholesale in a research report on Wednesday, March 20th. They issued a neutral rating and a $230.00 price objective on the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale to $248.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research report on Friday, March 8th. Deutsche Bank set a $225.00 price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Friday, March 8th. Citigroup cut their price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale from $243.00 to $241.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, May 31st. Finally, Robert W. Baird lifted their price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale from $250.00 to $270.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $252.13.

Costco Wholesale stock opened at $259.71 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32, a quick ratio of 0.48 and a current ratio of 0.98. Costco Wholesale has a 1 year low of $189.51 and a 1 year high of $259.87. The stock has a market capitalization of $113.13 billion, a PE ratio of 38.02, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.61 and a beta of 0.91.

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 30th. The retailer reported $1.89 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.83 by $0.06. Costco Wholesale had a net margin of 2.41% and a return on equity of 25.03%. The company had revenue of $34.74 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $34.72 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.70 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, research analysts expect that Costco Wholesale will post 8.04 earnings per share for the current year.

Costco Wholesale announced that its board has approved a share repurchase program on Friday, April 26th that authorizes the company to buyback $4.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the retailer to repurchase up to 3.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 24th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 10th were given a dividend of $0.65 per share. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.00%. This is an increase from Costco Wholesale’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, May 9th. Costco Wholesale’s payout ratio is 38.07%.

In other Costco Wholesale news, VP Patrick J. Callans sold 2,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $252.15, for a total transaction of $504,300.00. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 66,479 shares in the company, valued at approximately $16,762,679.85. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Susan L. Decker sold 2,350 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $240.00, for a total transaction of $564,000.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 46,239 shares in the company, valued at $11,097,360. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 12,140 shares of company stock worth $3,056,340 over the last 90 days. 0.21% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Regent Investment Management LLC raised its position in shares of Costco Wholesale by 43.5% during the 1st quarter. Regent Investment Management LLC now owns 1,485 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $360,000 after buying an additional 450 shares in the last quarter. Raymond James & Associates grew its stake in shares of Costco Wholesale by 8.5% in the 1st quarter. Raymond James & Associates now owns 467,707 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $113,252,000 after purchasing an additional 36,675 shares during the last quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. grew its stake in shares of Costco Wholesale by 17.4% in the 1st quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 182,589 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $44,218,000 after purchasing an additional 27,026 shares during the last quarter. Bernicke Wealth Management Ltd. grew its stake in shares of Costco Wholesale by 3.3% in the 4th quarter. Bernicke Wealth Management Ltd. now owns 4,017 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $818,000 after purchasing an additional 127 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ruggie Capital Group acquired a new position in shares of Costco Wholesale in the 4th quarter worth approximately $61,000. Institutional investors own 71.14% of the company’s stock.

Costco Wholesale Company Profile

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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