Principal Financial Group Inc. Buys 97,232 Shares of Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST)

Principal Financial Group Inc. increased its stake in shares of Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST) by 6.8% in the fourth quarter, Holdings Channel.com reports. The firm owned 1,522,194 shares of the retailer’s stock after buying an additional 97,232 shares during the quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc.’s holdings in Costco Wholesale were worth $447,404,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Johanson Financial Advisors Inc. raised its position in Costco Wholesale by 30,151.3% in the fourth quarter. Johanson Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 1,135,330 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $3,858,000 after purchasing an additional 1,131,577 shares during the last quarter. Squarepoint Ops LLC grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 343.7% during the 3rd quarter. Squarepoint Ops LLC now owns 629,864 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $181,470,000 after acquiring an additional 487,907 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 28.0% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 958,790 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $276,237,000 after acquiring an additional 209,544 shares during the last quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 1,432.7% during the 4th quarter. Assenagon Asset Management S.A. now owns 114,031 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $33,516,000 after acquiring an additional 106,591 shares during the last quarter. Finally, State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund D increased its position in Costco Wholesale by 43.2% in the 3rd quarter. State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund D now owns 343,600 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $98,995,000 after acquiring an additional 103,600 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 70.03% of the company’s stock.

COST has been the subject of several analyst reports. Edward Jones downgraded shares of Costco Wholesale from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 15th. Tigress Financial reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Costco Wholesale in a research note on Friday, January 31st. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and issued a $320.00 price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale in a report on Friday, December 13th. Northcoast Research downgraded Costco Wholesale from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 16th. Finally, Oppenheimer raised Costco Wholesale from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and raised their target price for the stock from $300.00 to $335.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and fifteen have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $302.73.

In related news, VP Patrick J. Callans sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $293.99, for a total transaction of $587,980.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 59,679 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $17,545,029.21. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Richard A. Galanti sold 1,984 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $302.80, for a total value of $600,755.20. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 26,165 shares in the company, valued at $7,922,762. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 9,537 shares of company stock worth $2,861,340. 0.22% of the stock is owned by insiders.

NASDAQ COST traded down $0.70 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $312.93. 1,171,430 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,870,546. The firm has a market cap of $138.55 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 37.12, a PEG ratio of 4.49 and a beta of 0.90. The stock has a 50-day simple moving average of $301.02 and a 200 day simple moving average of $293.48. The company has a current ratio of 1.01, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.47. Costco Wholesale Co. has a 1-year low of $205.75 and a 1-year high of $314.28.

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, December 12th. The retailer reported $1.73 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.71 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $37.04 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $37.40 billion. Costco Wholesale had a return on equity of 24.22% and a net margin of 2.42%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.61 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Costco Wholesale Co. will post 8.61 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, February 21st. Investors of record on Friday, February 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.65 per share. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.83%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, February 6th. Costco Wholesale’s dividend payout ratio is presently 31.75%.

Costco Wholesale 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.

Featured Article: What are different types of coverage ratios?

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding COST? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST)

Receive News & Ratings for Costco Wholesale Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Costco Wholesale and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.