Costco Wholesale (COST) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Monday morning. The brokerage currently has $243.00 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 a year, has been gaining from sturdy comps performance and decent results. The company posted positive earnings surprise in the second quarter of fiscal 2019 but revenues fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Notably, the top and the bottom line continued to register year-over-year improvement. Certainly, Costco seems somewhat unfazed by tough retail scenario. We believe growth strategies, increase in membership fees and sturdy e-commerce sales bode well. E-commerce sales surged 32.3% during the quarter. The company’s growth efforts have been fueling traffic across both 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.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on COST. Citigroup cut shares of Costco Wholesale from a buy rating to a neutral rating and cut their price target for the company from $257.00 to $238.00 in a research report on Monday, December 3rd. Bank of America set a $255.00 price target on shares of Costco Wholesale and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Friday, March 8th. Deutsche Bank set a $225.00 price target on shares of Costco Wholesale and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Friday, March 8th. Morgan Stanley set a $220.00 price target on shares of Costco Wholesale and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Friday, March 8th. Finally, BidaskClub raised shares of Costco Wholesale from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Saturday, March 9th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, sixteen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $242.56.

Shares of COST opened at $236.38 on Monday. The company has a current ratio of 1.02, a quick ratio of 0.48 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48. The firm has a market cap of $100.35 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.61, a PEG ratio of 2.83 and a beta of 0.94. Costco Wholesale has a 12 month low of $180.83 and a 12 month high of $245.16.

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 7th. The retailer reported $2.01 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.34. The business had revenue of $35.40 billion for the quarter. Costco Wholesale had a net margin of 2.25% and a return on equity of 24.54%. During the same period last year, the company posted $1.59 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Costco Wholesale will post 7.65 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, February 22nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, February 8th were given a dividend of $0.57 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, February 7th. This represents a $2.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.96%. Costco Wholesale’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.38%.

In other news, Director Susan L. Decker sold 1,611 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $206.15, for a total transaction of $332,107.65. Following the transaction, the director now owns 51,389 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $10,593,842.35. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Richard A. Galanti sold 4,188 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $230.47, for a total transaction of $965,208.36. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 30,082 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,932,998.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 8,587 shares of company stock worth $1,924,179 in the last three months. Insiders own 0.21% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in COST. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. lifted its position in Costco Wholesale by 125.9% in the 4th quarter. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. now owns 122 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $25,000 after acquiring an additional 68 shares in the last quarter. Csenge Advisory Group bought a new position in Costco Wholesale in the 3rd quarter valued at about $29,000. ERTS Wealth Advisors LLC bought a new position in Costco Wholesale in the 4th quarter valued at about $30,000. Arbor Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Costco Wholesale in the 4th quarter valued at about $33,000. Finally, PRW Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in Costco Wholesale in the 4th quarter valued at about $36,000. 71.20% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST)

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