Costco Wholesale Co. (COST) Given Average Rating of “Buy” by Analysts

Shares of Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST) have received a consensus recommendation of “Buy” from the twenty-seven analysts that are covering the firm, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, seventeen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating on the company. The average twelve-month price objective among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $250.25.

Several brokerages have issued reports on COST. Zacks Investment Research raised Costco Wholesale from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $243.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, March 11th. Loop Capital upped their target price on Costco Wholesale from $260.00 to $265.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, April 1st. Oppenheimer upped their target price on Costco Wholesale from $245.00 to $270.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 17th. Telsey Advisory Group reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $265.00 target price (up previously from $250.00) on shares of Costco Wholesale in a research note on Tuesday, April 9th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co upped their target price on Costco Wholesale from $225.00 to $240.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 9th. They noted that the move was a valuation call.

In related news, Director John W. Meisenbach acquired 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, April 1st. The stock was purchased at an average price of $242.65 per share, with a total value of $727,950.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 12,833 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,113,927.45. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, VP Richard A. Galanti sold 4,188 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $230.47, for a total value of $965,208.36. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 30,082 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,932,998.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 8,587 shares of company stock valued at $2,004,576. Insiders own 0.21% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Horan Capital Advisors LLC. purchased a new stake in Costco Wholesale in the first quarter worth $26,000. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. lifted its stake in Costco Wholesale by 125.9% in the fourth quarter. Lenox Wealth Management Inc. now owns 122 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $25,000 after acquiring an additional 68 shares during the period. Permanens Capital L.P. purchased a new stake in Costco Wholesale in the first quarter worth $31,000. ERTS Wealth Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Costco Wholesale in the fourth quarter worth $30,000. Finally, C J Advisory Inc purchased a new stake in Costco Wholesale in the first quarter worth $36,000. 71.32% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of COST stock traded down $0.98 during trading on Thursday, hitting $248.53. The company had a trading volume of 1,822,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,958,495. The company has a current ratio of 0.96, a quick ratio of 0.46 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34. The stock has a market cap of $109.94 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 36.39, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.52 and a beta of 0.94. Costco Wholesale has a 52 week low of $189.51 and a 52 week high of $251.01.

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 7th. The retailer reported $2.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.34. The company had revenue of $35.40 billion for the quarter. Costco Wholesale had a net margin of 2.34% and a return on equity of 25.53%. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.59 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Costco Wholesale will post 7.93 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 24th. Stockholders of record on Friday, May 10th will be paid a dividend of $0.65 per share. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.05%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 9th. This is a positive change from Costco Wholesale’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. Costco Wholesale’s dividend payout ratio is 38.07%.

Costco Wholesale announced that its board has authorized a share repurchase plan on Friday, April 26th that authorizes the company to buyback $4.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the retailer to reacquire up to 3.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

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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