Traders Sell Costco (COST) on Strength (COST)

Investors sold shares of Costco (NASDAQ:COST) on strength during trading hours on Wednesday. $82.03 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $127.00 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $44.97 million out of the stock. Of all stocks tracked, Costco had the 22nd highest net out-flow for the day. Costco traded up $3.23 for the day and closed at $198.71

Several research firms recently issued reports on COST. Argus boosted their target price on shares of Costco to $200.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, February 12th. Vetr upgraded shares of Costco from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $200.28 target price on the stock in a report on Monday, February 5th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Costco from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, March 9th. Royal Bank of Canada restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $205.00 target price (down previously from $209.00) on shares of Costco in a report on Thursday, March 8th. Finally, Wells Fargo upgraded shares of Costco from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and dropped their target price for the company from $191.42 to $188.91 in a report on Monday, April 16th. Eight research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-two have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Costco presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $192.14.

The company has a current ratio of 1.00, a quick ratio of 0.44 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.54. The firm has a market capitalization of $85.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.14, a PEG ratio of 2.76 and a beta of 0.95.

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, March 7th. The retailer reported $1.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.45 by ($0.03). Costco had a return on equity of 24.74% and a net margin of 2.18%. The firm had revenue of $33 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $32.73 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.17 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 10.8% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts forecast that Costco will post 6.77 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 25th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 11th will be given a $0.57 dividend. This represents a $2.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.15%. This is an increase from Costco’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.50. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 10th. Costco’s dividend payout ratio is presently 39.18%.

In other Costco news, Director John W. Meisenbach sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $191.31, for a total value of $573,930.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 8,654 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,655,596.74. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Russell D. Miller sold 12,393 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $194.12, for a total transaction of $2,405,729.16. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 1 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $194.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 62,067 shares of company stock valued at $11,700,142 over the last ninety days. 0.58% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. AXA grew its position in shares of Costco by 0.7% during the 4th quarter. AXA now owns 709,666 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $132,083,000 after acquiring an additional 4,884 shares during the period. Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC grew its position in shares of Costco by 0.7% during the 4th quarter. Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC now owns 227,773 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $42,393,000 after acquiring an additional 1,634 shares during the period. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC grew its position in shares of Costco by 55.4% during the 4th quarter. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC now owns 3,185 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $593,000 after acquiring an additional 1,135 shares during the period. LPL Financial LLC grew its position in shares of Costco by 20.4% during the 4th quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 203,844 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $37,939,000 after acquiring an additional 34,517 shares during the period. Finally, Synovus Financial Corp grew its position in shares of Costco by 40.3% during the 3rd quarter. Synovus Financial Corp now owns 21,611 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $3,542,000 after acquiring an additional 6,211 shares during the period. 72.99% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Costco

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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