Shares of Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST) have been given an average recommendation of “Buy” by the twenty-seven research firms that are currently covering the company, MarketBeat Ratings reports. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation, seventeen have given a buy recommendation and one has issued a strong buy recommendation on the company. The average 12-month price objective among brokers that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $250.25.
A number of research analysts have recently issued reports on COST shares. BidaskClub downgraded Costco Wholesale from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, January 25th. Telsey Advisory Group reissued an “outperform” rating on shares of Costco Wholesale in a research note on Thursday, January 24th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Costco Wholesale from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 13th. Wells Fargo & Co reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Costco Wholesale in a research note on Friday, March 8th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted their price objective on Costco Wholesale to $248.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, March 8th.
Shares of NASDAQ:COST traded up $0.91 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $248.35. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,671,672 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,429,267. The company has a market capitalization of $109.24 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 36.36, a P/E/G ratio of 3.50 and a beta of 0.94. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34, a current ratio of 0.96 and a quick ratio of 0.46. Costco Wholesale has a fifty-two week low of $189.51 and a fifty-two week high of $250.05.
Costco Wholesale declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase program on Friday, April 26th that permits the company to buyback $4.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the retailer to repurchase up to 3.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 24th. Investors of record on Friday, May 10th will be paid a dividend of $0.65 per share. This is an increase from Costco Wholesale’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.05%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 9th. Costco Wholesale’s dividend payout ratio is 38.07%.
In related news, Director John W. Meisenbach acquired 3,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, April 1st. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $242.65 per share, with a total value of $727,950.00. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 12,833 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,113,927.45. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, VP Richard A. Galanti sold 4,188 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 12th. The stock was 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 $6,932,998.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 8,587 shares of company stock worth $2,004,576. 0.21% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of COST. Vanguard Group Inc grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 0.4% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 35,457,639 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $8,328,292,000 after acquiring an additional 158,722 shares in the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 20,897.6% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 33,652,688 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $165,000 after acquiring an additional 33,492,419 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 2.6% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 28,778,155 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $5,862,398,000 after acquiring an additional 736,711 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 5.0% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,924,782 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $2,645,326,000 after acquiring an additional 518,843 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Jennison Associates LLC grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 6,452,240 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $1,314,386,000 after acquiring an additional 67,206 shares in the last quarter. 72.22% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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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