Investment analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. began coverage on shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST) in a report released on Tuesday. The brokerage set a “market perform” rating and a $155.00 price target on the retailer’s stock. Wells Fargo & Co.’s target price would indicate a potential upside of 4.24% from the company’s previous close. The analysts noted that the move was a valuation call.

COST has been the subject of a number of other reports. Citigroup Inc. boosted their price objective on Costco Wholesale Corp. from $155.00 to $172.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 16th. Zacks Investment Research cut Costco Wholesale Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 26th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated a “buy” rating and issued a $179.00 price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. in a research report on Friday, August 5th. Nomura restated a “buy” rating and issued a $185.00 price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Cos. restated an “overweight” rating and issued a $171.00 price objective on shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. in a research report on Tuesday, August 2nd. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating, eighteen have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $172.03.

Analyst Recommendations for Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST)

Shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST) traded up 0.02% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $148.73. The company had a trading volume of 340,311 shares. Costco Wholesale Corp. has a 1-year low of $138.57 and a 1-year high of $169.73. The company has a market capitalization of $65.07 billion, a PE ratio of 27.90 and a beta of 0.71. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $152.67 and its 200 day moving average price is $156.01.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, September 29th. The retailer reported $1.77 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.73 by $0.04. Costco Wholesale Corp. had a return on equity of 20.26% and a net margin of 1.98%. The company earned $35.73 billion during the quarter. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.73 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Costco Wholesale Corp. will post $5.95 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 18th. Investors of record on Friday, November 4th will be paid a dividend of $0.45 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 2nd. This represents a $1.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.21%. Costco Wholesale Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.71%.

In related news, Director James D. Sinegal sold 20,114 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, October 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $149.02, for a total transaction of $2,997,388.28. Following the transaction, the director now owns 768,136 shares in the company, valued at approximately $114,467,626.72. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, VP Timothy L. Rose sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, October 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $151.12, for a total value of $604,480.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 51,045 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,713,920.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.78% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. FCM Investments TX purchased a new position in Costco Wholesale Corp. during the second quarter worth about $133,000. Zions Bancorporation boosted its stake in Costco Wholesale Corp. by 88.2% in the first quarter. Zions Bancorporation now owns 890 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $139,000 after buying an additional 417 shares during the last quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC boosted its stake in Costco Wholesale Corp. by 276.6% in the second quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 983 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $154,000 after buying an additional 722 shares during the last quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. boosted its stake in Costco Wholesale Corp. by 11.5% in the second quarter. PineBridge Investments L.P. now owns 1,078 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $169,000 after buying an additional 111 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Signaturefd LLC boosted its stake in Costco Wholesale Corp. by 81.4% in the second quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 1,094 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $172,000 after buying an additional 491 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.13% of the company’s stock.

About Costco Wholesale Corp.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) is engaged in the operation of membership warehouses in the United States (U.S.) and Puerto Rico, Canada, United Kingdom (U.K.), Mexico, Japan, Australia, Spain, and through majority-owned subsidiaries in Taiwan and Korea. The Company operated 663 membership warehouses and an average warehouse is approximately 144,000 square feet.

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