First Merchants Corp lessened its holdings in Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST) by 2.9% in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 21,310 shares of the retailer’s stock after selling 644 shares during the quarter. First Merchants Corp’s holdings in Costco Wholesale were worth $5,631,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Horan Capital Advisors LLC. bought a new stake in Costco Wholesale in the first quarter worth about $26,000. Arbor Wealth Management LLC bought a new stake in Costco Wholesale in the fourth quarter worth about $33,000. Thor Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Costco Wholesale during the 1st quarter worth about $35,000. C J Advisory Inc acquired a new stake in Costco Wholesale during the 1st quarter worth about $36,000. Finally, JNBA Financial Advisors raised its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 484.6% during the 1st quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 152 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $37,000 after buying an additional 126 shares during the period. 71.28% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
Several research firms have issued reports on COST. Nomura boosted their price objective on Costco Wholesale from $235.00 to $256.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, July 11th. Wells Fargo & Co boosted their price objective on Costco Wholesale from $225.00 to $240.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, May 9th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BidaskClub downgraded Costco Wholesale from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 24th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Costco Wholesale from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $272.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 11th. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on Costco Wholesale from $220.00 to $230.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Monday, June 3rd. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nineteen have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $262.73.
Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 30th. The retailer reported $1.89 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.83 by $0.06. Costco Wholesale had a return on equity of 25.03% and a net margin of 2.41%. The firm had revenue of $34.74 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $34.72 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.70 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 7.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Costco Wholesale Co. will post 8.04 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Costco Wholesale announced that its board has authorized a stock buyback program on Friday, April 26th that permits the company to buyback $4.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization permits the retailer to purchase up to 3.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
In related news, VP Patrick J. Callans sold 2,000 shares of Costco Wholesale stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $252.15, for a total transaction of $504,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 66,479 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $16,762,679.85. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Susan L. Decker sold 2,790 shares of Costco Wholesale stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $254.62, for a total value of $710,389.80. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 45,405 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $11,561,021.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 28,136 shares of company stock valued at $7,380,374 over the last quarter. 0.21% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.
Costco Wholesale Company Profile
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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