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Costco Earnings: Why Some Analysts Say A Big Jump Is Unlikely

Membership warehouse retailer Costco (COST) reports fiscal first-quarter earnings after the close on Thursday. Costco stock fell on Wednesday.




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The retailer will report after a rise in gasoline and grocery prices, as supply chains remain bottlenecked or depleted. Some analysts have also raised questions over whether the stock has any juice left after running more than 48% higher for the year through late November.

Costco Earnings

Estimates: Wall Street expects Costco to earn $2.62 per share, up 14% year over year, according to FactSet. Revenue was expected to increase 15% to $49.652 billion. FactSet also forecast a 15.1% same-store sales increase for the company.

Results: Due after Thursday’s close.

Costco Stock

Costco stock dropped 2.3% to 529.67 in the stock market today. Shares reached a high of 560.78 late last month. They have eased from those levels since, but are so far finding firm support at their 21-day exponential moving average.

Oppenheimer analysts, in a research note this week, said that “as we look at COST’s prospects over the next 12-18 months, we believe the relative valuation could be stretched on a shorter-term basis due in part to a meaningful investor rotation into higher quality names lately.”

Oppenheimer remains upbeat on Costco stock. But they noted that earnings, over recent quarters, haven’t been enough to push shares higher. The firm also pointed out that Costco has fallen after six out of the past eight quarterly earnings reports.

Still, the company has a 94 Composite Rating. Its EPS Rating is 84. Stocks in IBD’s Major Discount Chains industry group have collectively gained 26.9% so far this year. Costco has been the group’s fastest climber, followed by Target (TGT), which had risen 39.1% through Tuesday.

Membership Fee Hike Coming?

Oppenheimer analysts also said that Costco stock could cool off as investors wait for a possible membership fee increase next year and, potentially, another special dividend.

Known for its warehouse layouts and bulk-sale items, Costco was one of the early gainers in the pandemic era, after customers raided shelves last year in an effort to stock up on toilet paper, cleaning products and other goods.

Since then, memberships have increased, as rising prices prompt customers to seek bargains. Net sales last month rose 15.7% from a year ago. Same-store sales rose 14.1%. The company saw gains in its grocery business, as well as segments ranging from jewelry to tires to clothing.

Costco said inflation persisted, but noted a “moderation” last month, compared to October.

With ports and warehouses clogged and shipping containers not always easy to find, Costco stock analysts say the chain’s size works to its advantage. The company, along with Target and Walmart (WMT), are chartering ships in an effort to find ways around traffic jams along the coasts.

But with wages and transportation costs rising across the retail world, smaller discounters, like Dollar General (DG) and Dollar Tree (IBD) have recently taken steps to lean into higher prices.

Along with Costco stock, Walmart lost 1.1% on Wednesday. Target fell 2.5% to 239.50, fading more than 8% below a 262.61 buy point of a cup-with-handle base, and triggering the automatic sell rule.

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