Update (9:40 a.m.): Updated with Friday market open information.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jefferies decreased its target price on Costco Wholesale (COST) to $104, decreased its estimates and set a "hold" rating. The firm noted gross margin pressure and expense deleverage as the reasons for the move.
The stock was rising 0.26 to $113.55 at 9:39 a.m. on Friday.
Must Read: Warren Buffett's 10 Favorite Dividend StocksSTOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more. ---------- Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP (COST) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 7.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Food & Staples Retailing industry and the overall market, COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Food & Staples Retailing industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 2.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $416.00 million to $425.00 million.
- COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.63 versus $3.90 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.84 versus $4.63).
- The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.44, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that COST's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.51, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: COST Ratings Report
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