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TheStreet Open House

Why Costco (COST) Stock Rose Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Costco Wholesale (COST) shares closed trading up 0.95% to $116.31 on Tuesday after having coverage initiated with an "overweight" rating by analysts at Morgan Stanley (MS).

The firm set a price target of $134 on the company's shares citing healthy top of the line trends as a reason for the optimistic outlook.

Analysts also see the big box retailer's membership model as a buffer to the losses suffered by other retailers due to online competition.

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TheStreet Ratings team rates COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP (COST) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, increase in net income and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.42, 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 0.57, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Food & Staples Retailing industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 3.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $459.00 million to $473.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,490.00 million or 10.45% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 11.91%.
  • 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.63 versus $3.90 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 1.0% in earnings ($4.59 versus $4.63).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: COST Ratings Report
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