Royal London Asset Management Ltd. purchased a new position in shares of Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST) during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor purchased 189,763 shares of the retailer’s stock, valued at approximately $39,663,000.

Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in COST. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans raised its stake in Costco Wholesale by 4.3% in the first quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 19,883 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $3,746,000 after buying an additional 826 shares in the last quarter. KBC Group NV grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 0.8% during the first quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 45,028 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $8,485,000 after purchasing an additional 342 shares during the last quarter. Cetera Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 7.0% during the first quarter. Cetera Advisors LLC now owns 7,627 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $1,440,000 after purchasing an additional 497 shares during the last quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 1.9% during the first quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 37,166 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $7,003,000 after purchasing an additional 679 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Gamco Investors INC. ET AL grew its holdings in shares of Costco Wholesale by 2.1% during the first quarter. Gamco Investors INC. ET AL now owns 13,065 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $2,462,000 after purchasing an additional 265 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 71.49% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Costco Wholesale stock traded up $5.13 during trading on Friday, hitting $226.95. 2,939,146 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,232,079. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.52, a current ratio of 1.01 and a quick ratio of 0.47. Costco Wholesale Co. has a fifty-two week low of $157.00 and a fifty-two week high of $245.16. The company has a market capitalization of $103.00 billion, a P/E ratio of 38.99, a P/E/G ratio of 2.78 and a beta of 0.95.

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 4th. The retailer reported $2.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.34 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $44.41 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $44.17 billion. Costco Wholesale had a return on equity of 24.67% and a net margin of 2.16%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 5.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $2.08 EPS. As a group, research analysts expect that Costco Wholesale Co. will post 6.8 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 14th. Shareholders of record on Friday, August 31st were paid a $0.57 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, August 30th. This represents a $2.28 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.00%. Costco Wholesale’s payout ratio is currently 39.18%.

In related news, VP James P. Murphy sold 15,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, July 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $219.22, for a total transaction of $3,288,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 33,834 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,417,089.48. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director John W. Meisenbach sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, October 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $235.81, for a total transaction of $707,430.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 8,654 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,040,699.74. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 24,000 shares of company stock valued at $5,351,100 over the last ninety days. 0.58% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

COST has been the topic of a number of research reports. Loop Capital raised their price target on Costco Wholesale to $230.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 20th. ValuEngine raised Costco Wholesale from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, June 21st. Northcoast Research lowered Costco Wholesale from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, July 6th. Wells Fargo & Co lifted their price objective on Costco Wholesale from $220.00 to $235.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, July 12th. Finally, Raymond James lifted their price objective on Costco Wholesale from $205.00 to $225.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 17th. Nine equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twenty have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $237.94.

Costco Wholesale 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST)

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