Bank of Montreal Can lessened its position in shares of Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST) by 18.1% in the 1st quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The fund owned 1,188,697 shares of the retailer’s stock after selling 262,300 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can’s holdings in Costco Wholesale were worth $287,831,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of COST. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 20,897.6% during the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 33,652,688 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $165,000 after acquiring an additional 33,492,419 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Costco Wholesale during the 4th quarter worth approximately $868,633,000. BlackRock Inc. grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 2.6% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 28,778,155 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $5,862,398,000 after acquiring an additional 736,711 shares in the last quarter. Ellis Investment Partners LLC grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 24,131.7% during the 1st quarter. Ellis Investment Partners LLC now owns 610,154 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $610,000 after acquiring an additional 607,636 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Two Sigma Advisers LP grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale by 120.7% during the 4th quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP now owns 754,195 shares of the retailer’s stock worth $153,637,000 after acquiring an additional 412,400 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.22% of the company’s stock.

In related news, VP Richard A. Galanti sold 4,188 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $230.47, for a total value of $965,208.36. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 30,082 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,932,998.54. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Susan L. Decker sold 2,049 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $232.00, for a total transaction of $475,368.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 48,589 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,272,648. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 8,587 shares of company stock valued at $2,004,576. 0.21% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several research analysts have commented on the stock. Nomura assumed coverage on shares of Costco Wholesale in a report on Wednesday, March 20th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $230.00 target price for the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upped their target price on shares of Costco Wholesale to $248.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Friday, March 8th. Deutsche Bank set a $225.00 target price on shares of Costco Wholesale and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, March 8th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Costco Wholesale from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 7th. Finally, Robert W. Baird upped their target price on shares of Costco Wholesale from $250.00 to $270.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 24th. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, seventeen have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $249.90.

COST stock opened at $244.67 on Thursday. Costco Wholesale Co. has a 12 month low of $189.51 and a 12 month high of $248.70. The firm has a market capitalization of $106.42 billion, a P/E ratio of 35.82, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.41 and a beta of 0.94. The company has a quick ratio of 0.46, a current ratio of 0.96 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34.

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, March 7th. The retailer reported $2.01 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.34. Costco Wholesale had a net margin of 2.34% and a return on equity of 25.53%. The firm had revenue of $35.40 billion during the quarter. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.59 EPS. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Costco Wholesale Co. will post 7.92 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Costco Wholesale announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Friday, April 26th that allows the company to repurchase $4.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the retailer to reacquire up to 3.8% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 24th. Investors of record on Friday, May 10th will be given a $0.65 dividend. This is an increase from Costco Wholesale’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, May 9th. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.06%. Costco Wholesale’s dividend payout ratio is 38.07%.

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

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