First Republic Investment Management Inc. grew its holdings in Costco Wholesale Co. (NASDAQ:COST) by 8.0% in the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 392,505 shares of the retailer’s stock after acquiring an additional 29,136 shares during the quarter. First Republic Investment Management Inc.’s holdings in Costco Wholesale were worth $95,041,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its position in shares of Costco Wholesale by 0.4% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 35,457,639 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $8,328,292,000 after acquiring an additional 158,722 shares during the period. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management lifted its position in shares of Costco Wholesale by 1.7% during the 4th quarter. Livingston Group Asset Management CO operating as Southport Capital Management now owns 10,551 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $2,149,000 after acquiring an additional 172 shares during the period. Bridge Creek Capital Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Costco Wholesale by 3.4% during the 4th quarter. Bridge Creek Capital Management LLC now owns 2,879 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $586,000 after acquiring an additional 95 shares during the period. Truewealth LLC lifted its position in shares of Costco Wholesale by 2.6% during the 4th quarter. Truewealth LLC now owns 2,216 shares of the retailer’s stock valued at $451,000 after acquiring an additional 56 shares during the period. Finally, Landsberg Bennett & Dubbaneh LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Costco Wholesale during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $407,000. 71.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts have recently issued reports on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their price target on shares of Costco Wholesale from $247.00 to $261.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 11th. Robert W. Baird lifted their price target on shares of Costco Wholesale from $250.00 to $270.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Costco Wholesale from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 7th. Loop Capital lifted their price target on shares of Costco Wholesale from $260.00 to $265.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, April 1st. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co lifted their price target on shares of Costco Wholesale from $225.00 to $240.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 9th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Eight research 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. Costco Wholesale has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $249.90.

Shares of COST opened at $248.53 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34, a current ratio of 0.96 and a quick ratio of 0.46. Costco Wholesale Co. has a 1-year low of $189.51 and a 1-year high of $251.01. The company has a market cap of $109.94 billion, a PE ratio of 36.39, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.52 and a beta of 0.94.

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) last released its earnings results on Thursday, March 7th. The retailer reported $2.01 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.67 by $0.34. The firm had revenue of $35.40 billion during the quarter. Costco Wholesale had a net margin of 2.34% and a return on equity of 25.53%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.59 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Costco Wholesale Co. will post 7.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 24th. Shareholders of record on Friday, May 10th will be paid a $0.65 dividend. This is a boost from Costco Wholesale’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.05%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, May 9th. Costco Wholesale’s payout ratio is presently 38.07%.

Costco Wholesale announced that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Friday, April 26th that permits the company to repurchase $4.00 billion in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the retailer to repurchase up to 3.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, Director John W. Meisenbach bought 3,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, April 1st. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $242.65 per share, with a total value of $727,950.00. Following the purchase, the director now owns 12,833 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,113,927.45. The purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, VP Richard A. Galanti sold 4,188 shares of Costco Wholesale stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $230.47, for a total transaction of $965,208.36. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 30,082 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,932,998.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 8,587 shares of company stock valued at $2,004,576 over the last ninety days. 0.21% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

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About Costco Wholesale

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.

Further Reading: What are Institutional Investors?

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

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