Waiting for the Costco Earnings Report

By Dmitriy Gurkovskiy, Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets

Retail companies are among the best investment choices right before the New Year. Let’s see whether it is really true by analyzing Costco, a retail company whose Q4 earnings report is due on Dec 13.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) is the largest self-service warehouse chain across the globe and the fifth retail company in the US with the most sales. The company sells domestic appliances, foods, chemicals and cleaning agents, clothes, consumer electronics, etc. There is a loyalty program, and members get discounts. Among the members, around 90% are active customers. Costco is conquering the e-commerce world, too, but online sales contribute just 4% to the entire revenue, so the potential here is great.

The company buys products right from the manufacturers and sends them to warehouses, where they are sold to consumers. This saves time and money on multi-level distribution while maximizing the turnover and sales. Currently, there are 768 Costco warehouses in the world, including 533 in the US, 10 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 28 in the UK, 26 in Japan, 15 in South Korea, 13 in Taiwan, 10 in Australia, two in Spain, and one in France and Iceland. With Costco stock being quite choppy, it has still been a safe haven for most investors, as both the stock price and the dividends have been growing steadily. Over the last 24 months, Costco was better than such competition as Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), Kroger (NYSE: KR), and Walmart (NYSE: WMT), performing even better than S&P 500.

Costco earnings are season-based, yet its overall trend is ascending.

The debt to equity ratio is under 1.00, while the shorts are just 1.20%. Costco is interesting for investors mostly because of its dividends it’s been paying for over 15 years. In 2004, one share paid $0.10, while in 2018 it is $0.57. The share price also rose considerably, from $40 to $240, which was a great profit for long-term investors (6x+).

In November, retail sales amounted to $12.77B, which is 9.80% more than 12 months ago. The Q4 earnings report may be positive as well. Kroger (NYSE: KR), which had already reported its earnings, exceeded analysts’ expectations, which proves Costco’s report may trigger the same effect.

Fundamentally, there are no negative factors across the board, while, technically, one may want to wait for a better chance that will surely come. The report due this week is 90% likely to exceed expectations, that will push the stock upwards in the short term. However, in W1, one can see the stock has been growing abnormally since June and is well above the 200-day SMA. This is usually followed with an appropriate correction. Besides, when the stock hit $250, its volatility increased.

In terms of candlestick analysis, there are two engulfing patterns, which means the price may start falling soon. It may well test $200 and then go up again, in case there’s enough volume coming from the investors’ interest.

On D1, the stock may rise in the short term because of the good earnings report, as mentioned earlier. This is confirmed by both the support at $218 and the increase in volume. This increase, however, is becoming more and more humble over time. Thus, in case $218 gets broken out, the price may go down, which is confirmed with W1 chart. Buying COST right now expecting a good earnings report on Dec 13 is risky.

The price may rise only in case the report beats expectations, though; otherwise, the stock may fall down quickly to reach $200.

Overall, trading Costco straight away is not the best idea and will suit only those who are hunting for adrenaline. The company looks well attractive for a long-term investment next year, but waiting for a better price is the best thing you can do.

Costco is popular with hedge fund managers, too. As of late Q3, 39 hedge funds had it, including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, with Costco shares worth over $1B.

The P/E is 31.50, which means you will need quite a lot of time for your investment to prove profitable (Apple’s P/E, for instance, is 13.87). Thus, it’s better to wait until the hype comes down, and only then take a long position on Costco Wholesale Corporation.

Disclaimer

Any predictions contained herein are based on the authors’ particular opinion. This analysis shall not be treated as trading advice. RoboMarkets shall not be held Company for the results of the trades arising from relying upon trading recommendations and reviews contained herein.

Having majored in both Social Psychology and Economics, I went on to continue my education in post graduate. Later I worked as a team lead of a tech and fundamental analysis lab in the Applied System Analysis Research Institute. This helped me to acquire all necessary skills and experience to become a successful trader and analyst, as well as a portfolio manager in an investment company. I'm a pro in the financial field and the author of articles for various international media. I also hold the position of Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets.