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How to buy Costco shares | $311.49

Own Costco shares in just a few minutes.


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Costco Wholesale Corporation is a discount stores business with stocks listed in the US. Costco shares (COST) are listed on the NASDAQ and all prices are listed in US Dollars. Its last market close was US$311.49 – an increase of 2.73% over the previous week.

How to buy shares in Costco

  1. Compare share trading platforms. To buy shares in a US company from Australia you'll need to find a trading platform that offers access to US stock markets. If you're just starting out, look for a platform with low brokerage and foreign exchange fees.
  2. Open and fund your brokerage account. Complete an application with your personal and financial details, like your ID and tax file number. Fund your account with a bank transfer, credit card or debit card.
  3. Search for Costco. Find the share by name or ticker symbol: COST. Research its history to confirm it's a solid investment against your financial goals.
  4. Purchase now or later. Buy today with a market order or use a limit order to delay your purchase until Costco reaches your desired price. To spread out your risk, look into dollar-cost averaging, which smooths out buying at consistent intervals and amounts.
  5. Decide on how many to buy. At last close price of US$311.49, weigh your budget against a diversified portfolio that can minimise risk through the market's ups and downs. You may be able to buy a fractional share of Costco, depending on your broker.
  6. Check in on your investment. Congratulations, you own a part of Costco. Optimise your portfolio by tracking how your stock — and even the business — performs with an eye on the long term. You may be eligible for dividends and shareholder voting rights on directors and management that can affect your stock.

How has coronavirus impacted Costco's share price?

Since the stock market crash in March caused by coronavirus, Costco's share price has had significant negative movement.

Its last market close was US$311.49, which is 3.25% down on its pre-crash value of US$321.95 and 14.82% up on the lowest point reached during the March crash when the shares fell as low as US$271.28.

If you had bought US$1,000 worth of Costco shares at the start of February 2020, those shares would have been worth US$945.10 at the bottom of the March crash, and if you held on to them, then as of the last market close they'd be worth US$1,031.03.

Costco share price

Use our graph to track the performance of COST stocks over time.

Costco shares at a glance

Information last updated 2020-09-13.
Latest market closeUSD$311.49
52-week rangeUSD$271.28 - USD$353.98
50-day moving average USD$339.9347
200-day moving average USD$313.8325
Target priceUSD$350.33
PE ratio 40.6136
Dividend yield USD$2.8 (0.82%)
Earnings per share (TTM) USD$8.359

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Is it a good time to buy Costco stock?

The technical analysis gauge below displays real-time ratings for the timeframes you select. This is not a recommendation, however. It represents a technical analysis based on the most popular technical indicators: Moving Averages, Oscillators and Pivots. Finder might not concur and takes no responsibility.

Costco price performance over time

Historical closes compared with the last close of $311.49

1 week (2020-09-10) -8.26%
1 month (2020-08-20) -8.62%
3 months (2020-06-19) 3.86%
6 months (2020-03-20) 7.26%
1 year (2019-09-20) 8.78%
2 years (2018-09-20) 33.16%
3 years (2017-09-20) 91.27%
5 years (2015-09-18) 119.65%

Is Costco under- or over-valued?

Valuing Costco stock is incredibly difficult, and any metric has to be viewed as part of a bigger picture of Costco's overall performance. However, analysts commonly use some key metrics to help gauge the value of a stock.

Costco's P/E ratio

Costco's current share price divided by its per-share earnings (EPS) over a 12-month period gives a "trailing price/earnings ratio" of roughly 41x. In other words, Costco shares trade at around 41x recent earnings.

That's relatively high compared to, say, the trailing 12-month P/E ratio for the NASDAQ 100 at the end of 2019 (27.29). The high P/E ratio could mean that investors are optimistic about the outlook for the shares or simply that they're over-valued.

Costco's PEG ratio

Costco's "price/earnings-to-growth ratio" can be calculated by dividing its P/E ratio by its growth – to give 4.26. A low ratio can be interpreted as meaning the shares offer better value, while a higher ratio can be interpreted as meaning the shares offer worse value.

The PEG ratio provides a broader view than just the P/E ratio, as it gives more insight into Costco's future profitability. By accounting for growth, it could also help you if you're comparing the share prices of multiple high-growth companies.

Costco's EBITDA

Costco's EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) is US$6.8 billion (£5.3 billion).

The EBITDA is a measure of a Costco's overall financial performance and is widely used to measure a its profitability.

Costco financials

Revenue TTM US$160.9 billion
Operating margin TTM 3.24%
Gross profit TTM US$19.8 billion
Return on assets TTM 6.82%
Return on equity TTM 23.51%
Profit margin 2.31%
Book value 38.055
Market capitalisation US$149.7 billion

TTM: trailing 12 months

Shorting Costco shares

There are currently 3.9 million Costco shares held short by investors – that's known as Costco's "short interest". This figure is 2.1% down from 4.0 million last month.

There are a few different ways that this level of interest in shorting Costco shares can be evaluated.

Costco's "short interest ratio" (SIR)

Costco's "short interest ratio" (SIR) is the quantity of Costco shares currently shorted divided by the average quantity of Costco shares traded daily (recently around 2.7 million). Costco's SIR currently stands at 1.48. In other words for every 100,000 Costco shares traded daily on the market, roughly 1480 shares are currently held short.

However Costco's short interest can also be evaluated against the total number of Costco shares, or, against the total number of tradable Costco shares (the shares that aren't held by "insiders" or major long-term shareholders – also known as the "float"). In this case Costco's short interest could be expressed as 0.01% of the outstanding shares (for every 100,000 Costco shares in existence, roughly 10 shares are currently held short) or 0.0065% of the tradable shares (for every 100,000 tradable Costco shares, roughly 7 shares are currently held short).

Such a low SIR usually points to an optimistic outlook for the share price, with fewer people currently willing to bet against Costco.

Find out more about how you can short Costco stock.

Costco's environmental, social and governance track record

Environmental, social and governance (known as ESG) criteria are a set of three factors used to measure the sustainability and social impact of companies like Costco.

When it comes to ESG scores, lower is better, and lower scores are generally associated with lower risk for would-be investors.

Costco's total ESG risk score

Total ESG risk: 21.78

Socially conscious investors use ESG scores to screen how an investment aligns with their worldview, and Costco's overall score of 21.78 (as at 07/31/2020) is pretty good – landing it in it in the 33rd percentile of companies rated in the same sector.

ESG scores are increasingly used to estimate the level of risk a company like Costco is exposed to within the areas of "environmental" (carbon footprint, resource use etc.), "social" (health and safety, human rights etc.), and "governance" (anti-corruption, tax transparency etc.).

Costco's environmental score

Environmental score: 3.79/100

Costco's environmental score of 3.79 puts it squarely in the 3rd percentile of companies rated in the same sector. This could suggest that Costco is a leader in its sector terms of its environmental impact, and exposed to a lower level of risk.

Costco's social score

Social score: 12.72/100

Costco's social score of 12.72 puts it squarely in the 3rd percentile of companies rated in the same sector. This could suggest that Costco is a leader in its sector when it comes to taking good care of its workforce and the communities it impacts.

Costco's governance score

Governance score: 6.27/100

Costco's governance score puts it squarely in the 3rd percentile of companies rated in the same sector. That could suggest that Costco is a leader in its sector when it comes to responsible management and strategy, and exposed to a lower level of risk.

Costco's controversy score

Controversy score: 3/5

ESG scores also evaluate any incidences of controversy that a company has been involved in. Costco scored a 3 out of 5 for controversy – a middle-of-the-table result reflecting that Costco hasn't always managed to keep its nose clean.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) summary

Costco Wholesale Corporation was last rated for ESG on: 2020-08-01.

Total ESG score 21.78
Total ESG percentile 32.7
Environmental score 3.79
Environmental score percentile 3
Social score 12.72
Social score percentile 3
Governance score 6.27
Governance score percentile 3
Level of controversy 3

Costco share dividends


Dividend payout ratio: 31.7% of net profits

Recently Costco has paid out, on average, around 31.7% of net profits as dividends. That has enabled analysts to estimate a "forward annual dividend yield" of 0.82% of the current stock value. This means that over a year, based on recent payouts (which are sadly no guarantee of future payouts), Costco shareholders could enjoy a 0.82% return on their shares, in the form of dividend payments. In Costco's case, that would currently equate to about $2.8 per share.

While Costco's payout ratio might seem fairly standard, it's worth remembering that Costco may be investing much of the rest of its net profits in future growth.

Costco's most recent dividend payout was on 13 August 2020. The latest dividend was paid out to all shareholders who bought their shares by 29 July 2020 (the "ex-dividend date").

Have Costco's shares ever split?

Costco's shares were split on a 2:1 basis on 13 January 2000. So if you had owned 1 share the day before before the split, the next day you'd have owned 2 shares. This wouldn't directly have changed the overall worth of your Costco shares – just the quantity. However, indirectly, the new 50% lower share price could have impacted the market appetite for Costco shares which in turn could have impacted Costco's share price.

Costco share price volatility

Over the last 12 months, Costco's shares have ranged in value from as little as US$271.28 up to US$353.98. A popular way to gauge a stock's volatility is its "beta".

COST.US volatility(beta: 0.69)Avg. volatility(beta: 1.00)LowHigh

Beta is a measure of a share's volatility in relation to the market. The market (NASDAQ average) beta is 1, while Costco's is 0.6901. This would suggest that Costco's shares are less volatile than average (for this exchange).

Costco overview

Costco Wholesale Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates membership warehouses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Australia, Spain, France, Iceland, China, and Taiwan. 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, and deli products, as well as produce; and apparel and small appliances. It also operates gas stations, pharmacies, optical dispensing centers, food courts, and hearing-aid centers; and offers business delivery, travel, and various other services online in various countries. As of September 1, 2019, the company operated 782 warehouses, including 543 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 100 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 16 in South Korea, 13 in Taiwan, 11 in Australia, 2 in Spain, 1 in Iceland, 1 in France, and 1 in China. It also operates e-commerce Websites in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, South Korea, and Taiwan. The company was formerly known as Costco Companies, Inc. and changed its name to Costco Wholesale Corporation in August 1999. Costco Wholesale Corporation was founded in 1976 and is based in Issaquah, Washington.

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