145912151Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) is set to report earnings on Thursday morning, likely before about 95% of the nation even wakes up. What investors need to know is that the price of Costco stock just hit an all-time high on Tuesday of $115.77 even if the shares are currently closer to $113. Our view is that this company earnings report is likely priced for perfection.

Costco shares have traded in a 52-week range of $85.17 to $115.77 and Costco's market cap is now over $49 billion. Even after the pullback, investors need to know that the consensus price target here is only $109.20. Analysts will either have to downgrade the stock on valuation or they will have to yet again make the decision to ratchet their earnings estimates and their price targets higher to justify the new calls.

We would warn investors that banking too much on this last quarter is probably not warranted as it is considered to be the throwaway quarter in the retail segment. Thomson Reuters has estimates at $1.03 EPS and $24.23 billion in revenue. For the coming quarter, the estimates are $1.47 EPS and $33.16 billion in sales.

Another note is that Costco stock options are basically factoring in a move of about $3.00 in either direction. Unfortunately, the stock chart is of little use because the 50-day moving average is down all the way at $107.89.

Costco shares were up about 16% so far in 2013 on last look ahead of earnings. Its current valuation is about 25-times the expected fiscal August-2013 earnings estimate.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, Retail Tagged: COST

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Better prospects lie ahead for the company run by descendants of Costco's founders when it was known as Price Club. US-based Pricesmart (PSMT) runs similar stores in many Latin American countries almost without competition, much room to grow and pays a sort of halfway decent dividend.

May 29 2013 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply