Is Costco a Buy Post Earnings?

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With shares of Costco (NASDAQ:COST) trading around $114, is COST an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Costco is engaged in the operation of membership warehouses in the United States and Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and through majority-owned subsidiaries in Taiwan and Korea. The company’s depots receive container-based shipments from manufacturers and reallocate these goods for shipment to its individual warehouses, generally in less than 24 hours. Costco’s typical warehouse format averages approximately 143,000 square feet, where many products are offered for sale in case, carton, or multiple-pack quantities only.

Costco announced today its operating results for the third quarter and the first thirty-six-weeks of fiscal 2014, ended May 11, 2014. Net sales for the quarter increased seven percent, to $25.23 billion, from $23.55 billion last year. Net sales for the first thirty-six weeks increased six percent, to $75.46 billion, from $71.10 billion last year. Net income for the quarter was $473 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, compared to $459 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, last year. Net income for the first thirty-six weeks was $1.36 billion, or $3.07 per diluted share, compared to $1.42 billion, or $3.23 per diluted share, last year. Net income for the thirty-six week period last year was positively impacted by a second quarter $62 million ($.14 per diluted share) tax benefit in connection with the portion of the special cash dividend paid in December 2012 to the Company 401(k) plan participants.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart are Mixed

Costco stock has been pulling back over the past couple of quarters. However, the stock is currently surging higher and looks set to continue. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, Costco is trading between its rising key averages which signal neutral price action in the near-term.

COST

Source: Thinkorswim

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of Costco options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

Costco options

14.83%

0%

0%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a very small amount of call and put options contracts, as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

June Options

Average

Average

July Options

Average

Average

As of today, there is an average demand from call and put buyers or sellers, all neutral over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a very small amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

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