Will Costco Continue to Grow in a Slow Economy?

With shares of Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) trading around $99.49, is COST an OUTPERFORM, a WAIT AND SEE, or a STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

E = Equity to Debt Ratio is Close to Zero

Costco’s debt-to-equity ratio of 0.11 looks pretty good in any light, and compares favorably to its major competitors. We also need to consider total debt and total cash on hand, which for Costco is $1.37 billion in debt and $5.58 billion in cash.

This compares to Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT), which has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.13, with total debt of $18.62 billion and cash of $1.48 billion, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), which has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, with $57.9 billion in total debt, and $8.64 billion in cash.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart are Strong.

The stock price was recently 2.73 percent above its 20-day simple moving average, or SMA; 7.20 percent above its 50-day SMA; and 13.69 percent above its 200-day SMA.

Since the beginning of 2012 the stock price has been in a fairly pronounced upward trend, rising 29.02 percent this year-to-date and rising 30.99 percent year-over-year.

As a benchmark, the S&P 500 has risen 13.72 percent year-to-date, and has risen 14.99 percent year-over-year.

For comparison, shares of Target have come up 18 percent this year to date, while shares of Wal-Mart have come up 16.18 percent for the period.