Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) Chicken Salad Sickens Close to 20 Nationwide – Stock Takes a Bit of a Tumble

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I must admit that Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) is one of my favorite places to shop. I get most of my food there on a weekly basis. The quality of meat, vegetables and fruit are always of the utmost quality. However, for close to 20 shoppers at Costco stores nationwide, they may be in disagreement today, after apparently falling ill to E. coli, which has been linked to rotisserie chicken salad from the wholesale store.

This particular strain of E. coli can be life-threatening, especially in the elderly and very young, but thankfully no deaths have bene reported due to this current outbreak as of yet. States which have been effected, according to reports are California, Virginia, Missouri, Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Montana.
The stock is down 0.28% or $0.46 after the negative news, hitting $161.73 per share. About 37,241 shares traded hands. COST has risen 10.11% since April 23, 2015 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 11.12% the S&P500.

Out of 10 analysts covering Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST), 6 rate it “Buy”, 0 “Sell”, while 4 “Hold”. This means 60% are positive. $185 is the highest target while $144.0 is the lowest. The $165.44 average target is 2.29% above today’s ($161.73) stock price. Costco Wholesale was the topic in 14 analyst reports since August 24, 2015 according to StockzIntelligence Inc. Citigroup initiated the stock on November 9 with “Neutral” rating. JP Morgan maintained it with “Overweight” rating and $162 target price in an October 5 report. Northcoast downgraded the shares of COST in a report on November 3 to “Neutral” rating. Sterne Agee CRT maintained the firm’s rating on October 2. Sterne Agee CRT has “Buy” rating and $154 price target. Finally, Williams Capital Group maintained the stock with “Hold” rating in an October 23 report.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.04 in Q2 2015. Its up 0.04, from 1 in 2015Q1. The ratio is positive, as 71 funds sold all Costco Wholesale Corporation shares owned while 405 reduced positions. 95 funds bought stakes while 402 increased positions. They now own 311.73 million shares or 18.82% less from 384.01 million shares in 2015Q1.

Sterling Global Strategies Llc holds 12.24% of its portfolio in Costco Wholesale Corporation for 26,883 shares. Greenbrier Partners Capital Management Llc owns 225,000 shares or 7.5% of their US portfolio. Moreover, Caprock Group Inc. has 6.3% invested in the company for 50,906 shares. The North Carolina-based Capital Investment Counsel Inc has invested 6.25% in the stock. Cadinha & Co Llc, a Hawaii-based fund reported 223,758 shares.

Since March 9, 2015, the stock had 0 buys, and 8 insider sales for $16.68 million net activity. Schutt Douglas W sold 25,000 shares worth $3.92 million. Libenson Richard M sold 7,790 shares worth $1.21M. Portera Joseph P sold 10,000 shares worth $1.53 million. Mckay John D sold 6,779 shares worth $1.04M. The insider Zook Dennis R sold 9,000 shares worth $1.39 million.

Costco Wholesale Corporation is engaged in the operation of membership warehouses in the United States (U.S.) and Puerto Rico, Canada, United Kingdom (U.K.), Mexico, Japan, Australia, Spain, and through majority-owned subsidiaries in Taiwan and Korea. The company has a market cap of $70.74 billion. The Firm operated 663 membership warehouses and an average warehouse is approximately 144,000 square feet. It has 30.12 P/E ratio. The Company’s warehouses generally operate on a seven-day, 69-hour week.

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