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Charlie Munger: Costco will 'be an absolute titan on the internet'

·Reporter
·3 min read
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Billionaire investor Charlie Munger reiterated his confidence in Costco (COST) even after the stock's record run-up.

"I've always believed that nothing was worth an infinite price. So even an admirable place like Costco could get to a price where you would say that's too high," Munger said during The Daily Journal's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

"But I would argue that, if I were investing money for some sovereign wealth fund or some pension fund, and I had a 30-, 40-, 50-year time horizon, I would buy Costco at the current price," he added. "I think it's that strong an enterprise and that admirable a place."

Munger, who serves as chairman of The Daily Journal and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has maintained a long-standing relationship with Costco and repeatedly spoken favorably of the big-box retailer.

Munger has served as a director at Costco since 1997. And while Berkshire Hathaway exited its stake in Costco in late 2020 after selling 4.3 million shares, Munger has retained a personal stake in the company. As of late 2021, he directly owned more than 167,000 shares worth nearly $81 million at the time.

Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger attends the annual Berkshire shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2019. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger attends the annual Berkshire shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2019. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Since then, the stock set an all-time high of $571.49 per share in December. Costco's stock soared by 51% in 2021, outperforming the S&P 500's nearly 27% gain over that period. The company has been a beneficiary of stay-at-home behavior and increased grocery shopping for at-home dining over the course of the pandemic, and last reported quarterly sales that jumped 17% to reach $50.4 billion for the period ended Nov. 21.

But Munger, a long-time proponent of value investing and holding stocks over extended periods of time, isn't overly concerned about Costco's valuation at current levels.

"I'm not saying I'm buying Costco at this price. But I'm certainly not selling any," Munger said. "I think it's going to be a big, powerful company as far ahead as you can see. And I think it deserves its success. I think it has a good culture and a good moral ethos. And so I wish everything else in America was working as well as Costco does. Think what a blessing that would be for us all."

Munger also argued that Costco would dominate not only as a traditional retailer, but as an online player. The company last reported quarterly e-commerce sales that grew 14.3% for the November quarter. For its latest full fiscal year that ended in August, e-commerce sales jumped 44% on a year-over-year basis.

"Costco is going to be an absolute titan on the internet, because it's got curated products that everybody trusts and huge purchasing power on a limited number of stocking units," Munger said. "So I'm not worried about it."

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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