U.S. markets open in 8 hours 1 minute
  • S&P Futures

    4,133.25
    -20.25 (-0.49%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    32,970.00
    -185.00 (-0.56%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    13,993.75
    -41.25 (-0.29%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    2,215.90
    -14.70 (-0.66%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    71.88
    +0.24 (+0.34%)
     
  • Gold

    1,770.70
    +1.70 (+0.10%)
     
  • Silver

    25.83
    -0.14 (-0.55%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1867
    +0.0001 (+0.01%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.4500
    0.0000 (0.00%)
     
  • Vix

    20.70
    +2.95 (+16.62%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3802
    -0.0006 (-0.05%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    109.8210
    -0.3290 (-0.30%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    34,088.05
    -1,787.90 (-4.98%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    844.65
    -95.29 (-10.14%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,017.47
    -135.96 (-1.90%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    27,936.03
    -1,028.05 (-3.55%)
     

Is Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) A Good Investment Choice?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Ensemble Capital, an investment management firm, published its “Ensemble Fund” first quarter 2021 investor letter – a copy of which can be seen here. A return of 3.80% was delivered by the fund in the Q1 of 2021, below its S&P 500 benchmark that delivered a 6.17% return in the same period. You can view the fund’s top 5 holdings to have a peek at their top bets for 2021.

Ensemble Capital, in their Q1 2021 investor letter, mentioned Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) and shared their insights on the company. Costco Wholesale Corporation is an Issaquah, Washington-based big-box store company that currently has a $164.7 billion market capitalization. Since the beginning of the year, COST delivered a -1.24% return, while its 12-month gains are up by 20.27%. As of April 20, 2021, the stock closed at $371.73 per share.

Here is what Ensemble Capital has to say about Costco Wholesale Corporation in their Q1 2021 investor letter:

"We saw these dynamics at play in the Fund. Some of the worst-performing stocks this quarter were among our best performers in Q1 2020. Another example was the market’s reaction to Costco Wholesale (1.5% weight in the Fund) during the quarter. From December 31, 2020 to March 8th, Costco shares declined 17% and dropped below their pre-pandemic high. The common rationale offered by sell-side analysts was that Costco would face difficult one-year “comps” (i.e. same-store sales, which compare sales from stores open for at least a year). Because so many consumers rushed to Costco ahead of shelter-in-place and subsequent quarantines, it will be harder for Costco to meaningfully beat those results when compared year-over-year. That may indeed be true, but we struggle to understand how Costco could be “less valuable” than it was a year earlier when it concurrently increased its membership base by over 7%, or 3.9 million members. With membership renewal rates around 90%, the vast majority of the new customers Costco brought in last year will be around for years to come.

Analysts also complained about Costco raising its already industry-leading minimum wage to $16/hour, with an average “effective” pay of $23-$24/hour when you include overtime and bonuses. Costco paying its employees “too much” has been a common gripe of Wall Street analysts for at least two decades. While the extra pay does indeed impact short-term profit margins, it also serves to make Costco more durable, as its flywheel (i.e. a virtuous value cycle) starts with happy employees. A 20-year chart of Costco stock price is evidence that this strategy works and we’re confident that it will continue to work."

costco, store, club, membership, sign, night, department, kirkland, corporation, sell, ontario, merchandise, retail, corporate, warehouse, business, buyer, canada, bright,
costco, store, club, membership, sign, night, department, kirkland, corporation, sell, ontario, merchandise, retail, corporate, warehouse, business, buyer, canada, bright,

Niloo / Shutterstock.com

Our calculations show that Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) does not belong in our list of the 30 Most Popular Stocks Among Hedge Funds. As of the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, Costco Wholesale Corporation was in 61 hedge fund portfolios, compared to 73 funds in the third quarter. COST delivered a 3.35% return in the past 3 months.

The top 10 stocks among hedge funds returned 231.2% between 2015 and 2020, and outperformed the S&P 500 Index ETFs by more than 126 percentage points. We know it sounds unbelievable. You have been dismissing our articles about top hedge fund stocks mostly because you were fed biased information by other media outlets about hedge funds’ poor performance. You could have doubled the size of your nest egg by investing in the top hedge fund stocks instead of dumb S&P 500 ETFs. Here you can watch our video about the top 5 hedge fund stocks right now. All of these stocks had positive returns in 2020.

At Insider Monkey, we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, Federal Reserve has been creating trillions of dollars electronically to keep the interest rates near zero. We believe this will lead to inflation and boost real estate prices. So, we recommended this real estate stock to our monthly premium newsletter subscribers. We go through lists like the 15 best innovative stocks to buy to pick the next Tesla that will deliver a 10x return. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our website:

Disclosure: None. This article is originally published at Insider Monkey.