308.10 -0.19 (-0.06%)
After hours: 5:39PM EDT
Price Crosses Moving Average
|Bid||308.27 x 1100|
|Ask||308.54 x 900|
|Day's Range||306.46 - 309.70|
|52 Week Range||238.08 - 325.26|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.70|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||36.19|
|Earnings Date||May 28, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||2.80 (0.91%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Apr 30, 2020|
|1y Target Est||323.96|
Walmart stores suffer damage from the George Floyd protesting and looting in some cases.
Target takes steps to protect its workers and shoppers during the civil unrest sweeping the United States.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As the coronavirus forced the western world into lockdown in March, humans were confronted with a moral test. Drawing on centuries of philosophical thought that produced the world’s competing modern value systems, each person had to decide which measures were justified to limit the medical and economic carnage. There was plenty of possibility for discord.Initially, people and leaders coalesced around a version of the biblical philosophy of the “golden rule” — that we should not do to others what we wouldn’t want done to ourselves. That was the basis for asking everyone to make personal and economic sacrifices to limit the death and suffering of the weakest and oldest. Governments of the left and the right made that choice, strongly supported by religious leaders up to and including the Pope.At the time, I wrote, “We are all Rawlsians now,” invoking the Harvard philosopher John Rawls who 50 years ago put a version of the golden rule at the heart of his influential theory of justice.I was wrong. Now the brief weeks of Rawlsian unity have given way to a bitter factional and cultural battle, with rival moral principles hurled like metaphysical grenades. Different countries have taken antithetical approaches while the U.S. has split itself almost into two nations, divided between those who wear masks and those who do not.“Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” Meshawn Maddock, an unmasked protester in Michigan proclaimed to Fox News.Masks, which were not at first recommended by the public-health authorities in the U.S., have created the deepest fault line. “Mask-shaming” started as a tactic by government-supporting mask-wearers. Early in the lockdowns, Jorge Elorza, a law professor who serves as the Democratic mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, encouraged people to speak up if they saw someone in public without a face mask. “You should socially shame them, so they fall in line,” he said.Meanwhile in Texas, chat-show host Brenden Dilley donned a Trump 2020 cap and took to Twitter to explain why he was not wearing a mask. “Better to be dead than a dork,” he said, throwing in some F-bombs for emphasis. “Yes, I mean that literally. I’d rather die than look like an idiot right now, you weakling.”It took North Dakota’s Republican governor Doug Burgum to remind citizens tearfully that those wearing masks might be doing so to protect a loved one who was vulnerable.What has gone wrong? What has the virus revealed about the moral principles that motivate us? The story can be told with the aid of an allegory, a novel by Steven Lukes, a British political philosopher who now teaches at New York University, called "The Curious Enlightenment of Professor Caritat."Professor Caritat’s JourneyLukes’s allegory is simple but devastatingly effective. Professor Caritat is an expert in enlightenment philosophy in the country of Militaria, which emphasizes order above all else, and sounds like contemporary China. He is imprisoned for his subversive beliefs. Members of the opposition spring him from jail and send him on a trek through the neighboring countries of Utilitaria, Communitaria and Libertaria in search of the best way to run society. Everybody knows that they hate the military government, but what should they replace it with?These countries follow three great schools of moral thought:Utilitarians, following the Victorian reformer Jeremy Bentham, who believe in pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number, even if such an approach may bring harm to some. Communitarians, who believe that the sense of moral duty is rooted in a sense of community, and look for a concept of “common good.” Libertarians, who believe that individual freedom is paramount, and therefore resist attempts at paternalism or coercion. In Lukes’s words, “Each of these countries takes one of these ideas to an extreme to the exclusion of the others, and each one is a dystopia.”In Utilitaria, which is gleaming and prosperous, the elderly are routinely put to a humane death. Abortion is legal but decided on by the government, which rules whether any given birth would aid the general happiness.In Communitaria, everyone is divided into narrow camps, and it is almost impossible to do or say anything without causing offense (which will be punished as a crime).In Libertaria, which calls the contemporary U.S. to mind, citizens are left alone, which means that many are left to sleep on the street, city centers are full of sleaze, and a few rich people benefit from gambling.It is a brilliant tour of moral thought, and Lukes told me the book was most influenced by Isaiah Berlin, the 20th-century British philosopher and essayist. Both Berlin and Rawls were present at the lectures in which Lukes first told the fables of the different countries that would become the novel.“The book is really about pluralism: Is there an irreducible conflict between these values?” Lukes said. “Rawls is an attempt to somehow bring them together to give an overarching theory that somehow encompasses everything. You could contrast that with Berlin’s position that these are irreducible conflicts that aren’t going to be resolved, because that’s what life is. Instead you just have to choose what your ultimate values are.”By the end of Lukes’s allegory, Professor Caritat has come around to the Berlin point of view: The conflicts between these competing moral systems can’t be resolved.And looking at the real-life allegory acting itself out in the U.S., Berlin again seems to have been proven right. We are not arriving at a position of moral coherence, but instead confront moral conflict. How did this happen?Rawlsian PhantomsIt’s evident now that those early days of Rawlsian unity were an illusion. Yes, the calls for sacrifice to protect the elderly certainly sounded as though motivated by the golden rule. But in the months since, the scandal of those abandoned to die in nursing homes on both sides of the Atlantic has only grown.Moreover, getting people to sacrifice in the name of the golden rule requires trust in governments to make sure that those sacrifices are not wasted. In many places, that doesn’t exist. The deepening inequality across the western world would have been anathema to Rawls. In the U.S., long-standing casualties of inequality such as African-Americans and Native Americans turned out to be particularly susceptible to the virus, so the pandemic began to reinforce existing feelings of injustice.Other than in countries where the state could rely on its ability to coerce people, like China, lockdowns worked most effectively under governments perceived to be trustworthy and efficient, like Germany or Norway. In Norway, people believed that enforced self-isolation would pay off. In the U.S., public-health failures blazed a trail of skepticism.When governments are perceived to be unfair or inconsistent, Rawlsian discipline breaks down. Exhibit A is the remarkable story of Dominic Cummings, the Svengali-like political adviser to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Britain has a strong tradition of accepting authority, and the population had complied with a strict lockdown with minimal protest — until it was revealed that Cummings had broken the lockdown rules to drive 260 miles with his wife and child when he thought the family might have contracted Covid-19. It led to an outcry, especially as Johnson refused to dismiss him, claiming that Cummings had been concerned for his family and was entitled to use his discretion (opening the way for many more Britons to stop social distancing), and Cummings refused to apologize.For the many Britons who had gone without funerals or visits to elderly parents, this was a fatal philosophical blow. If Cummings had broken the golden rule, and the government had supported him, there was no reason why they should follow. The ministers defending Cummings were “telling the nation that Dom’s only crime was loving his family too much — and so implicitly telling every Briton who obeyed the rules that they loved their family too little,” the columnist Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian.A final problem for self-sacrifice a la Rawls was that people felt that governments were asking too much, stretching the golden rule too far. Ashley Radcliffe, a stay-at-home mother from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods put it this way in an interview with the Detroit Free Press:The restrictions are too much. People want to work. They want their lives back. In the first couple weeks I was like, 'We're all staying in.' And we all did. Then that kind of wore off. She has restarted neighborhood play dates for her 5-year-old son. Liberty? Which Kind?Resisting authority is one thing. Fighting for liberty is another. Much depends upon exactly what liberty means, and Isaiah Berlin framed that moral debate. In a famous 1959 essay called "Two Concepts of Liberty," Berlin suggested that libertarians practiced either “positive” liberty, which entails the active freedom to do something, or “negative” liberty, which is freedom from interference. His point was that these two kinds of liberty are different. The U.S. Constitution is rooted in negative liberty, the freedom to be left alone. But the protesters who entered the Michigan capitol in Lansing with assault rifles in April and May were plainly pursuing positive liberty. Berlin, who was born in Latvia in 1909 when it was part of the Russian empire, believed that opened doors to totalitarianism.What, in any case, do the protesters want? A mandatory lockdown clearly violates any definition of liberty, but can this really be said of requiring people to wear a mask when entering a shop? In one incident, a man was caught on video demanding the right to enter a Costco unmasked “because I woke up in a free country.” In Albany, Minnesota, chanting protesters tried to pull the mask off a reporter, asserting their positive liberty to violate his negative liberty. Various people have been caught on camera deliberately coughing or spitting on people asking them to put on a mask.Libertarians often face criticism that they are justifying selfishness, and disregard for others. Such incidents confirm the stereotype and embarrass many libertarians. Resistance against incursions by an untrustworthy state does not justify violence against people who wear masks, or even going maskless in public. As Lukes put it: “You are putting other people in danger and you are putting yourself in danger. If liberty just means no restraint on something we might want to do, there are obvious deprivations of liberty that are totally justified. Like driving drunk.”Positive liberty also violates many American conservatives’ respect for their community and its norms, even if they share an instinctive distrust of over-reaching governments. Gary Adkisson, publisher of the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, wrote of how he would arrive dirty from work in the fields at a store with a “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” sign: There were rarely any other shoppers there, but my grandfather or uncles would not let us go inside shirtless or shoeless. It didn’t matter that no one else was there, or that the shirts were no cleaner than our skin, or that we would take them off as soon as we left. We wore them because that’s what the proprietor required. It was a matter of respect.Opposition to lockdowns and masks is led by libertarians, but — much as Berlin might have predicted — self-isolation also runs afoul of communitarian and utilitarian ideals. Communitarians, on the right as well as the left, sense that lockdowns violate traditions and harm the community. Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, was articulating a communitarian spirit when he said on a Sunday talk show: “We take the virus very seriously. It’s a risk. It causes death. But you can’t cloister yourself at home. That is just contrary to the American spirit.”And of course there is the powerful utilitarian argument that lockdowns are wrecking the economy. That can be attacked as preferring profit to people, but record unemployment numbers suggest a real risk of a mental health crisis that could counterbalance the public-health benefits of reducing the Covid-19 death toll. In Italy, where the disease swamped hospitals for a time, doctors resorted to utilitarian rationing of care.None of the great schools of philosophy appears to have been deemed adequate on its own for the great test posed by the pandemic. Principles and TribesIf no version of moral philosophy has triumphed, what ideas are left standing? Is rhetorical allegiance to principles, such as the golden rule, liberty or the “American way,” just a cover for tribalism? As the virus has so far hit the geographical regions where one tribe of Americans lives, while mostly sparing the other, principles tend to rationalize behavior instead of guiding it. For people in the densely populated cities of the Acela corridor, who tend to be politically liberal, wearing masks and following government instructions seems like a good idea. For the more sparsely populated states in the middle of the country, whose citizens are philosophically more inclined to distrust the government, it is different.“People can vote or take political positions for a whole variety of motives,” said Lukes. “But nevertheless, when it comes to justifying their ideas they reach out for principles. Whether those principles are truly important to them is different.”And that is what has happened. Governments, with some exceptions, couldn’t persuade their people that they were really following the golden rule and treating everyone with equal respect. They also failed to prove that it was worth doing so. Protesters lost their patience, and misused the notion of liberty as a cudgel against lockdowns, while also bringing valid utilitarian, communitarian and libertarian criticisms into the fray. All may claim to be motivated by principle. But in the U.S., at least, people seem to be taking refuge in tribes, and joining those with whom they already share grievances.At this point, it looks as though Isaiah Berlin has been proven right.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.John Authers is a senior editor for markets. Before Bloomberg, he spent 29 years with the Financial Times, where he was head of the Lex Column and chief markets commentator. He is the author of “The Fearful Rise of Markets” and other books.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Everyone loves a story that makes sense, Jim Cramer told viewers of his Mad Money program Friday night, but sometimes the confusing stories make for the biggest opportunities. In the daily bar chart of COST, below, we can see that since February the stock has traded in a tighter and tighter high/low range. The On-Balance-Volume (OBV) line has declined into May and the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) oscillator has recently been holding around the zero line.
Costco (NASDAQ: COST) recently announced fiscal second-quarter earnings results that included some minor letdowns for investors. Customer traffic posted a rare decline in the period despite surging demand in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic containment efforts. The warehouse retailer also noted a slightly lower core gross profit margin, as it maintained low prices on in-demand products like consumer electronics.
Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) last week reported its latest quarterly results, which makes it a good time...
Both were greeted with derision and a cascade of selling from the flock of disappointed souls. I'm going the other way, the way history tells us to go.
• President Donald Trump said his administration would sanction Chinese officials over their actions in Hong Kong and that the U.S. would sever ties with the World Health Organization. • Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York City is on track to begin the first phase of reopening on June 8. • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday indicated he was a little less tense about the economy and the coronavirus crisis than he was during the early days of the pandemic, but said he is still concerned about a potential “second wave” of the outbreak.
Investors were slightly concerned Friday morning about some of the geopolitical pressures that are starting to make their way into the financial market. In particular, moves from China to change its relationship with Hong Kong aren't sitting well with some U.S. government officials, and the potential for icier relations between China and the U.S. reawakened fears from last year's trade disputes. On the earnings front, investors had to deal with some bad news from a couple of high-profile companies.
The major stock indexes were mixed ahead of President Trump's news conference on China Friday. Twitter escalated its feud with President Trump.
For many analysts, the softer spots of the report, combined with a higher valuation, were enough for them to stay on the sidelines.
Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi, Alexis Christoforous, and Heidi Chung break down the market action for Costco.
Fiscal third-quarter revenue beat expectations, though COVID-19 impacts caused an April comparable-sales drop that marked the first year-over-year decrease in over a decade.
(Friday Market Open) It's often said that markets climb a wall of worry. Well, it feels like there's a lot to worry about this morning, and that's slowing the long rally heading into the weekend.A weaker tone took hold overnight as investors awaited the administration's latest words on China. The talk has been heating up and today we might find out what sort of action--if any--the White House plans to take at President Trump's news conference.Depending on what President Trump announces and any counterpoint China takes, things could get nastier pretty fast in their relationship and scramble an already struggling global economy even more. This nervousness could be reflected in crude being down this morning and people coming in to buy bonds.Compounding the uncertainty, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. ET today. It's not a formal speech, just what's called a "conversation" with a moderator at Princeton University. Still, you never know what Powell might say that's potentially market-moving.In addition, this is the last day of the month, which sometimes means a little profit-taking and possible higher volatility. Cboe Volatility Index futures (/VX) crept above 30 early on. Yesterday saw three-day winning streaks snapped for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) and a five-day victory streak ended for the Russell 2000 Index (RUT). Bonds are higher this morning as caution creeps in.Investors are punishing Costco (NASDAQ: COST) this morning despite revenue that beat Wall Street's expectations and a comparable sales rise of almost 8%. One issue might be that competitors like Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Target (NYSE: TGT) had double-digit same-store growth. Also, COST's comparable sales fell in April, and the company had higher expenses as it paid out overtime and implemented safety measures.It looks like COST benefitted from people stocking up during the crisis, so maybe there's some concern that sales got pulled forward and might not be as strong with the economy now reopening on so many fronts. On an interesting note, 4% fewer people visited COST stores but spent an average of 9.3% more per transaction.Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) shares also took a licking in pre-market trading as the company beat earnings forecasts but trimmed their forecast.Can We Hope for a "Turn-Around Friday?" That was an ugly close yesterday, no doubt about it. Luckily, there's still a day left this week and month to see if the market can leave a better taste in our mouths heading into the weekend.The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) were among those hardest hit late Thursday by the China fears, though they've all generally managed to do pretty well throughout the combined crisis of last year's trade war and this year's pandemic.The other thing that possibly tripped up stocks late yesterday might have been thoughts that the market has just come too far, too fast. It's the end of the month, and sometimes investors and money managers take the opportunity to reassess when they arrive at these kinds of junctures. Also, it's a time when you often see profit-taking. That's why you can't necessarily rule out another ugly close today.A Merry May, at Least for Wall Street Even if things skid a bit, it's hard to get too disappointed about the way May went. Both the $DJI and SPX managed to consolidate the sharp gains they made in April and move above areas of key technical resistance despite a constant background of horrible data and some rough earnings reports. As of Thursday's close, the SPX had advanced 4% in May and was back above 3000 and above its 200-day moving average for the first time since early March.Some of the sectors that had revived in recent days, like Financials and Industrials, hit the dirt on Thursday as investors headed back into more cautious sectors like Utilities and Staples. That went counter to May's encouraging trend that saw Industrials, Communication Services, Financials, Energy, and Materials all climb double-digits since April 30. When you see these sectors outpacing the "defensive" ones like Real Estate and Utilities as well as Information Technology--the market's favorite security blanket the last few years--it can suggest many investors see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.Whether they're right remains to be seen, and June could be a month that goes a long way toward providing some answers. The pandemic still rules the roost, as anyone who saw the devastating jobless claims yesterday would probably acknowledge. While some jobs appear to be coming back, that's not too evident yet in the numbers. Without jobs returning, sentiment could remain on the mat. That's a terrible situation not only for those without employment but also for consumer demand that drives so much of the corporate earnings picture.After climbing more than 35% combined in April and May from the late-March lows, it wouldn't be too surprising to see a bit of a "June swoon," especially considering that summer is historically a weaker time for the markets. That said, there's still a lot of money on the sidelines, and investors probably don't have many other great choices right now if they're looking for yield. The bond market still shows no real sign of giving up ground in a way that might make yields there more attractive to investors.One Canary Took Wing This Month Another thing investors probably shouldn't ignore is the amazing May performance of the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) of small-cap stocks. While the RUT took a major blow yesterday, it's up 11% so far this month, way better than the SPX. As we've been noting, small-caps can sometimes be a canary in a coal mine for the economy. If they keep putting on a show like this in June, that could send a positive signal even if larger-caps can't find new traction.This continues to be a headline-driven market, especially with earnings season basically done and so much worry around the virus. Any headline, good or bad, could trip things up or light a fire under the market on any given day, as we saw yesterday with some of the social media stocks like Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) getting slammed by word of an executive order from President Trump pertaining to the industry.What faces investors next week? First of all, there's the May jobs report coming up next Friday. Some might say this one isn't as important as the one in early July, which will show more impact from reopenings. Still, any payroll report is bound to get a lot of attention in this stumbling economy, and the challenge could be trying to find anything positive to take home from it. We'll talk more about that in days to come.Next week also brings May auto sales and the ISM manufacturing index for May. The ISM fell to 41.5% for April, the lowest since early 2009. Every key index--including new orders, production, employment, and order backlogs--sank dramatically. With the May report this coming Monday, any improvement might be welcomed as a possible sign of life for the economy. We'll have to wait and see. CHART OF THE DAY: WHAT NEXT? This three-month chart compares the S&P 500 Index (SPX--candlestick) with its 200-day moving average (blue line) and 50-day moving average (red line). Note the 50-day fell below the 200-day soon after the SPX made its low in late March, but just recently has begun bending a bit back toward the 200-day. It took quite a rally to get the 50-day to move upward, so it will be interesting to see if the two lines can continue to converge and possibly cross over--which would be a bullish sign. Data Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices. Chart source: The thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.Change of the Guard? The situation arguably looks a little healthier now if you're someone who doesn't like to see too much concentration in one area of the market. Going into the week, about 90% of stocks in the SPX were trading above their 50-day moving averages. As one analyst noted, when you see that happen historically, it's often been a good omen for the year ahead.What seems to be happening is a rotation by some investors out of the Consumer Staples, Technology, and Health Care stocks that put a charge into the rally, and into some areas that got less love recently like Financials and Industrials (at least until yesterday). You could look at this as a rotation out of growth and into "value," to some degree, but it's way too early to call it a trend. Value stocks are typically thought of as well-run and fundamentally sound companies whose shares have been taken down more than they deserve due to overriding issues in their sector or because many investors ran to embrace more "exciting" stocks elsewhere.Flying Away: While you never want to see people lose jobs--especially when so many already have--investors seemed to view this week's Boeing (BA) layoffs as good news for the company. No one likely needs to be reminded of how far BA's shares have sunk, so the idea of cost-cutting might have gotten some people excited about the stock. However, this isn't your "father's BA," to use that old phrase. It's likely to be a more slimmed-down company in the future, which raises questions of whether market cap could ever return to the January 2019 highs from before the 737 MAX shutdown.Also, If you're hoping for good news about the airline industry, BA didn't have much optimism to offer this week when it announced those layoffs. Instead, BA's CEO talked about how it could take years for the industry to recover from the pandemic's impact. Speaking of which, despite recent rallies for many of the airline stocks, most aren't incredibly far off their March lows and continued to trail the broader market during this long rally. Anyone thinking of "bargain-hunting" by going after a beaten-down airline stock should understand the risk they're taking, especially with those companies in the business that are most highly-leveraged. Some analysts continue to warn that bankruptcies can't be ruled out, and it might be survival of the fittest.Marching in Place: You might want to consider keeping an eye on the U.S. Dollar Index ($DXY) in the coming days and weeks, as well as the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX). If either start moving higher, it could be a sign of investor caution gaining ground. VIX managed to stay below 30 most of last week, down from highs above 80 at the peak of the crisis. It's still not back to historical norms of around 20.The $DXY, meanwhile, has been as steady as a rock for almost two months now, rattling around between roughly 98 and 100. If it leaves that range one way or another, it could tell us something about investor thinking. A drop in the dollar might suggest people are more willing to take a chance on less defensive investments and even on markets outside the U.S. It's a higher dollar that would cause some investors to lose sleep.TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC. See more from Benzinga * Costco Earnings On Tap After Close As Investors Mull Strong Toll Brothers Results * Costco Reports Tomorrow As Investors Examine Ralph Lauren, Toll Brothers Today * Biotech Shares In Focus As Encouraging Vaccine News Leads Broad Market Rally(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick joins The First Trade to break down new economic data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis including personal income and personal spending during the month of April, in addition to Costco and Nordstrom earnings report.
Costco is selling off despite beating top- and bottom-line quarterly estimates, adding to persistent selling pressure since early April.
Costco stock falls in the extended session Thursday after the retailer misses Wall Street expectations for its fiscal third quarter, during which it spent nearly $300 million in wages and extra sanitation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Futures: The coronavirus stock market rally awaits President Trump's press conference on China, as his feud with Twitter escalates. Salesforce and Zscaler are key earnings movers.
With unemployment soaring and consumers tightening their budgets, analysts forecast elevated sales at dollar stores like Dollar General Corp., Dollar Tree Inc. and Family Dollar. U.S. weekly jobless claims rose Thursday by more than 2.1 million, with about 48 million Americans filing for jobless benefits since mid-March, when the country began lockdowns to beat back the spread of coronavirus. Analysts forecast that the dire unemployment situation will continue for the foreseeable future.
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Stock futures fall ahead of President Trump's press conference on China; Trump's fight with Twitter escalates; Costco's earnings hit by rising pandemic costs.