Costco Stock at New High on Oppenheimer Upgrade

Many analysts remain bearish on Costco despite its 45% year-over-year gain

by Josh Selway

Published on Jan 21, 2020 at 10:18 AM

The shares of Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) have jumped 2.1% out of the gate to trade at $310.92, after Oppenheimer upgraded the retail stock to "outperform" from "perform," while lifting its price target to $335 from $300. The brokerage firm wrote about the equity's attractive valuation, while mentioning the company's improving customer service and potential for global growth.

COST stock has already hit a record high this morning of $312.36, bringing its one-year rise to 45%. Given this outperformance, the door looks to be open for even more bull notes going forward, since nine of the 20 covering brokerage firms in coverage still have "hold" or "strong sell" ratings in place.

Recent data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows options traders have been betting bullishly. The 10-day call/put volume ratio across these exchanges is 2.25 and ranks in the 94th annual percentile. In other words, call buying has more than doubled put buying in the past two weeks, and this type of demand for long calls is rare. Peak open interest for Costco is at the April 300 call.

What's more, short interest on the security is actually at the highest point since March, with 5.65 million shares held by short sellers. So while this still accounts for just 1.3% of the total float, there is a possibility the number of shorted shares could fall back to more "normal" levels, and that could spell tailwinds, too, for Costco stock.


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