Costco Wholesale Corp First Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Costco Wholesale Corp (NASDAQ:COST) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, December 8, 2011. Costco Wholesale operates membership warehouses that offer a selection of nationally branded and selected private-label products in categories such as food, appliances, and sporting goods, at low prices.

Costco Wholesale Corp Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 79 cents per share, a rise of 11.3% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved up from 78 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved up. It has dropped from 80 cents during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting profit of $3.84 per share, a rise of 16.4% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: The company is looking to beat estimates after falling short of forecasts last quarter. Last quarter, it reported net income of $1.08 per share against a consensus estimate of profit of $1.09 per share.

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.

Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 10.4% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $21.25 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 11 analysts rating it as a buy, two rating it as a sell and seven rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, profit rose 10.6% to $478 million ($1.08 a share) from $432 million (97 cents a share) the year earlier, but fell short analyst expectations. Revenue rose 16.8% to $28.18 billion from $24.13 billion.

Key Stats:

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past four quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 13.8%, with the biggest boost coming in the most recent quarter when revenue rose 16.8% from the year earlier quarter.

The company has seen net income rise in three straight quarters. Net income rose 5.9% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year and 16.4% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG), BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. (NYSE:BJ), Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO), Gordmans Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:GMAN), Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR),, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Bed, Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Fred’s, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED).

Stock Price Performance: During October 6, 2011 to December 2, 2011, the stock price had risen $7.76 (9.8%) from $78.97 to $86.73. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between September 9, 2011 and September 20, 2011 when shares rose for eight-straight days, rising 7.8% (+$6.15) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between July 22, 2011 and August 2, 2011 when shares fell for eight-straight days, falling 7.2% (-$5.81) over that span. Shares are up $15.36 (+21.5%) year to date.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.