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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
January 3, 2013
05:16 EDTCOSTCostco reports Dec. 2012 comparable sales for gasoline, excluding items, up 8%
Inflation in gasoline prices and stronger foreign currencies had a positive impact on comparable sales. Excluding these effects, total company comparable sales for December 2012 and for the first seventeen weeks were up 8% and 5%, respectively.
News For COST From The Last 14 Days
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April 17, 2015
17:01 EDTCOSTCostco reauthorizes $4B stock repurchase program, raises dividend
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15:39 EDTCOSTCostco deal with Visa, Citi has 'near zero' acceptance costs, Bloomberg says
Costco’s (COST) acceptance costs will be near zero under the terms of its new deal with Visa (V) and Citigroup (C), compared to the roughly 0.6% of each transaction it currently pays to incumbent card partner American Express (AXP), reported Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the deal. Reference Link
April 15, 2015
14:58 EDTCOSTEarnings Watch: Analysts more bullish on Citi after asset sales, CCAR approval
Citigroup (C), one of the largest banks in the U.S., is expected to report first quarter earnings before the open on Thursday, April 16, with a conference call scheduled for 11:00 am ET. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.39 on revenue of $19.82B. The consensus range is $1.32-$1.45 for EPS on revenue of $18.43B-$20.36B, according to First Call. On its last earnings conference call, Citi said it was committed to its 2015 targets and to returning capital to shareholders. Citi is targeting a 2015 consumer banking efficiency ratio of 49%-52%, compared to a ratio of 56% in 2014 and a pro forma 2014 ratio of 55%. LAST QUARTER: Citigroup reported fourth quarter EPS of 6c, versus analysts' consensus forecast of 11c. The company’s revenue came in below expectations at 17.81B. Citi CEO Michael Corbat said at the time: "While the overall results for 2014 fell short of our expectations, we did make significant progress on our top priorities... Although we made some difficult decisions over the course of the year, I believe they allowed us to put our franchise in a position to have a successful 2015." NEWS: On March 2, Costco (COST) announced it has entered into a new co-brand credit card program agreement with Citi and an acceptance and co-brand incentive agreement with Visa (V). Under the terms of the agreements, Citi would become the exclusive issuer of Costco's co-brand credit cards and Visa will replace American Express as the credit card network for Costco in the U.S. and Puerto Rico beginning April 1, 2016. The next day, Citi announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell OneMain Financial Holdings to Springleaf (LEAF) for a purchase price of $4.25B. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015, subject to approvals and other customary conditions. The sale, along with retirement of related funding, are expected to result in a net addition to earnings before income taxes of approximately $1B, the bank stated. On March 5, the Federal Reserve said that Citi had passed its Dodd-Frank stress test, as did all 31 banks that were examined. About a week later, the central bank announced it had not objected to the capital plans of 28 bank holding companies participating in the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, or CCAR. After the Fed advised Citi that it has no objection to the planned capital actions requested by the bank, Citi said it will increase its quarterly common stock dividend to 5c per share from 1c per share. Citi also announced plans for a common stock repurchase program of up to $7.8B during the five quarters starting in the Q2. At the end of March, Citi announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell 100% of the shares of Citi Cards Japan, the exclusive issuer of Diners Club cards in Japan, to Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank. Also in March, Citi announced that it has sold 396M common shares in Akbank T.A.S. through an equity offering representing its entire 9.9% equity interest in the company. Total proceeds from the transaction are expected to be approximately $1.15B at then current exchange rates. The financial terms of those two transactions are not material to Citi, the bank noted. STREET RESEARCH: On February 10, Deutsche Bank upgraded Citi to Buy from Hold and raised its price target for shares to $54 from $51. Deutsche said then that it believed the decline in the stock since the firm's December 4 downgrade had priced in some of the earnings risk, but added the FY15 consensus estimates for Citi still looked too high. On March 17, Deutsche Bank further raised its price target for Citi shares to $56 from $54, citing positive news flow around the sale of OneMain, its credit card deal with Costco and the Fed's stress test results. On March 3, JPMorgan upgraded Citigroup to Overweight, saying the Costco co-branding credit card deal will add to revenue growth and return on assets. Further, the firm said it expects the banking giant to achieve its operating efficiency targets this year. It upped its price target for shares to $58 from $54. The next day, Morgan Stanley said it believes Citi's sale of OneMain and its new Costco partnership imply, when taken together, that the bank is substituting OneMain's higher risk assets with the Costco portfolio, which has a lower yield, risk and RWA. Such a trade will be viewed favorably by regulators, the firm said. Morgan Stanley, which has an Overweight rating on Citi, said then it sees potential upside to its $60 price target on Citi shares if capital freed from the OneMain sale is returned to shareholders. PRICE ACTION: In afternoon trading ahead of tomorrow morning's report, Citi rose over 1% to $53.31. Over the last three months, Citi shares are up nearly 13%.
April 13, 2015
07:15 EDTCOSTAmerican Express shares could hit $105 in 18 months, says William Blair
William Blair analyst Robert Napoli says shares of American Express (AXP) are trading at nearly a 20% valuation discount to the S&P 500, reflecting "very high" pessimism in the name. Napoli tells investors today that other periods of "extreme pessimism" for American Express included 1998, 2001, and 2008/2009, with each proving to be a buying opportunity. He believes the current period will be no different. Napoli expects Amex shares to trend to historical valuation levels as investors look past the loss of Costco (COST) and better appreciate the company's growth opportunities. The analyst believes a stock price of around $105 is “reasonable” in about 18 months. The credit card issuer closed Friday up 43c to $79.59.
April 9, 2015
07:56 EDTCOSTCostco March comps slow but underlying trends solid, says Baird
Baird noted that March comps for Costco were below expectations and trends slowed from their recent pace, but said that underlying comps remain solid. The firm said shares could dip on the headlines, but they would be buyers, as they believe Costco offers a compelling value proposition, consistent traffic flow, and a loyal member base. Baird reiterated its Outperform rating and $165 price target on Costco shares.
05:23 EDTCOSTCostco and Tmall Global release joint statement regarding 'false claims'
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05:17 EDTCOSTCostco reports March net sales $10.4B vs. $10.43B last year
The calendar shift negatively impacted this year's net and comparable sales by an estimated 1%-1.5%. Reports March comparable sales down 2%, March U.S. comparable sales flat, March international comparable sales down 9%. Reports March comparable sales, excluding negative impacts from gasoline price deflation and foreign exchange up 4%, U.S. comparable sales excluding negative impacts up 4%, international comparable sales excluding negative impacts up 4%.

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