Costco's shares jumped above the 50-day line Wednesday after
the company declared a special dividend of $7 a share.
The stock is now 2% off its high as it forms a flat base with
a possible 104.53 buy point.
The one-time dividend is payable Dec. 18 to owners of the
stock on Dec. 10. The special payout comes on top of the regular
quarterly cash dividend of $0.275 per share.
However, Fitch Ratings cut Costco's debt rating by one notch
to A+ from AA-, after Costco said it would pay for the $3 billion
special dividend by issuing at least $2 billion in new debt.
Costco said its "strong balance sheet and favorable access to
credit markets" gave it room to pay for the dividend.
The announcement came a day after retailerDillard's (
) and casino operatorLas Vegas Sands (
) announced special dividends that will be paid in December.
The one-time payouts are aimed at rewarding shareholders
before an expected increase in the dividend tax rate takes effect
Jan. 1, depending on the outcome of fiscal cliff
The payment will boost Costco's dividend yield to a robust 7%,
up from the current annual yield of about 1%. Yet investors
shouldn't base their decisions on a stock's dividend yield,
especially one boosted by a one-time payout. It's more important
to look at its fundamental and technical characteristics.
In Costco's case, the fundamentals are mixed. The stock sports
a Composite Rating of 79, just below the minimum of 80 that
IBD-style investors should look for. Costco is also in a weak
industry group, and its Accumulation-Distribution Rating is just
D+, indicating that institutional investors are selling.
On the plus side, Costco's three-year Earnings Stability
Factor is 2 on a scale of 0 (most stable) to 99 (least stable).
Its EPS Rating is a respectable 89 out of a best-possible 99.
Costco is expected to announce Dec. 12 that profit for the
November-ended quarter rose 16% from a year ago, down from the
prior quarter's 29% gain. Fiscal 2013 profit is expected to rise
14% from fiscal 2012, the fourth straight gain.
The Issaquah, Wash.-based company reported Wednesday that
same-store sales rose 6% in November. Total sales rose 9% to