Costco Shares Surge As Coronavirus Outbreak Causes Stockpiling Rush

Written by Josefine Fokuhl


March 2, 2020


After the coronavirus outbreak reached the U.S. nervous customers started loading up on goods, which caused Costco Wholesale Corporation’s (NASDAQ: COST) stock to climb.

Stock of the wholesale Chain was up 6% in the stock market today. Costco is also about to report its fiscal second-quarter earnings and February sales on Thursday this week. 

Black Friday-resembling pictures were posted earlier this morning by users on social media, showing long lines at Costco stores during the weekend. Media reports about packed Costco and other big-box retailers in some parts of the U.S. followed. 

Besides Costco (NASDAQ: COST), also other retail stocks rose, including Target (NYSE: TGT) by 1.7%, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) by 2.5% and Home Depot (NYSE: HD) by 2.6%. 

Stock of the online retailer Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), on the other hand, went down by 0.4%.

Oppenheimer analysts published in a research note, that compared to a typical weekend, there were “significant increases” in traffic this weekend. 

The analysts stated:

“Per our conversations with store employees/management, the pickup in traffic started on Thursday and continued at least through Saturday.”

The customer’s demand was especially high for products like paper towels and disinfectants, as well as pasta, rice and pet food. If the fear of the coronavirus increases, eating out and having take-away food could become less and cause grocery stores’ sales to rise.

Due to worries about the virus’ impact on the global economy, Costco shares were down by 13% last week. 

After the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, stockpiling rushes already occurred in many parts of Europe, including Germany and France. Additionally, tourist attractions like the Louvre in Paris were closed down due to fears of the spreading virus.

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