Costco breezes past profit expectations in 2Q thanks in part to tax bump from dividend payout

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ISSAQUAH, Washington — Costco's second-quarter profit easily topped Wall Street estimates thanks in part to a tax bump from the payout of a special dividend last month.

Investors appeared to overlook a light revenue number, sending shares up 3 percent before Thursday's opening bell. The company's stock has jumped more than 26 percent over the past 12 months.

The warehouse club operator earned $598 million, or $1.35 per share, for the period ended Feb. 15.

The quarter included a tax benefit of 13 cents per share and a tax charge of 3 cents per share.

Industry analysts were looking for earnings of $1.17 per share, according to a poll of analysts by Zacks Investment Research.

The Issaquah, Washington, company posted revenue of $27.45 billion in the period, just missing Wall Street forecasts. Eleven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $27.57 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer's health, rose 2 percent. Those sales climbed 4 percent in the U.S. and fell 2 percent internationally.

Stripping out the negative impact of lower gas prices and foreign exchange, sales at stores open at least a year increased 8 percent at home and abroad.

Costco Wholesale Corp. operates 671 warehouses, including 474 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 88 in Canada, 34 in Mexico, 26 in the U.K., 20 in Japan, 11 in Korea, 10 in Taiwan, seven in Australia and one in Spain.

Shares rose $4.83 to $152 in premarket trading.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on COST at http://www.zacks.com/ap/COST

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Keywords: Costco, Earnings Report

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