Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, January 4th. The firm currently has a $61.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 10.73% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fastenal gained 23.5% in the last six months, compared with 21.2% growth of its industry. Also, earnings estimates for 2018 have moved upward, reflecting analysts’ optimism. Increased onsite locations and installation of vending machines along with the Mansco acquisition are expected to boost sales. After a soft 2013, vending trends improved thereafter as management’s efforts to enhance the quality of signings/installs paid off. As of Sep 30, 2017, Fastenal operated 69,058 vending machines, up 14.3% year over year. Cost control initiatives are also impressive. However, unfavorable product mix, pricing and competitive pressures are hurting gross margins. Gross margin of 49.4% in the first nine months of 2017 dropped 10 bps from the prior-year quarter.”

Several other research analysts also recently commented on FAST. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “equal weight” rating and issued a $46.00 price objective (up from $44.00) on shares of Fastenal in a report on Monday, October 2nd. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and issued a $51.00 price objective (up from $46.00) on shares of Fastenal in a report on Tuesday, October 10th. Stephens set a $54.00 price target on shares of Fastenal and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. KeyCorp reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $52.00 price target on shares of Fastenal in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “hold” rating and issued a $51.00 price target on shares of Fastenal in a report on Monday, December 11th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Fastenal presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $53.00.

Shares of Fastenal (NASDAQ FAST) traded up $0.68 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $55.09. 2,109,500 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,166,375. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21, a quick ratio of 2.45 and a current ratio of 5.36. Fastenal has a 12 month low of $39.79 and a 12 month high of $55.92. The stock has a market cap of $15,980.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.46, a P/E/G ratio of 1.84 and a beta of 1.09.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 11th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.50. Fastenal had a net margin of 12.73% and a return on equity of 27.28%. The company had revenue of $1.13 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.12 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.44 EPS. Fastenal’s quarterly revenue was up 11.8% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts anticipate that Fastenal will post 1.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, insider Gary A. Polipnick sold 2,634 shares of Fastenal stock in a transaction on Friday, December 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.45, for a total value of $140,787.30. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 59,323 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,170,814.35. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, insider Leland J. Hein sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.14, for a total transaction of $471,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 21,290 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,003,610.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 82,746 shares of company stock worth $4,020,619. 0.55% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Fastenal by 3.1% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 31,573,149 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,374,380,000 after acquiring an additional 943,262 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Fastenal by 1.9% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 17,796,450 shares of the company’s stock valued at $774,680,000 after acquiring an additional 336,893 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its position in shares of Fastenal by 8.7% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 16,219,944 shares of the company’s stock valued at $739,306,000 after acquiring an additional 1,297,185 shares during the period. Bares Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Fastenal by 2.0% in the third quarter. Bares Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,662,915 shares of the company’s stock valued at $166,956,000 after acquiring an additional 70,166 shares during the period. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its position in shares of Fastenal by 58.5% in the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,889,428 shares of the company’s stock valued at $131,700,000 after acquiring an additional 1,066,773 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 84.54% of the company’s stock.

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About Fastenal

Fastenal Company is engaged in wholesale distribution of industrial and construction supplies. The Company is engaged in fastener distribution, and non-fastener maintenance and supply business. As of December 31, 2016, it distributed these supplies through a network of approximately 2,500 stores. Its customers are in the manufacturing and non-residential construction markets.

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