Fastenal Co. (NASDAQ:FAST) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Fastenal Company reported lower-than expected results in the third quarter of 2016, missing estimates for both earnings and sales. Fastenal’s revenues are being hurt as the sales of fasteners into heavy manufacturing, construction end markets were relatively weak. It is due to overall weakness in the industrial economy. An unfavorable customer mix and product mix resulted in below average gross margins. In fact, the company does not see any improvement in gross margin rates through the rest of 2016 as well. That said, the company’s cost-saving initiative Pathway-to-Profit bode well. Meanwhile, vending trends continue to improve in 2016 as efforts to improve the quality of signings/installs paid off. In 2016, the company intends to increase its investment in the vending program and expects it to outperform through 2016 and beyond.”

Other research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Wells Fargo & Co. restated a “hold” rating on shares of Fastenal in a research report on Sunday, September 4th. Robert W. Baird restated a “neutral” rating and issued a $45.00 price target on shares of Fastenal in a research report on Thursday, October 13th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating and issued a $45.00 price target on shares of Fastenal in a research report on Monday, November 7th. Argus lowered Fastenal from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, October 14th. Finally, Macquarie assumed coverage on Fastenal in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $50.00 price target on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $47.93.

Analyst Recommendations for Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST)

Shares of Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) traded up 0.28% on Friday, reaching $46.37. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 537,607 shares. The company has a 50 day moving average price of $41.15 and a 200 day moving average price of $42.89. The company has a market cap of $13.40 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.99 and a beta of 0.92. Fastenal has a 52-week low of $35.10 and a 52-week high of $49.99.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 11th. The company reported $0.44 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.01. Fastenal had a return on equity of 26.84% and a net margin of 12.61%. The company earned $1.01 billion during the quarter. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.47 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Fastenal will post $1.71 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, November 22nd. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 25th were given a $0.30 dividend. This represents a $1.20 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.60%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, October 21st. Fastenal’s dividend payout ratio is currently 69.77%.

In related news, Director Michael J. Ancius bought 700 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 13th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $38.82 per share, with a total value of $27,174.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 0.78% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its stake in Fastenal by 5.2% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 27,835,227 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,235,606,000 after buying an additional 1,371,768 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its stake in Fastenal by 1.7% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 7,471,644 shares of the company’s stock worth $312,165,000 after buying an additional 122,079 shares in the last quarter. Polen Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Fastenal by 11.9% in the second quarter. Polen Capital Management LLC now owns 7,163,432 shares of the company’s stock worth $317,985,000 after buying an additional 764,398 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its stake in Fastenal by 4.2% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 4,920,453 shares of the company’s stock worth $205,577,000 after buying an additional 198,533 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Route One Investment Company L.P. increased its stake in Fastenal by 9.3% in the second quarter. Route One Investment Company L.P. now owns 3,838,962 shares of the company’s stock worth $170,412,000 after buying an additional 327,655 shares in the last quarter. 81.67% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Fastenal

Fastenal Company is engaged in wholesale distribution of industrial and construction supplies. The Company distributes these supplies through a network of approximately 2,600 Company-owned stores. The Company sells industrial and construction supplies to end users (business-to-business), and also has a walk-in retail business.

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