Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fastenal gained 15.2% in the last one year, compared with 39.8% growth of its industry. However, 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.”

Other equities analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. BMO Capital Markets reissued a hold rating and issued a $57.00 target price on shares of Fastenal in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. Stephens set a $54.00 target price on shares of Fastenal and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Morgan Stanley reissued an equal weight rating and issued a $46.00 target price (up from $44.00) on shares of Fastenal in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Stifel Nicolaus reissued a hold rating and issued a $51.00 target price on shares of Fastenal in a research note on Monday, December 11th. Finally, KeyCorp reissued a buy rating and issued a $52.00 target price on shares of Fastenal in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the stock. Fastenal currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $52.93.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) traded down $3.24 during trading hours on Tuesday, hitting $52.20. 8,706,314 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,902,736. Fastenal has a twelve month low of $39.79 and a twelve month high of $56.15. The company has a quick ratio of 2.45, a current ratio of 5.36 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21. The company has a market capitalization of $15,200.00, a PE ratio of 27.91, a PEG ratio of 1.86 and a beta of 1.09.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, January 17th. The company reported $0.53 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.45 by $0.08. Fastenal had a net margin of 12.73% and a return on equity of 27.28%. The business had revenue of $1.09 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.08 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.40 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Fastenal will post 1.93 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, February 27th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 31st will be given a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.84%. This is a boost from Fastenal’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. Fastenal’s payout ratio is 68.45%.

In other Fastenal 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 transaction of $140,787.30. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 59,323 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,170,814.35. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Leland J. Hein sold 10,000 shares of Fastenal stock in a transaction on Monday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.00, for a total transaction of $480,000.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 20,258 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $972,384. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 62,746 shares of company stock valued at $3,061,819. Company insiders own 0.55% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FAST. Federated Investors Inc. PA boosted its position in Fastenal by 247.4% during the second quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 7,053 shares of the company’s stock worth $307,000 after purchasing an additional 5,023 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in Fastenal by 280.3% during the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 245,340 shares of the company’s stock worth $10,681,000 after purchasing an additional 180,836 shares during the period. Schroder Investment Management Group lifted its holdings in shares of Fastenal by 43.4% during the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 125,739 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,348,000 after buying an additional 38,083 shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia lifted its holdings in shares of Fastenal by 44.9% during the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 2,429 shares of the company’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 753 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Franklin Resources Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Fastenal by 45.8% during the second quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 36,441 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,586,000 after buying an additional 11,439 shares in the last quarter. 84.57% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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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