W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE:GWW) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “During its second quarter conference call, Grainger revised sales growth guidance to 1%–4% for 2016 and earnings per share outlook to $11.20–$12.20. Given the deflationary environment, the company remains cautious on gross margins and lowered its margin expectations. In addition, higher interest expense, tax rates & lower capital expenditure will hurt earnings. Moreover, its Canadian business continues to be affected by low oil prices, impact of the fire in Fort McMurray and unfavorable foreign exchange. Nevertheless, Grainger will benefit from acquisitions, focus on restructuring and growth in eCommerce channel. Further, strong performance of single channel online businesses and attractive growth opportunities in the large and fragmented MRO market bode well for growth.”

Several other research firms also recently commented on GWW. Barclays PLC boosted their target price on shares of W.W. Grainger from $209.00 to $213.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Monday, July 18th. Macquarie started coverage on shares of W.W. Grainger in a research report on Thursday, August 25th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $274.00 price objective for the company. Wells Fargo & Co. reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of W.W. Grainger in a research report on Sunday, September 4th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of W.W. Grainger in a research report on Friday, June 10th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG started coverage on shares of W.W. Grainger in a research report on Friday, June 17th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $222.00 price objective for the company. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $228.75.

Analyst Recommendations for W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW)

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Shares of W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW) traded down 1.78% during midday trading on Tuesday, reaching $216.65. 288,774 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $226.49 and a 200 day moving average price of $226.59. The firm has a market cap of $13.09 billion, a PE ratio of 19.70 and a beta of 0.77. W.W. Grainger has a 12 month low of $176.85 and a 12 month high of $239.95.

W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 19th. The company reported $2.89 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $3.17 by $0.28. W.W. Grainger had a net margin of 6.91% and a return on equity of 31.26%. The company had revenue of $2.60 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.58 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $3.27 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that W.W. Grainger will post $11.54 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 8th were issued a $1.22 dividend. This represents a $4.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.21%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 4th. W.W. Grainger’s payout ratio is 44.40%.

In other news, VP Joseph C. High sold 1,722 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $220.00, for a total value of $378,840.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now owns 7,531 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,656,820. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 9.60% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of GWW. Cognios Capital LLC raised its position in W.W. Grainger by 0.3% in the second quarter. Cognios Capital LLC now owns 1,069 shares of the company’s stock valued at $242,000 after buying an additional 3 shares in the last quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. raised its stake in shares of W.W. Grainger by 0.3% in the first quarter. Raymond James Trust N.A. now owns 1,662 shares of the company’s stock worth $388,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. BB&T Corp raised its stake in shares of W.W. Grainger by 0.3% in the second quarter. BB&T Corp now owns 1,923 shares of the company’s stock worth $437,000 after buying an additional 5 shares during the period. Trust Co raised its stake in shares of W.W. Grainger by 0.3% in the first quarter. Trust Co now owns 2,828 shares of the company’s stock worth $660,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the period. Finally, Nippon Life Insurance Co. raised its stake in shares of W.W. Grainger by 0.3% in the second quarter. Nippon Life Insurance Co. now owns 6,579 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,495,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the period. 82.68% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About W.W. Grainger

W.W. Grainger, Inc (Grainger) is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies and other related products and services. The Company offers its products and services to businesses and institutions in the United States and Canada, with presence also in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

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