Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fastenal gained 23.8% in the last six months, compared with 21.1% 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 have also issued reports on FAST. Morgan Stanley restated an “equal weight” rating and set a $46.00 price target (up previously from $44.00) on shares of Fastenal in a report on Monday, October 2nd. BMO Capital Markets restated a “market perform” rating and set a $51.00 price target (up previously 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 stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. KeyCorp reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective on shares of Fastenal in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $51.00 price objective on shares of Fastenal in a research note on Monday, December 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $52.00.

Fastenal (NASDAQ FAST) traded down $0.15 during trading on Wednesday, reaching $54.54. 2,081,600 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,667,900. The company has a current ratio of 5.36, a quick ratio of 2.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21. Fastenal has a 52-week low of $39.79 and a 52-week high of $55.45. The company has a market cap of $15,720.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.17, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.83 and a beta of 1.09.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 11th. The company reported $0.50 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $0.50. Fastenal had a net margin of 12.73% and a return on equity of 27.28%. The firm 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 earned $0.44 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 11.8% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Fastenal will post 1.93 EPS 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 completion of the sale, the insider now owns 59,323 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,170,814.35. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Terry Modock Owen sold 30,000 shares of Fastenal stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.02, for a total transaction of $1,440,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 82,746 shares of company stock valued at $4,020,619 in the last quarter. 0.55% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its holdings in Fastenal by 3.1% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 31,573,149 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,374,380,000 after acquiring an additional 943,262 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Fastenal by 1.9% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 17,796,450 shares of the company’s stock worth $774,680,000 after buying an additional 336,893 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Fastenal by 8.7% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 16,219,944 shares of the company’s stock worth $739,306,000 after buying an additional 1,297,185 shares during the last quarter. Bares Capital Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Fastenal by 2.0% in the 3rd quarter. Bares Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,662,915 shares of the company’s stock worth $166,956,000 after buying an additional 70,166 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC boosted its holdings in shares of Fastenal by 58.5% in the 3rd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 2,889,428 shares of the company’s stock worth $131,700,000 after buying an additional 1,066,773 shares during the last quarter. 84.53% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Fastenal Company Profile

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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