Fastenal (FAST) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Friday. The firm presently has a $58.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 7.92% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Fastenal’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate while revenues surpassed the same. Sales grew 14.8%  on increased units owing to higher underlying market demand and growth in industrial vending business and existing Onsite locations. The acquisition of Mansco contributed 1.4% to sales. Daily sales of fastener products increased 13.4% in the quarter while that of non-fastener products rose 16.1% year over year. Fastenal operated 71,421 vending machines as of the end of 2017, up 13.7% year over year. After a soft 2013, vending trends improved as management’s efforts to enhance the quality of signings/installs paid off. However, gross margins continue to decline, decreasing 97 basis points in the quarter, owing to changes in product and customer mix, the addition of Mansco higher freight expenses, investments in hub assets and commodity inflation. The trend is expected to continue in 2018.”

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on FAST. Credit Suisse Group raised shares of Fastenal to a “buy” rating and set a $61.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday. Stephens reissued a “buy” rating and set a $62.00 target price (up from $54.00) on shares of Fastenal in a report on Thursday. Robert W. Baird reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Fastenal in a report on Wednesday. BMO Capital Markets reissued a “hold” rating and set a $57.00 target price on shares of Fastenal in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a “hold” rating and set a $51.00 target price on shares of Fastenal in a report on Monday, December 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, eight have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Fastenal presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $53.29.

Fastenal (NASDAQ FAST) traded up $0.45 on Friday, reaching $53.75. 3,462,643 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,199,534. The firm has a market capitalization of $15,325.76, a PE ratio of 26.74, a PEG ratio of 1.77 and a beta of 1.09. The company has a quick ratio of 2.45, a current ratio of 5.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.20. Fastenal has a 1 year low of $39.79 and a 1 year high of $56.15.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 17th. The company reported $0.45 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.45. The firm had revenue of $1.09 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.08 billion. Fastenal had a net margin of 13.18% and a return on equity of 27.39%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.40 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that Fastenal will post 2.16 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, insider Terry Modock Owen sold 30,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $48.02, for a total value of $1,440,600.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider James C. Jansen sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $48.50, for a total transaction of $485,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 22,588 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,095,518. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 62,746 shares of company stock worth $3,061,819. Corporate insiders own 0.55% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in FAST. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. bought a new position in Fastenal in the 3rd quarter valued at about $114,000. Cable Hill Partners LLC bought a new position in Fastenal in the 3rd quarter valued at about $126,000. Krilogy Financial LLC grew its position in Fastenal by 2.0% in the 2nd quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC now owns 3,530 shares of the company’s stock valued at $154,000 after buying an additional 70 shares in the last quarter. Naples Global Advisors LLC bought a new position in Fastenal in the 4th quarter valued at about $218,000. Finally, Carlson Capital Management bought a new position in Fastenal in the 4th quarter valued at about $219,000. 84.57% 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 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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