Zacks Investment Research Upgrades W W Grainger (GWW) to “Hold”

W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Grainger expects sales growth in the range of 1.5-2.5% and earnings per share between $10.40 and $10.90 for 2017. The company projects sales growth of 3 to 7% and earnings per share to lie within $10.60 to $11.80 for 2018. Even though the company remains focused on reducing cost structure in Canada, the segment remains challenged due to higher expenses. Grainger’s pricing actions and a better economy are driving volume growth with large and medium customers. The stock has outperformed the industry in the past six months. The single channel online businesses continued to deliver strong sales growth and improved profits. Revenues will be benefited as digital marketing strategies boost demand. However, increased investment in digital marketing capabilities will impact margins in the near term. “

GWW has been the subject of a number of other reports. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “sell” rating and set a $192.00 price objective on shares of W W Grainger in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Credit Suisse Group reissued an “underperform” rating and set a $190.00 price objective (up from $172.00) on shares of W W Grainger in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Morgan Stanley set a $185.00 price objective on W W Grainger and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 18th. UBS Group downgraded W W Grainger from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $170.00 to $195.00 in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Finally, TheStreet raised W W Grainger from a “c+” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 13th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $195.77.

Shares of W W Grainger (NYSE GWW) traded up $2.52 during trading on Monday, hitting $230.05. The stock had a trading volume of 658,200 shares, compared to its average volume of 926,800. W W Grainger has a 1-year low of $155.00 and a 1-year high of $262.71. The firm has a market capitalization of $13,030.00, a P/E ratio of 27.29, a PEG ratio of 2.12 and a beta of 0.82. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.19, a quick ratio of 1.28 and a current ratio of 2.28.

In related news, VP Paige K. Robbins sold 346 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, October 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $202.31, for a total value of $69,999.26. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 8,400 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,699,404. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Laura D. Brown sold 9,158 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $232.86, for a total value of $2,132,531.88. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 16,893 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,933,703.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 30,504 shares of company stock valued at $6,834,291 over the last ninety days. 9.60% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in W W Grainger by 2.0% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 5,549,453 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $1,001,844,000 after buying an additional 111,244 shares during the last quarter. Longview Partners Guernsey LTD lifted its stake in W W Grainger by 33.2% in the third quarter. Longview Partners Guernsey LTD now owns 5,001,477 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $899,015,000 after buying an additional 1,245,771 shares during the last quarter. State Street Corp lifted its stake in W W Grainger by 5.4% in the second quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,251,383 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $586,971,000 after buying an additional 165,293 shares during the last quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp lifted its stake in W W Grainger by 13.0% in the third quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 2,103,608 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $378,124,000 after buying an additional 242,827 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. lifted its stake in W W Grainger by 224.7% in the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 1,225,728 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $220,325,000 after buying an additional 848,192 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.00% of the company’s stock.

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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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