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 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.”

Other research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. BMO Capital Markets decreased their target price on shares of W.W. Grainger from $300.00 to $270.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, July 20th. RBC Capital Markets reiterated an “underperform” rating and issued a $187.00 price target (down previously from $197.00) on shares of W.W. Grainger in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Royal Bank Of Canada cut their price target on shares of W.W. Grainger from $197.00 to $187.00 and set an “underperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, July 20th. Barclays PLC lifted their price target on shares of W.W. Grainger from $209.00 to $213.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Monday, July 18th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG assumed coverage on shares of W.W. Grainger in a report on Friday, June 17th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $222.00 price target on the stock. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $228.75.

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

Shares of W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW) opened at 218.42 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $226.50 and a 200 day moving average of $226.49. The stock has a market cap of $13.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 19.87 and a beta of 0.77. W.W. Grainger has a one year low of $176.85 and a one year high of $239.95.

W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, July 19th. The company reported $2.89 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $3.17 by $0.28. W.W. Grainger had a return on equity of 31.26% and a net margin of 6.91%. The firm earned $2.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.58 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $3.27 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that W.W. Grainger will post $11.54 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, September 1st. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 8th were given a $1.22 dividend. This represents a $4.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.23%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 4th. W.W. Grainger’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 44.40%.

In other W.W. Grainger news, VP Joseph C. High sold 1,722 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $220.00, for a total value of $378,840.00. Following the completion of 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 SEC, which is available through this link. 9.60% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Aperio Group LLC raised its position in shares of W.W. Grainger by 35.7% in the first quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 26,226 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,122,000 after buying an additional 6,895 shares during the period. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc raised its position in shares of W.W. Grainger by 15.8% in the first quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc now owns 7,463 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,742,000 after buying an additional 1,019 shares during the period. Telemus Capital LLC raised its position in shares of W.W. Grainger by 24.4% in the first quarter. Telemus Capital LLC now owns 9,406 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,196,000 after buying an additional 1,846 shares during the period. Raub Brock Capital Management LP raised its position in shares of W.W. Grainger by 5.9% in the first quarter. Raub Brock Capital Management LP now owns 55,475 shares of the company’s stock worth $12,950,000 after buying an additional 3,072 shares during the period. Finally, Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. raised its position in shares of W.W. Grainger by 42.0% in the first quarter. Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. now owns 7,563 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,765,000 after buying an additional 2,236 shares during the period. 82.63% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

W.W. Grainger Company Profile

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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