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

According to Zacks, “Shares of Fastenal gained 15.2% in the last one year, compared with 39.8% growth of its industry. However, 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.”

A number of other research firms also recently commented on FAST. Stephens set a $54.00 price objective on shares of Fastenal and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 11th. Morgan Stanley reiterated an “equal weight” rating and issued a $46.00 price objective (up previously from $44.00) on shares of Fastenal in a report on Monday, October 2nd. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $57.00 price objective on shares of Fastenal in a report on Tuesday, January 9th. KeyCorp reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $52.00 price objective on shares of Fastenal in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $51.00 price objective on shares of Fastenal in a report on Monday, December 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, seven have assigned a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $53.50.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) traded up $1.09 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $53.29. 5,823,353 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,902,791. The firm has a market cap of $15,320.00, a P/E ratio of 26.51, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.86 and a beta of 1.09. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.21, a quick ratio of 2.45 and a current ratio of 5.36. Fastenal has a 12 month low of $39.79 and a 12 month high of $56.15.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 17th. The company reported $0.45 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.45. The company had revenue of $1.09 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.08 billion. Fastenal had a net margin of 12.73% and a return on equity of 27.28%. Fastenal’s quarterly revenue was up 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.40 EPS. analysts anticipate that Fastenal will post 1.93 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, insider Gary A. Polipnick sold 2,634 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.45, for a total transaction of $140,787.30. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 59,323 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,170,814.35. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Terry Modock Owen sold 30,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 16th. The stock was 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 have sold a total of 62,746 shares of company stock valued at $3,061,819 in the last 90 days. Insiders own 0.55% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Commonwealth Bank of Australia increased its holdings in Fastenal by 44.9% in the 2nd quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 2,429 shares of the company’s stock valued at $104,000 after purchasing an additional 753 shares during the last quarter. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Fastenal in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $114,000. Cable Hill Partners LLC acquired a new stake in Fastenal in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $126,000. Krilogy Financial LLC increased its holdings 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 purchasing an additional 70 shares during the last quarter. Finally, QS Investors LLC increased its holdings in Fastenal by 1.6% in the 2nd quarter. QS Investors LLC now owns 4,051 shares of the company’s stock valued at $176,000 after purchasing an additional 63 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 84.57% of the company’s stock.

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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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