Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Thursday morning. They currently have $48.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Fastenal reported a stellar second quarter with earnings and revenues beating the consensus mark. Earnings grew 13.4% and sales rose 10.6% year over year driven by higher units sales on improvement in underlying market demand and growth in industrial vending business and existing Onsite locations. After a soft 2013, vending trends improved through 2014, 2015 and 2016 as management’s efforts to enhance the quality of signings/installs paid off. As of Jun 30, 2017, Fastenal operated 66,577 vending machines, up 14.1% year over year. Gross margin rose 30 bps in the quarter due to improvement in supply chain initiatives, increased discipline in purchasing and efficient utilization of fleet. Meanwhile, in spite of the improvement in gross margin in the quarter, changes in product and customer mix continued to affect gross profit, as did the addition of Mansco.”

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on FAST. Credit Suisse Group reissued a hold rating and set a $49.00 target price on shares of Fastenal in a report on Thursday, April 13th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a hold rating and set a $50.00 target price on shares of Fastenal in a report on Wednesday, April 12th. Argus raised shares of Fastenal from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $54.00 target price for the company in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. Raymond James Financial, Inc. raised shares of Fastenal from a market perform rating to a buy rating and set a $50.00 target price for the company in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. Finally, UBS AG raised shares of Fastenal from a market perform rating to an outperform rating in a report on Wednesday, April 19th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $50.14.

Shares of Fastenal (NASDAQ FAST) traded up 3.03% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $43.86. 3,792,824 shares of the stock were exchanged. Fastenal has a 12 month low of $37.70 and a 12 month high of $52.74. The stock has a market cap of $12.63 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.14 and a beta of 0.98. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $43.28 and its 200-day moving average is $46.88.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 12th. The company reported $0.52 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by $0.02. Fastenal had a net margin of 12.71% and a return on equity of 26.86%. The firm had revenue of $1.12 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.11 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.46 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 10.6% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts predict that Fastenal will post $1.92 earnings per share for the current year.

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Fastenal declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase plan on Tuesday, July 11th that permits the company to repurchase 5,000,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, August 23rd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, July 26th will be issued a $0.32 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, July 24th. This represents a $1.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.92%. Fastenal’s payout ratio is 70.33%.

In other news, insider William Joseph Drazkowski acquired 1,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, July 21st. The stock was bought at an average price of $42.36 per share, with a total value of $42,360.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the insider now owns 1,960 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $83,025.60. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Daniel L. Johnson acquired 600 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, July 24th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $42.71 per share, with a total value of $25,626.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders acquired 3,600 shares of company stock valued at $154,256 in the last ninety days. 0.55% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust boosted its position in Fastenal by 3.0% in the second quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 3,025 shares of the company’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 88 shares during the last quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC purchased a new position in Fastenal during the first quarter worth $133,000. CENTRAL TRUST Co boosted its position in Fastenal by 13.4% in the second quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 3,665 shares of the company’s stock worth $159,000 after buying an additional 433 shares during the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC boosted its position in Fastenal by 417.7% in the first quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 3,277 shares of the company’s stock worth $169,000 after buying an additional 2,644 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Advisory Services Network LLC purchased a new position in Fastenal during the first quarter worth $191,000. 82.89% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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Analyst Recommendations for Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST)

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