Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) saw a large growth in short interest during the month of January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 26,261,976 shares, a growth of 9.0% from the January 15th total of 24,100,895 shares. Approximately 9.3% of the company’s shares are sold short. Based on an average daily volume of 4,175,664 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 6.3 days.

Shares of NASDAQ:FAST traded up $1.19 during trading hours on Monday, reaching $61.87. The stock had a trading volume of 2,410,363 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,172,409. Fastenal has a 1 year low of $47.37 and a 1 year high of $62.12. The company has a current ratio of 5.30, a quick ratio of 2.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22. The company has a market cap of $17.35 billion, a PE ratio of 23.52, a P/E/G ratio of 1.34 and a beta of 1.18.

Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, January 17th. The company reported $0.60 EPS for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.60. Fastenal had a net margin of 15.14% and a return on equity of 33.48%. The company had revenue of $1.23 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.22 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.45 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 13.1% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Fastenal will post 2.83 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 27th. Investors of record on Thursday, January 31st will be given a $0.43 dividend. This represents a $1.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.78%. This is an increase from Fastenal’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.40. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, January 30th. Fastenal’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 65.40%.

FAST has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Longbow Research upgraded shares of Fastenal from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $63.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, December 4th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Fastenal from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, November 17th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Fastenal from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, November 15th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Fastenal from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $61.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Friday, December 14th. Finally, Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on shares of Fastenal in a report on Tuesday, December 18th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $55.00 price objective on the stock. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $56.92.

In other Fastenal news, insider Nicholas J. Lundquist sold 5,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, January 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.51, for a total value of $302,550.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 216,000 shares in the company, valued at approximately $13,070,160. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Michael John Dolan sold 2,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $60.00, for a total transaction of $150,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 12,500 shares in the company, valued at $750,000. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 12,500 shares of company stock worth $752,550 over the last quarter. 0.56% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Atria Investments LLC acquired a new stake in Fastenal during the 3rd quarter worth $222,000. DNB Asset Management AS boosted its stake in Fastenal by 2.6% during the 3rd quarter. DNB Asset Management AS now owns 46,968 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,725,000 after purchasing an additional 1,196 shares during the period. Bank of Montreal Can boosted its stake in Fastenal by 23.8% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 494,532 shares of the company’s stock worth $28,693,000 after purchasing an additional 95,225 shares during the period. Hills Bank & Trust Co. boosted its stake in Fastenal by 8.6% during the 3rd quarter. Hills Bank & Trust Co. now owns 85,993 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,990,000 after purchasing an additional 6,839 shares during the period. Finally, First Hawaiian Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Fastenal in the third quarter valued at about $1,394,000. 86.72% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Fastenal

Fastenal Company, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the wholesale distribution of industrial and construction supplies in the United States, Canada, and internationally. It offers fasteners, and other industrial and construction supplies under the Fastenal name. The company's fastener products include threaded fasteners, such as bolts, nuts, screws, studs, and related washers, which are used in manufactured products and construction projects, as well as in the maintenance and repair of machines.

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