W W Grainger (GWW) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning. They currently have $319.00 price objective on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Grainger’s top and bottom lines improved year over year in fourth-quarter fiscal 2017. Both the figures beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Grainger raised its fiscal 2018 earnings per share guidance range to $12.95-$14.15, reflecting contribution from the better-than-expected fiscal 2017 operating performance, benefits from lower corporate tax rate under the U.S. tax legislation and from incremental share buybacks funded by the benefits of the tax legislation. The company maintains sales growth guidance in the range of 3-7% for fiscal 2018. Grainger will benefit from pricing initiatives, digital marketing strategies, focus on improving cost structure and efforts to bring its Canadian business back to profitability. It also remains focused on improving services to customers and consistent direct-to-customer shipping. Moreover, the stock has outperformed the industry over the past year.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently commented on GWW. Morgan Stanley reissued an underweight rating and issued a $178.00 target price (up from $172.00) on shares of W W Grainger in a report on Monday, October 2nd. BMO Capital Markets restated a market perform rating and issued a $178.00 price target (up previously from $165.00) on shares of W W Grainger in a research note on Monday, October 9th. Royal Bank of Canada boosted their price target on W W Grainger from $145.00 to $146.00 and gave the stock an underperform rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Wells Fargo & Co set a $210.00 price target on W W Grainger and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Finally, Oppenheimer upgraded W W Grainger from a market perform rating to an outperform rating and set a $245.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 18th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $234.38.

Shares of W W Grainger (NYSE GWW) opened at $266.13 on Tuesday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 2.13 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.23. W W Grainger has a 1-year low of $155.00 and a 1-year high of $298.14. The company has a market capitalization of $15,189.64 and a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.56.

W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, January 24th. The industrial products company reported $2.94 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.18 by $0.76. W W Grainger had a return on equity of 35.76% and a net margin of 5.62%. The business had revenue of $2.63 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.57 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $2.45 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts anticipate that W W Grainger will post 13.73 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 1st. Investors of record on Monday, February 12th will be given a dividend of $1.28 per share. This represents a $5.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.92%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 9th. W W Grainger’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 51.10%.

In related news, VP John L. Howard sold 21,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $220.56, for a total transaction of $4,631,760.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal 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 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 sale, the vice president now owns 16,893 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,933,703.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 9.60% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Exane Derivatives purchased a new stake in W W Grainger during the third quarter valued at $101,000. Westside Investment Management Inc. purchased a new stake in W W Grainger during the third quarter valued at $107,000. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. increased its position in W W Grainger by 1.0% during the second quarter. Salem Investment Counselors Inc. now owns 606 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $109,000 after acquiring an additional 6 shares during the last quarter. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC purchased a new stake in W W Grainger during the third quarter valued at $133,000. Finally, Legacy Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in W W Grainger during the third quarter valued at $198,000. Institutional investors own 85.02% 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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