W. W. Grainger (GWW) Raised to “Buy” at 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 Wednesday. The brokerage currently has $318.00 target price on the industrial products company’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Grainger expects its fiscal 2018 earnings per share at $12.95-$14.15. The mid-point of the guidance reflects 18% year-over-year growth driven by better-than-expected fiscal 2017 operating performance, benefits from lower corporate tax rate under the U.S. tax legislation and incremental share buybacks. The company anticipates sales growth at 3%-7% for the fiscal. 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 six months.”

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Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on GWW. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on shares of W. W. Grainger from $224.00 to $235.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $278.00 target price on shares of W. W. Grainger in a research note on Friday, January 26th. Wells Fargo upped their target price on shares of W. W. Grainger from $220.00 to $260.00 and gave the stock a market perform rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Goldman Sachs reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of W. W. Grainger in a research note on Monday, March 19th. Finally, Oppenheimer upped their target price on shares of W. W. Grainger from $245.00 to $320.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $244.85.

Shares of GWW opened at $286.67 on Wednesday. W. W. Grainger has a fifty-two week low of $155.00 and a fifty-two week high of $298.14. The company has a market cap of $16,083.62, a P/E ratio of 25.01, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.15 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a current ratio of 2.13, a quick ratio of 1.18 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.23.

W. W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, January 24th. The industrial products company reported $2.94 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.18 by $0.76. W. W. Grainger had a net margin of 5.62% and a return on equity of 35.76%. The firm had revenue of $2.63 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.57 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $2.45 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that W. W. Grainger will post 13.76 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, VP John L. Howard sold 19,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $295.00, for a total value of $5,752,500.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 57,906 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $17,082,270. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, VP Eric R. Tapia sold 100 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $266.06, for a total transaction of $26,606.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 3,563 shares in the company, valued at $947,971.78. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 28,758 shares of company stock worth $7,911,638. Insiders own 10.10% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Aristotle Capital Management LLC grew its position in shares of W. W. Grainger by 7.9% in the 4th quarter. Aristotle Capital Management LLC now owns 3,272 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $773,000 after buying an additional 239 shares during the last quarter. NewFocus Financial Group LLC grew its position in shares of W. W. Grainger by 2.3% in the 4th quarter. NewFocus Financial Group LLC now owns 10,754 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $2,541,000 after buying an additional 241 shares during the last quarter. Cibc Bank USA grew its position in shares of W. W. Grainger by 4.2% in the 4th quarter. Cibc Bank USA now owns 6,085 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $1,438,000 after buying an additional 245 shares during the last quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC grew its position in shares of W. W. Grainger by 107.9% in the 4th quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 476 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $112,000 after buying an additional 247 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware grew its position in shares of W. W. Grainger by 8.8% in the 4th quarter. Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware now owns 3,152 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $744,000 after buying an additional 255 shares during the last quarter. 83.66% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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W. W. Grainger Company Profile

W.W. Grainger, Inc distributes maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) supplies; and other related products and services that are used by businesses and institutions in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The company offers material handling equipment, safety and security supplies, lighting and electrical products, power and hand tools, pumps and plumbing supplies, cleaning and maintenance supplies, metalworking tools, and various other products.

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