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Tickers in this Article: FAST
Fastenal (Nasdaq:FAST) is expected to report increased earnings when it releases its third quarter results on Thursday, October 11, 2012. The consensus estimate is anticipating a profit of 37 cents a share, an increase from last year's 33 cents per share.

Investors should care about a company's quarterly earnings because it shows the state of the business over the past 90 days and provides guidance for the following 90 days. SEE: Surprising Earnings Results

What to Expect: Fastenal is expected to report 37 cents per share, up 12.1% from a year ago when the company reported earnings of 33 cents per share.

Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.44 per share for the fiscal year.

Fastenal is expected to report revenue of $804.9 million for the quarter, beating last year's figure of $726.7 million by 10.8%. Fastenal is expected to report revenue of $3.16 billion for the fiscal year.

Company Performance: Revenue has grown by double-digit increases in the past four quarters. It has risen by an average of 19.2%, with the biggest increase of 21.6% coming in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

A company's price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio) provides a measure of how expensive or cheap a stock is. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Profit With The Power Of Price-To-Earnings

Over the past quarter, the stock price has risen to $42.78 from $42.31 on July 12, 2012. Fastenal's best recent streak was when its price gained $2.11 per share between August 13, 2012 and August 17, 2012.

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