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Today we're going to take a look at the well-established Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST). The company's stock saw a double-digit share price rise of over 10% in the past couple of months on the NASDAQGS. As a large-cap stock with high coverage by analysts, you could assume any recent changes in the company’s outlook is already priced into the stock. But what if there is still an opportunity to buy? Let’s examine Fastenal’s valuation and outlook in more detail to determine if there’s still a bargain opportunity.
What is Fastenal worth?
Fastenal appears to be expensive according to my price multiple model, which makes a comparison between the company's price-to-earnings ratio and the industry average. In this instance, I’ve used the price-to-earnings (PE) ratio given that there is not enough information to reliably forecast the stock’s cash flows. I find that Fastenal’s ratio of 36.98x is above its peer average of 22.69x, which suggests the stock is trading at a higher price compared to the Trade Distributors industry. But, is there another opportunity to buy low in the future? Since Fastenal’s share price is quite volatile, this could mean it can sink lower (or rise even further) in the future, giving us another chance to invest. This is based on its high beta, which is a good indicator for how much the stock moves relative to the rest of the market.
What kind of growth will Fastenal generate?
Investors looking for growth in their portfolio may want to consider the prospects of a company before buying its shares. Buying a great company with a robust outlook at a cheap price is always a good investment, so let’s also take a look at the company's future expectations. Fastenal's earnings over the next few years are expected to increase by 29%, indicating a highly optimistic future ahead. This should lead to more robust cash flows, feeding into a higher share value.
What this means for you:
Are you a shareholder? FAST’s optimistic future growth appears to have been factored into the current share price, with shares trading above industry price multiples. However, this brings up another question – is now the right time to sell? If you believe FAST should trade below its current price, selling high and buying it back up again when its price falls towards the industry PE ratio can be profitable. But before you make this decision, take a look at whether its fundamentals have changed.
Are you a potential investor? If you’ve been keeping an eye on FAST for a while, now may not be the best time to enter into the stock. The price has surpassed its industry peers, which means it is likely that there is no more upside from mispricing. However, the positive outlook is encouraging for FAST, which means it’s worth diving deeper into other factors in order to take advantage of the next price drop.
So while earnings quality is important, it's equally important to consider the risks facing Fastenal at this point in time. At Simply Wall St, we found 1 warning sign for Fastenal and we think they deserve your attention.
If you are no longer interested in Fastenal, you can use our free platform to see our list of over 50 other stocks with a high growth potential.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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