W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW) Downgraded to “Underperform” at Gordon Haskett

Gordon Haskett downgraded shares of W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW) from a hold rating to an underperform rating in a report released on Friday, April 12th, Briefing.com Automated Import reports. The firm currently has $308.99 price target on the industrial products company’s stock.

GWW has been the topic of a number of other reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered W W Grainger from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, April 8th. Peel Hunt raised W W Grainger from an add rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, April 4th. Royal Bank of Canada raised their price objective on W W Grainger to $240.00 and gave the company an underperform rating in a report on Friday, January 25th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Morgan Stanley assumed coverage on W W Grainger in a report on Tuesday, December 18th. They set an underweight rating and a $265.00 price target for the company. Finally, Macquarie upgraded W W Grainger from a neutral rating to an outperform rating and set a $281.21 price target for the company in a report on Tuesday, January 15th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $312.30.

NYSE:GWW traded up $4.60 during midday trading on Friday, reaching $283.55. 556,299 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 479,416. W W Grainger has a twelve month low of $265.00 and a twelve month high of $372.06. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 2.40 and a quick ratio of 1.36. The firm has a market capitalization of $15.72 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.98, a P/E/G ratio of 1.47 and a beta of 0.96.

W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Monday, April 22nd. The industrial products company reported $4.51 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $4.42 by $0.09. The business had revenue of $2.80 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.88 billion. W W Grainger had a return on equity of 46.09% and a net margin of 7.12%. W W Grainger’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $4.18 earnings per share. Research analysts anticipate that W W Grainger will post 17.94 EPS for the current fiscal year.

W W Grainger announced that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Wednesday, April 24th that allows the company to repurchase 5,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the industrial products company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, June 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 13th will be issued a dividend of $1.44 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, May 10th. This represents a $5.76 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.03%. This is a positive change from W W Grainger’s previous quarterly dividend of $1.36. W W Grainger’s dividend payout ratio is currently 32.57%.

In related news, VP John L. Howard sold 1,211 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $310.09, for a total value of $375,518.99. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 44,934 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $13,933,584.06. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Chairman Donald G. Macpherson sold 2,317 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $310.03, for a total transaction of $718,339.51. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 45,848 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,214,255.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 8.50% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Clean Yield Group purchased a new stake in shares of W W Grainger during the 4th quarter valued at $31,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. bought a new stake in W W Grainger in the 4th quarter worth $52,000. Bessemer Group Inc. grew its holdings in W W Grainger by 102.2% in the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 186 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $53,000 after acquiring an additional 94 shares during the last quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors grew its holdings in W W Grainger by 284.0% in the 4th quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 192 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $54,000 after acquiring an additional 142 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Quadrant Capital Group LLC grew its holdings in W W Grainger by 281.4% in the 1st quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 267 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $77,000 after acquiring an additional 197 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.34% of the company’s stock.

About W W Grainger

W.W. Grainger, Inc distributes maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) products and services in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, and internationally. The company provides material handling equipment, safety and security supplies, lighting and electrical products, power and hand tools, pumps and plumbing supplies, cleaning and maintenance supplies, and metalworking tools, as well as gloves, ladders, motors, and janitorial supplies.

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Analyst Recommendations for W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW)

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