MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd trimmed its position in W W Grainger Inc (NYSE:GWW) by 1.5% in the first quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 814,846 shares of the industrial products company’s stock after selling 12,326 shares during the quarter. W W Grainger comprises approximately 2.3% of MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 3rd biggest holding. MERIAN GLOBAL INVESTORS UK Ltd’s holdings in W W Grainger were worth $245,211,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Clean Yield Group bought a new position in shares of W W Grainger in the fourth quarter valued at $31,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. bought a new position in shares of W W Grainger in the fourth quarter valued at $52,000. Bessemer Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of W W Grainger by 102.2% in the fourth quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 186 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $53,000 after buying an additional 94 shares in the last quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors increased its holdings in shares of W W Grainger by 284.0% in the fourth quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 192 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $54,000 after buying an additional 142 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Quadrant Capital Group LLC raised its stake in W W Grainger by 281.4% during the 1st quarter. Quadrant Capital Group LLC now owns 267 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $77,000 after purchasing an additional 197 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.04% of the company’s stock.
In other news, Chairman Donald G. Macpherson sold 2,317 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $310.03, for a total value of $718,339.51. Following the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 45,848 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,214,255.44. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, VP John L. Howard sold 1,211 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $310.09, for a total transaction of $375,518.99. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 44,934 shares in the company, valued at $13,933,584.06. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 8.50% of the company’s stock.
Shares of NYSE:GWW opened at $265.39 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97, a quick ratio of 1.36 and a current ratio of 2.40. W W Grainger Inc has a 12-month low of $258.42 and a 12-month high of $372.06. The firm has a market cap of $14.51 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.89, a PEG ratio of 1.28 and a beta of 0.96.
W W Grainger (NYSE:GWW) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, April 22nd. The industrial products company reported $4.51 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $4.42 by $0.09. W W Grainger had a net margin of 7.12% and a return on equity of 46.09%. The business had revenue of $2.80 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.88 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $4.18 earnings per share. W W Grainger’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts forecast that W W Grainger Inc will post 17.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
W W Grainger declared that its board has authorized a share buyback program on Wednesday, April 24th that authorizes the company to repurchase 5,000,000 outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the industrial products company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, June 1st. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 13th will be paid a $1.44 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 10th. This is an increase from W W Grainger’s previous quarterly dividend of $1.36. This represents a $5.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.17%. W W Grainger’s dividend payout ratio is 34.49%.
Several analysts have issued reports on the stock. Buckingham Research boosted their target price on shares of W W Grainger from $309.00 to $316.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 17th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of W W Grainger from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday. Stephens set a $318.00 target price on shares of W W Grainger and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 23rd. Royal Bank of Canada boosted their target price on shares of W W Grainger to $240.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a research note on Friday, January 25th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, Morgan Stanley boosted their target price on shares of W W Grainger from $266.00 to $273.00 and gave the company an “underweight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 24th. 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. W W Grainger currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $312.30.
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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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