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Fastenal shares spike after earnings, hit 52-week high

Boxes of hardware move down a conveyor belt inside the Fastenal Co. distribution center in Jessup, Pennsylvania.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty
Boxes of hardware move down a conveyor belt inside the Fastenal Co. distribution center in Jessup, Pennsylvania.

Shares of construction supplier Fastenal jumped nearly 6 percent Wednesday after the firm posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Before the bell, Fastenal announced fourth-quarter earnings per share of 40 cents. Analysts polled by Reuters expected the company to report a profit of 38 cents per share.

The firm's stock hit a new 52-week high Wednesday and was on pace for its best day since Nov. 9. It was also the top advancer in the S&P 500, which chopped around the flatline.

"Relative to our model, upside was primarily driven by stronger than expected gross margins of 49.8% (vs. our 48.7% estimate)," analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets said in a Wednesday note. "We note gross margins have been an area of focus for investors, and we think expectations for the quarter were generally low."

Fastenal's stock has been on a tear over the past three months, surging more than 30 percent over that time period.

Fastenal 3-month chart

Source: FactSet

Disclosures: KeyBank expects to receive or intends to seek compensation for investment banking services from Fastenal. KeyBanc makes a market in Fastenal.