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