$13 billion industrial supplier Fastenal (FAST - Get Report) had a phenomenal year in 2011; shares of the company rallied more than 50% in the trailing 12 months. That has made things tough for short-sellers, who've been active in this stock for several years now, pushing Fastenal's short ratio to 10.1.
Fastenal's size is its biggest advantage. The firm sells maintenance products and fasteners to industrial customers, boasting nearly 1 million products in its catalog and 2,500 locations worldwide. That scale gives the firm the ability to meet larger customers' needs and the ability to provide smaller customers with better costs than rivals. As one of the biggest players in a highly fragmented industry, Fastenal has significant room for growth right now in the U.S. market.From a balance sheet perspective, Fastenal is in excellent shape. The company carries nearly $140 million in cash and no debt whatsoever. That combination should provide ample liquidity for Fastenal's operations and help to smooth out potentially bumpy operations in 2012. Earnings on Jan. 18 are a potential short-squeeze catalyst to watch. Fastenal, one of TheStreet Ratings' top-rated industrial distributor stocks, shows up on a recent list of 20 Winning Stocks Set to Post New Highs in 2012.