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FAST) business may not be particularly exciting, but it's compelling, even if short sellers don't agree right now. FAST is an industrial supply company with more than 2,400 retail locations spread across the country. Industrial supply may be a bit on the boring side, but stair-step revenue growth and hefty double-digit net margins make it attractive to own.
Based on Fastenal's short interest ratio of 10.4, it would take more than two weeks of buying pressure at current volume levels for short sellers to stop betting against shares.
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One of Fastenal's biggest benefits is its huge product catalog. The firm carries more than 410,000 types of fasteners and more than 585,000 maintenance and repair products, an inventory that makes Fastenal a one-stop shop for its customers. And because of its scale, the firm is better able to compete on cost and product availability than most of its smaller peers. Given the fragmented nature of the industrial distributor market, that's a big benefit indeed.
There's still a lot of growth in Fastenal's core market, especially as green sprouts start popping up on the industrial side of the economy. While the stock isn't exactly cheap right now, its growth pace and a spotless, debt-free balance sheet help to justify the firm's earnings multiple in this market.