Fastenal (Nasdaq: FAST) reported earnings on Jan. 18. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Fastenal met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue expanded significantly, and earnings per share increased significantly.

Gross margins dropped, operating margins improved, and net margins grew.

Revenue details
Fastenal chalked up revenue of $698 million. The eight analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ predicted a top line of $696 million. Sales were 22% higher than the prior-year quarter's $574 million.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.30. The 11 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.30 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.30 for Q4 were 36% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.22 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 51.2%, 80 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 20.2%, 160 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 12.5%, 110 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $754 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.33.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $3.2 billion. The average EPS estimate is $1.43.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 785 members out of 844 rating the stock outperform, and 59 members rating it underperform. Among 282 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 270 give Fastenal a green thumbs-up, and 12 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Fastenal is hold, with an average price target of $39.57.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.