Shares of metalworks company MSC Industrial Direct  (MSM) - Get Report dropped on Wednesday after the company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street forecasts.

MSC Industrial stock fell $3.29, or about 4%, to $80.41 in early trading after the Melville, NY-based company posted net income of $68.4 million, or $1.24 a share, vs. $117.6 million, or $2.06 a share, in the comparable year-earlier period.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting earnings per share of $1.26 for the most recent quarter. Sales rose to $823 million from $769 million a year earlier.

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MSC Industrial CEO Erik Gershwind noted in a press release that sales and earnings remained strong during the quarter, "although we did see some moderation in February and this continued into March."

Customer growth during the quarter was in the "high single digits," while government sales were negative, Gershwind added, noting that the company's total growth rate was slightly below expectations, even as the pricing environment "remained stable."

Looking forward, MSC Industrial said it expects net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2019 to be between $846 million and $863 million, excluding the acquisition of All Integrated Solutions, which it bought last year from private equity firm High Road Capital. It expects acquisitions "to have a roughly break-even impact on diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of fiscal 2019."

MSC Industrial is one of the country's largest direct marketers and distributors of a broad range of metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products.