The distributor of metalworking, maintenance, repair and operations products and services reported earnings of $1.33 a share for its fiscal 2019 first quarter that ended Dec. 1.
That beat Zacks consensus estimate of $1.32 a share, and was higher than year-earlier earnings of $1.05
While output is rising for the industrial sector, growth is "weak" compared to the past year and is easing, according to the HIS Markit Purchasing Managers' Index.
Erik Gershwind, president and CEO of MSC, which is based in New York and North Carolina, noted in a press release the rising uncertainty created by "potential economic and trade overhangs and the government shutdown."
MSC reported an 8.2% year-over-year increase in net sales, which hit $831.6 million. Operating income came in at $103 million, up 4%, with a 12.4% operating margin.
"The industrial economy remained strong in the fiscal first quarter, although there is currently more uncertainty than a few months ago due to potential economic and trade overhangs and the government shutdown," Gershwind said. "Our net sales in the first quarter were slightly above the mid-point of our guidance, with Core customers and National Accounts achieving high single-digit growth, tempered by the expected weakness in Government. AIS continues to progress according to plan, delivering solid top line growth."