7. MSC Industrial Direct ( MSM) markets and distributes a range of metalworking and maintenance, and repair and operations products. MSM will announce its first-quarter fiscal 2012 results on Jan. 5.

Net income for the quarter is estimated at $59.23 million, or 93 cents per share, compared to $47.56 million, or 75 cents per share, in the same quarter prior fiscal, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Sales are seen at $545.70 million, an increase of 15% from $472.83 million recorded in the earlier-year period.

Operating profit for the quarter is seen increasing 24% to $95.63 million from $77.15 million in the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, gross margin is seen expanding to 46.23% from 46.04% earlier. Currently, the company has a dividend yield of 2.6%.

Of the 13 analysts covering the stock, 54% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 6% to $76.60 from current levels over the next 12 months.

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