Airgas Inc (ARG): Today's Featured Wholesale Loser

Airgas ( ARG) pushed the Wholesale industry lower today making it today's featured Wholesale loser. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, Airgas fell $1.08 (-1.3%) to $81.34 on average volume. Throughout the day, 511,698 shares of Airgas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 560,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $81.17-$82.59 after having opened the day at $82.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $82.42. Other company's within the Wholesale industry that declined today were: SED International Holdings ( SED), down 19.6%, SinoHub ( SIHI), down 10.7%, Westinghouse Solar ( WEST), down 9%, and TMS International ( TMS), down 7.1%.

Airgas, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the distribution of industrial, medical, and specialty gases in the United States. Airgas has a market cap of $6.43 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.9, equal to the average wholesale industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Airgas a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and two rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Airgas as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

On the positive front, Hudson Technology ( HDSN), up 7.7%, Aegean Marine Petroleum Network ( ANW), up 3.4%, Nash-Finch Company ( NAFC), up 3.2%, and Rada Electronics Industries ( RADA), up 2.6%, were all gainers within the wholesale industry with Omnicare ( OCR) being today's featured wholesale industry winner.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the wholesale industry could consider iShares Dow Jones US Cons Goods ( IYK) while those bearish on the wholesale industry could consider ProShares Ultra Sht Consumer Goods ( SZK).
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