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

Airgas ( ARG) pushed the Wholesale industry higher today making it today's featured wholesale winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Airgas rose $1.01 (1.2%) to $83.06 on light volume. Throughout the day, 189,769 shares of Airgas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 565,500 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $81.83-$83.15 after having opened the day at $82.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $82.05. Other companies within the Wholesale industry that increased today were: Westinghouse Solar ( WEST), up 22.1%, China Auto Logistics ( CALI), up 8.8%, Aegean Marine Petroleum Network ( ANW), up 5%, and LB Foster Company ( FSTR), up 3.4%.

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 $6.34 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.6, equal to the average wholesale industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 5.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. 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.

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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