MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. (MSM): Today's Featured Wholesale Laggard

MSC Industrial Direct ( MSM) pushed the Wholesale industry lower today making it today's featured Wholesale laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.7%. By the end of trading, MSC Industrial Direct fell $1.04 (-1.5%) to $69.22 on light volume. Throughout the day, 232,783 shares of MSC Industrial Direct exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 648,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $69.13-$70.37 after having opened the day at $70.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $70.26. Other companies within the Wholesale industry that declined today were: China Auto Logistics ( CALI), down 14.3%, Universal Power Group ( UPG), down 4.7%, Lawson Products ( LAWS), down 4.2%, and SinoHub ( SIHI), down 4%.

MSC Industrial Direct Co., Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a direct marketer and distributor of metalworking and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) products to industrial customers in the United States. MSC Industrial Direct has a market cap of $3.29 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.9, equal to the average wholesale industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are six analysts that rate MSC Industrial Direct a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates MSC Industrial Direct as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

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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