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

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Airgas ( ARG) pushed the Wholesale industry lower today making it today's featured Wholesale laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Airgas fell $2.48 (-2.7%) to $87.99 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1.9 million shares of Airgas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 548,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $86.25-$88.82 after having opened the day at $88.82 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $90.47. Other companies within the Wholesale industry that declined today were: SED International Holdings ( SED), down 6.3%, Aegean Marine Petroleum Network ( ANW), down 4.6%, Navarre Corporation ( NAVR), down 4%, and Rada Electronics Industries ( RADA), down 3.3%.
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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 $7.03 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of eight, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.3% 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 three 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, solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the positive front, Grupo Casa Saba S.A.B. de C.V ( SAB), up 33.3%, InfoSonics Corporation ( IFON), up 10.3%, Shengkai Innovations ( VALV), up 10.1%, and Staar Surgical ( STAA), up 3.4%, were all gainers within the wholesale industry with Avnet ( AVT) being today's featured wholesale industry leader.

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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