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

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 higher today making it today's featured wholesale winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, Airgas rose $1.15 (1.3%) to $89.29 on average volume. Throughout the day, 846,186 shares of Airgas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 605,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $87.26-$89.50 after having opened the day at $88.24 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $88.14. Other companies within the Wholesale industry that increased today were: SED International Holdings ( SED), up 11.1%, Grupo Casa Saba S.A.B. de C.V ( SAB), up 8.3%, China Armco Metals ( CNAM), up 7.4%, and Bluelinx Holdings ( BXC), up 2.7%.
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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 $6.82 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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 negative front, Shengkai Innovations ( VALV), down 5%, Navarre Corporation ( NAVR), down 3.5%, Hudson Technology ( HDSN), down 3%, and Taitron Components ( TAIT), down 2.9%, were all laggards within the wholesale industry with LKQ Corporation ( LKQ) being today's wholesale industry laggard.

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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