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

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Airgas ( ARG) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Airgas fell $1.06 (-1.1%) to $99.84 on average volume. Throughout the day, 501,829 shares of Airgas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 483,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $99.80-$101.25 after having opened the day at $101.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $100.90. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that declined today were: TOR Minerals International ( TORM), down 3.5%, Ceres ( CERE), down 3.3%, Methes Energies International ( MEIL), down 3.0% and Gevo ( GEVO), down 2.7%.

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 $7.4 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are up 10.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Airgas a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 7 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, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Flexible Solutions International ( FSI), up 14.3%, Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), up 5.8%, Senomyx ( SNMX), up 5.5% and Taminco ( TAM), up 2.8% , were all gainers within the chemicals industry with Cytec Industries ( CYT) being today's featured chemicals industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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