Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE:MSM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Thursday, January 4th.

According to Zacks, “MSC Industrial Direct Co., Inc., together with its subsidiaries, markets and distributes various ranges of metalworking and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) products primarily in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The company’s MRO products comprise cutting tools, measuring instruments, tooling components, metalworking products, fasteners, flat stock, raw materials, abrasives, machinery hand and power tools, safety and janitorial supplies, plumbing supplies, materials handling products, power transmission components, and electrical supplies. It offers approximately 1,000,000 stock-keeping units through its master catalogs; weekly, monthly, and quarterly specialty and promotional catalogs; brochures; and the Internet, such as its Websites comprising mscdirect.com and use-enco.com. The company serves primarily through its distribution network of 85 branch offices and 12 customer fulfillment centers. “

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A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on MSM. Susquehanna Bancshares initiated coverage on MSC Industrial Direct in a research note on Monday, September 25th. They issued a neutral rating and a $77.00 price objective on the stock. KeyCorp reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of MSC Industrial Direct in a report on Tuesday, October 17th. Gabelli raised MSC Industrial Direct from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $94.00 target price on the stock in a report on Friday, October 13th. BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a market perform rating and issued a $83.00 target price (up previously from $79.00) on shares of MSC Industrial Direct in a report on Monday, October 9th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $100.00 price objective on MSC Industrial Direct and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Monday, December 4th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $95.92.

Shares of MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE:MSM) traded down $2.28 during trading on Thursday, reaching $93.97. The company had a trading volume of 255,634 shares, compared to its average volume of 986,852. The stock has a market cap of $5,569.95, a P/E ratio of 22.76, a P/E/G ratio of 1.45 and a beta of 0.67. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.16, a quick ratio of 1.04 and a current ratio of 1.92. MSC Industrial Direct has a 1 year low of $65.42 and a 1 year high of $105.70.

MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE:MSM) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, January 10th. The industrial products company reported $1.05 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.06 by ($0.01). MSC Industrial Direct had a return on equity of 19.37% and a net margin of 7.97%. The business had revenue of $768.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $770.95 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.95 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 12.0% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts forecast that MSC Industrial Direct will post 5 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 30th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, January 16th will be paid a $0.58 dividend. This represents a $2.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.47%. This is a boost from MSC Industrial Direct’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.48. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, January 12th. MSC Industrial Direct’s payout ratio is presently 56.04%.

MSC Industrial Direct declared that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, January 10th that permits the company to buyback 2,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization permits the industrial products company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, VP Charles Bonomo sold 1,800 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, January 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $92.19, for a total transaction of $165,942.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, CFO Rustom Jilla sold 2,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, January 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $99.00, for a total value of $247,500.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,008,978 shares of company stock valued at $92,347,860 over the last ninety days. 31.38% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new stake in MSC Industrial Direct during the fourth quarter worth about $127,000. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank raised its stake in MSC Industrial Direct by 8.7% in the second quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 1,539 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $132,000 after buying an additional 123 shares during the period. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. raised its stake in MSC Industrial Direct by 0.5% in the second quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 1,577 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the period. Cutler Group LP raised its stake in MSC Industrial Direct by 457.8% in the fourth quarter. Cutler Group LP now owns 1,431 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $138,000 after buying an additional 1,831 shares during the period. Finally, QS Investors LLC raised its stake in MSC Industrial Direct by 0.5% in the second quarter. QS Investors LLC now owns 1,749 shares of the industrial products company’s stock valued at $150,000 after buying an additional 8 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.35% of the company’s stock.

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About MSC Industrial Direct

MSC Industrial Direct Co, Inc is a North American distributor of metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products and services. The Company’s range of MRO products include cutting tools, measuring instruments, tooling components, metalworking products, fasteners, flat stock, raw materials, abrasives, machinery hand and power tools, safety and janitorial supplies, plumbing supplies, materials handling products, power transmission components and electrical supplies.

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