News reports and economic indicators have been pointing toward a recovery, but it's always nice to get some details to back up those reports. Company earnings reports are one way to get that kind of confirmation -- if the economy is improving, revenues should be headed upward. Sure enough, last week three industrial companies posted strengthening numbers.
First up is MSC Industrial
Next to report was RPM International
Rounding out the group is AZZ
The three reports together give a more detailed picture of the economy than any one would in isolation. MSC services a wide range of business areas, and its revenue growth supports reports of recovery in the broad economy. RPM products are largely used in building construction and home improvement and repair. The increases in both industrial and consumer segments show progress there. The lone weak spot in this limited look is electrical equipment. AZZ's gear is largely used in medium- and high-voltage power distribution. Think power plants, factories, processing plants, and other big stuff.
These reports also provide some information useful for evaluating other companies. For example, MSC's increased sales may anticipate of the same kind of growth for fellow industrial supplier W.W. Grainger
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Fool contributor Russ Krull paints part of his portfolio with shares of RPM International, but he does not have have a position in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. Home Depot and Lowe's are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. MSC Industrial Direct is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended writing covered calls on Lowe's Companies. The Fool owns shares of AZZ. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.