A less sexy stock than ISRG is W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW), a distributor that is a big player in the rather boring business of “facilities maintenance.” However, since it distributes pumps, tools, motors and other gear that is crucial to a wide variety of businesses, GWW is very much tied to broader economic growth.
Sure, we certainly are not in the midst of an economic boom or a screaming recovery. But as industrial and consumer indicators inch higher, GWW has been seeing definite improvements. Grainger reported just this Tuesday that first-quarter profit jumped 19%, boosted by a double-digit sales increase. That topped Wall Street forecasts and prompted GWW to lift its full-year profit and sales guidance.
The company has seen nine consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue increases. EPS numbers jumped 29% from 2010 to 2011 and are set to surge as much as 20% in fiscal 2012. W.W. Grainger is expanding in China and Panama, too, which could add even more momentum to shares.
The stock has nearly doubled in the past year and is rapidly closing on its 52-week high of $221.84.