North Americans love to spend on their beloved pets. According to the American Pets Products Association, owners spent $48.35 billion on their pets in 2010, up from $45.5 billion in 2009. It is currently projected that pet owners spent around $50 billion in 2011. Let's take a look at some of the biggest names associated with the pet industry.

Investopedia Markets: Explore the best one-stop source for financial news, quotes and insights.

Pet Supplies
The largest, publicly traded pet supply retail is PetSmart (Nasdaq:PETM) with around 1,150 stores and an additional 750 animal hospitals. Interestingly enough, PETM has been seeing sales growth and steady margins. The stock has been strong, currently a few cents of its 52 week high. Fundamentally, PETM is also attractive with a forward P/E ratio of 18.4 and a current price-to-sales ratio of only 1.03. PETM is up 9.2% so far for 2012.

Animal Health
Spending on doggie toys has not been slowing, so it comes as no surprise that the money going to maintain pets' health is following the trend. Therefore, investors who are interested in investing in the growth in spending on pets can also choose to look at companies that run the animal hospitals or supply the medicine administered by the veterinarians. (For related reading, see The Economics Of Pet Ownership.)

MWI Veterinary Supply (Nasdaq:MWIV) is a distributor of animal health products to veterinarians and animal hospitals. The company was able to flourish during the recession, and revenues increased by 20% in 2010 over 2009 numbers. MWIV is up 27.4% year to date.

While MWIV supplies its products to doctors, PetMed Express (Nasdaq:PETS) markets its prescription and non-prescription pet medications directly to the consumer via 1-800-PET-MEDS. PETS has been on an upward trend throughout this year. PETS is up 16% on the year.

Hospitals and Testing
VCA Antech
(Nasdaq:WOOF) operates in three divisions: animal hospitals, laboratories and medical technology. The company is trading at an attractive 14.5 forward P/E ratio, however growth could be questioned if the economy does not pick up faster. After all, an elective surgery for the family pet could be put on hold until the family's finances improve, whereas food and toys will be a constant expenditure. WOOF is up 14% on the year.

Neogen (Nasdaq:NEOG) is an interesting play because it is involved in food and animal safety products. The animal safety division focuses on drugs, vaccines, medical equipment and diagnostic tests that can be sold directly or through large farm supply retail chains. NEOG is up 10% year to date.

The Bottom Line
Animal-related stocks should hold up better than the overall market in the event of a new bear market and with solid growth may be positioned to join the party if stocks rally.

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    How to Ballast a Portfolio with Bonds

    If January and early February performance is any guide, there’s a new normal in financial markets today: Heightened volatility.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Performance Review: Emerging Markets Equities in 2015

    Find out why emerging markets struggled in 2015 and why a half-decade long trend of poor returns is proving optimistic growth investors wrong.
  3. Investing News

    Today's Sell-off: Are We in a Margin Liquidation?

    If we're in market liquidation, is it good news or bad news? That party depends on your timeframe.
  4. Investing News

    Bank Stocks: Time to Buy or Avoid? (WFC, JPM, C)

    Bank stocks have been pounded. Is this the right time to buy or should they be avoided?
  5. Stock Analysis

    Why the Bullish Are Turning Bearish

    Banks are reducing their targets for the S&P 500 for 2016. Here's why.
  6. Stock Analysis

    How to Find Quality Stocks Amid the Wreckage

    Finding companies with good earnings and hitting on all cylinders in this environment, although possible, is not easy.
  7. Investing News

    What You Can Learn from Carl Icahn's Mistakes

    Carl Icahn has been a stellar performer in the investment world for decades, but following his lead these days could be dangerous.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Altria's Return on Equity (ROE) (MO)

    Learn about Altria Group's return on equity (ROE) and analyze net profit margin, asset turnover and financial leverage to determine what is causing its high ROE.
  9. Investing News

    Icahn's Bet on Cheniere Energy: Should You Follow?

    Investing legend Carl Icahn continues to lose money on Cheniere Energy, but he's increasing his stake. Should you follow his lead?
  10. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Google's Return on Equity (ROE) (GOOGL)

    Learn about Alphabet's return on equity. How has its ROE changed over time, how does it compare to its peers and what factors are driving ROE for the company?
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center