Local Stocks Hit the Summertime Blues

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:39 pm

The BizTimes Stock Index, despite skyrocketing to new all-time highs earlier this spring, lost its steam and fell right back to where it started the year. The index, which measures the collective stock values of publicly held companies in southeastern Wisconsin, began the year at 158.79. On June 20, it closed at 159.02, just .23 points above its starting point for the year. Along the way, the local stock index mirrored the path of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Biztimes Stock Index hit a new high of 183.17 on May 9, but then gave away that high ground with a sluggish retreat. The BizTimes Stock Index was created by Small Business Times and is monitored by North Shore Bank. According to research provided by Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., 22 of the 34 local stocks in the index posted increases in the first half of 2006. The top 10 local gainers were: Ladish Co., Manpower Inc., Wauwatosa Holdings Inc., Badger Meter Inc., A.O. Smith Corp., Twin Disc Inc., Briggs & Stratton Corp., Kohl’s Corp., Joy Global Inc. and Oilgear Co. The index reflects the continued strong presence of manufacturers in the region, as seven of the top 10 performers are involved in manufacturing. Cudahy-based Ladish rode strong demand from the aerospace industry to the top spot of the index in the first half of the year, as it gained 52.4 percent to $34.06 per share. Kerry Woody, Ladish’s president and chief executive officer, said, "Due to increased sales volumes, higher prices for byproducts and better cost absorption from incremental sales growth along with cost reductions, the company’s operations improved in the first quarter of 2006 as gross margins were 18.3 percent, in contrast to 11.2 percent in the first quarter of 2005. All of our operating units contributed to the improvement in first quarter 2006 results and were ahead of expectations." The 12 local stocks that lost ground in the first half of the year were Merge Technologies Inc., Modine Manufacturing Co., Marcus Corp., Criticare Systems Inc., Journal Communications Inc., Actuant Corp., Gehl Co., Midwest Air Group Inc., Koss Corp., Strattec Security Corp., Brady Corp. and MGIC Investment Corp. The poorest-performing local stock in the first half of the year was Merge Technologies, which failed to post its quarterly and annual reports on time. The West Allis-based company, which does business as Merge Healthcare, saw its stock drop 53.2 percent to $11.72 per share. The company has brought back founder William Mortimore to serve as CEO and right its ship. The BizTimes Stock Index is updated daily and can be viewed at www.biztimes.com. July 7, 2006, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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