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Midstate stock report: A five-year analysis of the biggest public companies in Central Pennsylvania

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While stock chasing is often an inexact science, we tried to boil it down as exactly as it could be.

We tracked the stock price movement of the 22 biggest publicly traded companies based in the midstate, according to Business Journal records, to determine how those stocks have performed for their investors.

The stock prices are from the closing bell on the last traded day of the third quarter from 2008 to 2013. That excludes East Pennsboro Township-based Rite Aid Corp., where we looked at the company's second quarter.

There is no specific reasoning for using the third quarter other than it was the last available quarter filed and publicly accessible. After we compiled the statistics, some companies admitted they do better in the third quarter than they do in other quarters.

The results are listed on this page, and they're a mixed bag.

Some companies managed to see their way through the recession and come out higher than ever. The stock price of Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the York County-based retailer, soared almost 450 percent in that time, the highest rise of any of the companies we analyzed.

Others — such as Armstrong World Industries Inc. (up 201 percent) in Manor Township, Rite Aid (up 186 percent) and The Hershey Co. (up 159 percent) in Derry Township — also saw huge gains.

More than any other industry — and not surprisingly — banks had the hardest time managing the recession locally. Five of the nine stocks associated at least partly with banks suffered losses since Oct. 1, 2008.

That number includes the 8.7 percent drop of Class A shares of the Donegal Group Inc., which owns Union Community Bank in Lancaster County. Donegal's Class B shares, however, gained 23.6 percent.

Stock of Codorus Valley Bancorp Inc. grew 74.5 percent and was the highest riser in the banking industry. Codorus Valley is the holding company of PeoplesBank in York Township.

Millersburg-based Mid Penn Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Mid Penn Bank, fell 46 percent, the biggest fall.

Camp Hill-based Integrity Bank, the ninth bank on the list, only started trading publicly in September. The bank trades under Integrity Bancshares Inc., its parent company.

Qualifying companies have their headquarters in the five primary counties covered by the Business Journal: Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York. Though Penn National Gaming has a base in East Hanover Township in Dauphin County, its headquarters are in Wyomissing in Berks County, and therefore it is not eligible for our examination.

So, what if you had purchased 1,000 shares of stock in a midstate-based company in 2008? How would you have done if you sold all shares in 2013? We calculated those returns to give you an idea. <

Click here to download a PDF file of the five-year analysis of the biggest public companies in Central Pennsylvania.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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