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CPBJ stock portfolio: The initial returns are in

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Short-term gains are nice, but we're in it for the long haul.

Well, at least for 2014.

Since the Business Journal opened its "CPBJ Performance Fund" of local public stocks on the first day of December trading, the fantasy portfolio has grown by 5.4 percent, according to staff analysis.

As a reminder, we "bought" 1,000 shares each of seven local stocks for a total "cost" of $229,980. That group comprised Rite Aid Corp., Armstrong World Industries Inc., The Hershey Co., Susquehanna Bancshares Inc., Metro Bancorp Inc., Codorus Valley Bancorp Inc. and The York Water Co.

Those holdings were worth $242,450 as of the adjusted closing price on Jan. 22, according to Yahoo Finance.

The biggest price gain of the group was Armstrong World Industries, the Manor Township-based maker of flooring, ceiling and other building products. The stock was at $53.05 on Dec. 2 and $60.09 on Jan. 22, according to Yahoo Finance.

That's a 13.3 percent increase.

Metro Bancorp, the parent company of Swatara Township-based Metro Bank, produced the biggest decline so far. The stock price was down 3.8 percent from Dec. 2, closing at $20.56 per share on Jan. 22.

Reinvesting

Rather than parlay our $12,470 return into additional stock purchases, we're going to let it ride.

By the next midstate stock report March 28, we expect to add new companies to the portfolio, as well as expand the pool of possible purchases.

The initial report, which ran in the Jan. 3 edition, included 22 of the biggest publicly traded companies in Central Pennsylvania. The qualifying factor was that companies had to be headquartered in the five primary counties covered by the Business Journal: Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York.

We plan to add outside corporations with significant operations in the midstate. That will include many, if not all, of the companies that the Business Journal covers through quarterly earnings reports.

Updates on biggest stock movers

Several of our biggest movers in the five-year quarterly analysis on Jan. 3 have continued to see improvement in their stock price in 2014. Others have fallen off the pace to start the year.

• Bon-Ton Stores Inc.: The stock soared almost 450 percent from 2008 to 2013. The York County-based retailer saw its stock price close at $11.44 on Jan. 22. The stock went above $18 per share before the holiday shopping season, then slid back down, according to Yahoo Finance.

December comparable-store sales results were significantly affected by adverse weather and travel conditions, the retailer said earlier this month.

• Rite Aid Corp.: The East Pennsboro Township-based retail drugstore chain saw its stock price fall back below $6 per share. It closed at $5.82 on Jan. 22, which was down 3.5 percent from our Dec. 2 review. Rite Aid has benefited from a surplus of new generic drugs, which means higher margins.

• Mid Penn Bancorp Inc.: The Millersburg-based parent company of Mid Penn Bank saw its stock price fall 46 percent, to $11.40 per share, in our five-year analysis. The stock was at $12.20 per share Dec. 2. It closed at $14 on Jan. 22, which was also the day it reported annual earnings for 2013. Mid Penn’s net income for the year was $4.62 million, or $1.32 per diluted share, compared with $4.44 million, or $1.27 per diluted share in 2012.

• The Hershey Co.: The Derry Township-based chocolate giant’s stock price closed at $99.83 per share Jan. 22. It was at $96.49 Dec. 2. Earlier this month, Hershey announced it had launched a new spreads product line, similar to competitors such as Nutella. An announcement to develop 3-D printer systems for candies and other foods followed.

• Armstrong World Industries Inc.: The Manor Township-based maker of flooring, ceiling and other building products saw its stock price close above $60 per share on Jan. 22. It was at $53.05 on Dec. 2. Two of its major shareholders in November floated 6 million common shares in an underwritten secondary public issue, which boosted share prices. Executive changes also occurred in November. In October, Armstrong announced a $41 million luxury flooring tile production line for Lancaster.

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 jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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