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Midstate Stock Report, Round 3: Companies making money

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While the two previous rounds of our Midstate Stock Report analysis had definite themes in the companies we chose to analyze, this one does not.

We wanted to make sure we got some “name” companies in there — such as Wells Fargo and Co. and Amazon.com Inc. — and also some companies that you forget have major operations in the midstate — such as Exelon Corp., owner of the Three Mile Island power plant.

There's a smattering of real estate, banks and energy companies, along with technology and manufacturing.

What brings them all together is they're making money.

In this round of analysis, nine of the 10 companies we added have turned a tidy profit for their investors in the last five years. Six of the 10 produced triple-digit percentage-point gains.

Only one of the companies — Chicago-based Exelon — saw its stock price drop since June 2009. Energy companies had a hard time in this round, as Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp., parent company of midstate power supplies Met-Ed and Penn Power, gained only 19.8 percent in its stock price.

Every other company, however, showed big gains.

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns four retail properties in the region, including the Capital City Mall in Cumberland County, showed the largest growth in the last five years, nearly topping 300 percent growth.

Online retailer Amazon runs a fulfillment center in South Middleton Township, a small piece of its operations and a long way from its Seattle headquarters. But having a 1,000-share investment in the company in 2009 would have paid off more than $300,000 now with its nearly 284 percent stock growth.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo and Northwest Bancshares Inc. of Warren — which together have about 50 branches in the midstate and the only two banks we examined this round — saw their stock prices rise 132.6 percent and 108.6 percent, respectively.

The talk of the bull market is evidenced with these companies, as six of the 10 had their highest stock price register in 2014. Wells Fargo, Church & Dwight and CenturyLink all had their highest stock prices of the last five years this month. 

CPBJ fantasy portfolio up 4.3 percent

Nearly $230,000 was “spent” in December to “buy” 7,000 shares — 1,000 each — from seven locally based public companies for the CPBJ Performance Fund portfolio.

That number did not include any broker fees.

We added two companies to the fantasy portfolio in March, which added about $141,000 to our spending. Our total investment was $370,960.

On that total, our nine stocks yielded a return on investment of $15,870, or 4.3 percent, at the end of June 10 trading, according to adjusted share prices reported by Yahoo Finance.

Virginia-based Norfolk Southern Corp. is leading the way so far, based on dollar gains, while Lititz-based Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. has been the biggest loser for us.

We added Norfolk Southern in March. If we had bought it Dec. 2, in the original group, the return would be even higher. The stock closed at $87.23 that day, according to Yahoo Finance.

To make it an even 10 stocks, we just “bought” 1,000 shares of Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc., which adds $49,950 to our total investment.

We’ll report back again in September, and we’ll wrap up the stock project in December.

Michael Sadowski

Michael Sadowski

Mike Sadowski covers Lebanon County, banking and finance, law and the legal community, and technology. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at michaels@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @MikeCPBJ. Circle Michael Sadowski on .

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