The Yonder 40, 40 stocks that reflect the rural economy, rose just under 10 percent last week. All the major indexes jumped; however, the DY 40 went up a little less than the Dow Industrials (up 11.3%); the NASDAQ (up 10.9%) and the Standard & Poor 500 (up 10.5%).
There was wild variation among the Yonder 40 stocks last week. Cato Corp., a retailer, rose nearly 30%. Smithfield Foods dropped nearly 15%. Smithfield produces poultry and all the poultry companies are being beaten down among worries that higher grain prices and lower sales are causing liquidity problems. Pilgrims Pride has talked about sale or bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the ethanol industry continued to crumble. Ethanol producer Verasun Energy of Sioux Falls, S.D., filed for bankruptcy protection after suffering loses in the corn futures market.
Meanwhile, Lee Enterprises, a publisher of small town newspapers, announced that it was suspending dividend payments and was paying higher interest rates to gain better terms from lenders. All newspapers have been in trouble recently, as both advertising and readers have diminished. Lee shares lost 13% last week.