hog sign

Buying hogs in Texas.
Photo: jcshale

Remember the terrible Christmas shopping season that was supposed to begin the day after Thanksgiving? Well, Black Friday rolled around”¦and it wasn’t so terrible after all.

Teen singing sensation Hannah Montana junk was selling like teen junk has always sold. People were lapping up flat screen televisions and digital cameras, according to The Wall Street Journal. Analysts figured sales overall on Friday and Saturday were up more than 7 percent over last year’s two days after Thanksgiving. (Online sales were up more than 22 percent.)

Wal-Mart stock was still down a little more than a percent last week, but the results had to settle nerves among retailers, who were predicting a disastrous season. Still, it was a down week for the 40, the Yonder’s index of publicly traded companies that reflect the rural economy. Twenty-five of the 40 stocks were lower over Thanksgiving week, and the Yonder 40 as a whole was off by just over a percent in the four trading days.

Most of the losses in the week were moderate — except for RV manufacturer Fleetwood Enterprises, which made the Motley Fool’s “worst stocks in the world” list this week, after the company dropped 20 percent of its value. Fleetwood reached its 52 week low earlier in the week, recovering only slightly on Friday. There was no particular news that seemed to drive the company lower.

Farm-related stocks were all over the map. Deere & Co. reported net income that was up 52 percent over the fourth quarter of last year. Demand was strong for Deere’s farm equipment. (Caterpillar, meanwhile, issued a gloomier forecast.) The Wall Street Journal attributed Deere’s strength to increased demand for biofuels and a worldwide boom in agriculture. Deere was up 8 percent for the week.

Yonder 40

Lower hog prices cut both ways with Yonder 40 companies. Meat processor Hormel Co. reported a 12 percent jump in earnings partially because of lower hog prices. Hormel predicted higher profits over the next year because the company expects live hog prices to decline more than 10 percent in ’08. Hormel’s stock price was up nearly 6 percent last week.

Meanwhile, meat producer Smithfield Foods predicted that lower hog prices would cut the company’s earnings. JPMorgan recently downgraded Smithfield stock, citing both higher feed prices and lower sale prices. Smithfield was down 4 percent.

All stock indexes dropped last week. (See chart.) The Yonder 40 is now down nearly 7 percent since July 1.

Below are the full results for the Yonder 40 stocks for the week ending November 23, 2007:

CompaniesTickerPrice November 23Price Change for WeekPercent Change for Week
Alico Inc.ALCO$44.21-$0.12-0.3%
Andersons Inc.ANDE$42.00-$2.00-4.5%
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.BNI$82.45-$3.37-3.9%
Berkshire HathawayBRKB$4,475.00-$68.90-1.5%
Bassett FurnitureBSET$9.69-$0.64-6.2%
Peabody Energy Corp.BTU$52.61$0.200.4%
Cabela’s Inc.CAB$16.35-$0.15-0.9%
ConAgra Foods Inc.CAG$23.82$0.050.2%
Cato Corp. Cl ACTR$19.85$0.975.1%
Citizens CommunicationsCZN$12.64-$0.25-1.9%
Deere & Co.DE$156.64$11.588.0%
Dean Foods Co.DF$24.71$0.200.8%
DIRECTV GroupDTV$24.17$0.301.3%
Family Dollar Stores Inc.FDO$22.82$0.693.1%
Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.FLE$6.05-$1.51-20.0%
FairPoint CommunicationsFRP$16.02-$0.31-1.9%
Gaylord Entertainment Co.GET$40.43-$2.55-5.9%
Hormel FoodsHRL$37.79$2.045.7%
International Speedway Corp.ISCA$43.00-$0.52-1.2%
Lee EnterprisesLEE$14.72-$1.36-8.5%
Mohawk Industries Inc.MHK$79.00$0.200.3%
Monsanto Co.MON$90.41-$3.87-4.1%
Mine Safety Appliances Co.MSA$47.19-$1.90-3.9%
Southwest BancorpOKSB$16.98-$0.66-3.7%
Plum Creek Timber REITPCL$43.14-$0.08-0.2%
Penn Virginia Corp.PVA$45.68-$0.65-1.4%
Ralcorp HoldingsRAH$62.97$0.290.5%
Regions Financial Corp.RF$24.22-$0.10-0.4%
Sturm Ruger & Co.RGR$9.37$0.647.3%
Smithfield FoodsSFD$27.84-$1.14-3.9%
Skywest Inc.SKYW$24.80-$1.09-4.2%
Southern Co.SO$38.04$1.022.8%
Stage Stores Inc.SSI$17.31$0.492.9%
Tractor Supply Co.TSCO$39.70$0.040.1%
Tyson FoodsTSN$14.83-$0.23-1.5%
UST Inc.UST$55.15$1.092.0%
Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.WDR$32.06-$0.89-2.7%
Walter IndustriesWLT$33.32-$0.43-1.3%
Wal-Mart StoresWMT$45.73-$0.61-1.3%
Cimarex EnergyXEC$39.08-$0.63-1.6%

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