In a wild week of trading, the Yonder 40 stock index rose over three percent, more than twice the increase of other major stock indexes. The Yonder 40 — 40 publicly traded companies that reflect the rural economy — is still down four and a half percent since July 1, however.
The Yonder 40 was helped this week by coal-related stocks. As rescue crews searched for six miners trapped by roof falls in a Utah mine and three Indiana miners died in a fall down a mine shaft, Wall Street found favor with companies engaged in mining activities. Peabody Coal Co. was up 15 percent last week. Mine Safety Appliances rose over 11 percent. Walter Industries rose 10 percent in five days of trading.
There was no particular news with these companies that would lead to such sharp rises. Mine Safety Appliances, which makes safety products for the mining industry, reported higher second quarter earnings. Walter Industries, which has coal, natural gas and homebuilding operations, reported a 72 percent drop in second-quarter net income.
However, a Dow Jones story speculated that coal firms could be subject to mergers. While other mining sectors have gone through a period of consolidation, the story said, the “exception to date: coal, specifically North American coal. But many in the industry say that is about to change.”
The story quoted sources in the industry as saying they expected the industry to begin consolidating by early next year, especially among Eastern producers. (Peabody and Walter have large operations in the Eastern U.S.) According to Dow Jones’ sources, “fundamentals are keen for consolidation, given that coal is widely viewed over the long term as a low-cost solution to the country’s growing energy needs, and that the U.S. has the biggest reserves in the world.”
In other Yonder 40 news, Stage Stores fell 14 percent after the same stores’ sales dropped. The jump in corn prices and ethanol sales helped push up Andersons’ income and stock price; the Ohio-based grain and ethanol company reported net income that doubled in the second quarter — and the company’s stock price jumped 8.5 percent.
The full Yonder 40 is below.
THE YONDER 40: AUGUST 3-10
|Companies||Ticker||Price Aug. 10||Price Change for Week||Percent Change for Week|
|Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.||BNI||80.58||$1.48||1.87%|
|Peabody Energy Corp.||BTU||45.34||$5.91||14.99%|
|ConAgra Foods Inc.||CAG||25.97||$0.21||0.82%|
|Cato Corp. Cl A||CTR||19.02||-$1.52||-7.40%|
|Deere & Co.||DE||117.3||-$0.16||-0.14%|
|Dean Foods Co.||DF||27.43||-$1.13||-3.96%|
|Family Dollar Stores Inc.||FDO||26.11||-$2.15||-7.61%|
|Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.||FLE||9.67||$0.73||8.17%|
|Gaylord Entertainment Co.||GET||52.69||$3.73||7.62%|
|International Speedway Corp.||ISCA||46.99||-$1.30||-2.69%|
|Mohawk Industries Inc.||MHK||87.4||-$0.10||-0.11%|
|Mine Safety Appliances Co.||MSA||51.59||$5.21||11.23%|
|Plum Creek Timber REIT||PCL||41.26||$2.61||6.75%|
|Penn Virginia Corp.||PVA||39.2||$0.01||0.03%|
|Regions Financial Corp.||RF||30.69||$1.60||5.50%|
|Sturm Ruger & Co.||RGR||16.77||-$3.60||-17.67%|
|Stage Stores Inc.||SSI||18.69||$2.27||13.82%|
|Tractor Supply Co.||TSCO||48.98||$2.59||5.58%|
|Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.||WDR||23.9||-$0.03||-0.13%|