The Daily Yonder's coverage of rural economic issues, including workforce development and the future of work in rural America, is supported in part by Microsoft.
After two turbulent months of trading, the Yonder 40 index, 40 publicly traded companies that reflect the rural economy, is down by a smidgen more than three percent. The Yonder 40 is down more than the Dow, the NASDAQ and the S&P 500, all broader measures of the nation’s economy.
Why is the Yonder 40 off by more than the other indexes? Here’s one guess.
The S&P 500 is down by about two percent since July 1. However, another measure of the S&P 500 — one that makes an equal investment in each of the 500 stocks of the index — is down nearly four and a half percentage points for the two months. That may help explain what’s happening in the markets and why the Yonder 40 is off by more than the standard indexes.
The regular S&P 500 is weighted by the size of the company. Wal-Mart is a big company, so Wal-Mart is a bigger proportion of the regular 500 index. But the Rydex S&P Equal Weighted Fund (RSP) makes an equal investment in each of the 500 stocks. Equal weighting turns the S&P 500 into a different beast. Instead of being controlled by large corporations, the RSP is more of a mid-sized fund.
The Yonder 40 is equal-weighted, too — and like the RSP the 40 is more a reflection of small or mid-sized firms. The Yonder welcomes opinions of others, but it appears the past two months have been hard on mid-sized firms, particularly ones doing business in rural areas.
Within the Yonder 40, there are significant differences in stock performance. Twenty-five of the 40 stocks are down since July 1. (See list below.) Eleven are off by more than ten percentage points — and Stage Stores is down by more than 17 points. The gun-maker Sturm Ruger, meanwhile, is up by more than 17 percentage points.
The Daily Yonder, however, defers to its readers for more learned commentary!
|Companies||Ticker||Price August 31||Percent Change for Week||Price Change for Week||Percent Change Since July 1, 2007|
|Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.||BNI||81.15||0.7%||$0.60||-4.7%|
|Peabody Energy Corp.||BTU||42.51||-0.2%||-$0.09||-12.1%|
|ConAgra Foods Inc.||CAG||25.71||0.4%||$0.11||-4.3%|
|Cato Corp. Cl A||CTR||22.07||3.5%||$0.75||0.6%|
|Deere & Co.||DE||136.06||4.5%||$5.80||12.7%|
|Dean Foods Co.||DF||26.86||-3.1%||-$0.85||-15.7%|
|Family Dollar Stores Inc.||FDO||29.28||4.0%||$1.13||-14.7%|
|Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.||FLE||9.32||0.5%||$0.05||3.0%|
|Gaylord Entertainment Co.||GET||51.35||-1.8%||-$0.96||-4.3%|
|International Speedway Corp.||ISCA||47.08||-1.6%||-$0.78||-10.7%|
|Mohawk Industries Inc.||MHK||87.31||-0.4%||-$0.33||-13.4%|
|Mine Safety Appliances Co.||MSA||47.92||-4.2%||-$2.08||9.5%|
|Plum Creek Timber REIT||PCL||41.93||0.1%||$0.05||0.6%|
|Penn Virginia Corp.||PVA||39.91||-0.6%||-$0.26||-0.7%|
|Regions Financial Corp.||RF||31.3||-4.2%||-$1.38||-5.4%|
|Sturm Ruger & Co.||RGR||18.24||-5.6%||-$1.09||17.5%|
|Stage Stores Inc.||SSI||17.33||1.2%||$0.20||-17.3%|
|Tractor Supply Co.||TSCO||48.16||0.1%||$0.03||-7.5%|
|Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.||WDR||24.84||0.4%||$0.10||-4.5%|