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.
For the first time since early July, the Yonder 40 outshone the other major stock indexes, rising 3.4 percent in the last week and etching its way into positive territory for the first time since the end of July. The Yonder 40 is DY’s compilation of publicly-traded companies that reflect the rural economy.
The other major indexes trailed the Yonder 40 for the week ending October 5. The Dow Industrial average rose just over a percentage point for the week. The S&P 500 rose two percentage points and the NASDAQ was up three.
The 40 was up broadly, with only seven stocks down for the week. While large cap stocks have been leading the fall rally, last week smaller cap stocks did better, and that helped the DY 40.
The Yonder 40 was led by stocks that have been battered recently. Alico, Inc., a land management company operating in Southwest Florida, was up nearly 16 percent in the week. Alico owns 137,000 acres and has various agriculture and real estate operations. There was no particular news driving Alico stock, which is still down nearly 18 percent since July 1.
Lee Enterprises, which owns a string of rural and small town newspapers, was up 12 percent this week, after slumping over the summer along with other newspaper stocks and reaching a 52-week low last week. Lee is still down more than 16 percent since July 1.
There was other news during the week about these rural-based companies:
“¢ Bassett Furniture reported an increase in quarter earnings, up to six cents a share over a penny in 2006.
“¢ Family Dollar Store said financial pressures on its customers would contribute to slower sales. The company was predicting flat to slightly higher same-store sales in September and that 2008 earnings would be rise about five percent.
“Volatile gasoline prices that have burdened our customers in 2007 will most likely continue in 2008. And the inflationary pressures we have seen in key consumables like food show no sign of abating,” said Chief Executive Howard Levine said during a conference call. “What is even harder to predict is the fallout of the recent mortgage crisis and a slow down in the housing market.”
“¢ Fires in Montana cost Plum Creek Timber, a Seattle-based timberland company. Fire risk in Montana caused Plum Creek to curtail timbering operations in the region during August. And fires in western Montana damaged 41,000 acres, about half a percent of the company’s timber land.
“¢ Dean Foods, the country’s largest dairy producer, announced last week that record milk prices were cutting into profits and causing the company to eliminate 700 jobs. Dean thought growing milk supply would have lowered prices for the commodity, but worldwide demand had dashed those expectations. Meanwhile, according to the company, there was an oversupply of organic milk.
Below are the results for the full Yonder 40 for the week ending October 5th.
|Companies||Ticker||Price October 5||Price Change for Week||Percent Change for Week|
|Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.||BNI||86.78||$5.61||6.9%|
|Peabody Energy Corp.||BTU||48.79||$0.92||1.9%|
|ConAgra Foods Inc.||CAG||25.76||-$0.37||-1.4%|
|Cato Corp. Cl A||CTR||21.51||$1.07||5.2%|
|Deere & Co.||DE||147.27||-$1.15||-0.8%|
|Dean Foods Co.||DF||27.04||$1.46||5.7%|
|Family Dollar Stores Inc.||FDO||27.29||$0.73||2.7%|
|Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.||FLE||9.56||$1.01||11.8%|
|Gaylord Entertainment Co.||GET||54.22||$1.00||1.9%|
|International Speedway Corp.||ISCA||47.8||$1.94||4.2%|
|Mohawk Industries Inc.||MHK||84.43||$3.13||3.8%|
|Mine Safety Appliances Co.||MSA||48.97||$1.86||3.9%|
|Plum Creek Timber REIT||PCL||44.12||-$0.64||-1.4%|
|Penn Virginia Corp.||PVA||45.35||$1.37||3.1%|
|Regions Financial Corp.||RF||31.01||$1.53||5.2%|
|Sturm Ruger & Co.||RGR||18.51||$0.60||3.4%|
|Stage Stores Inc.||SSI||19.02||$0.79||4.3%|
|Tractor Supply Co.||TSCO||48.3||$2.21||4.8%|
|Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.||WDR||27.8||$0.77||2.8%|