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DAIN BOSWORTH NORTHWEST INDEX HEALTHY DURING FIRST QUARTER; STOCK MARKET SHOWS STABLE TO STRONG REGIONAL ECONOMY

 SEATTLE, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The stocks of public Northwest companies posted a strong first quarter, belying predictions of regional economic gloom being heard from many sources, said Northwest research analysts at Dain Bosworth Incorporated in Seattle. The strongest performance was by natural resources companies, but technology, financial and utility stocks did well, too.
 "These companies are all benefitting from an improving interest rate environment," said Dain's Northwest research manager and technology analyst Glenn Powers. "Retail stocks were the laggards, though, partially because of investor concerns about reduced consumer spending in the wake of Boeing cutbacks."
 The Dain Bosworth Pacific Northwest Index of 55 companies was up 5.73 percent from the end of 1992 to finish the first quarter at 419.567. Among the major national indexes, the Dow Jones Industrials (+4.73 percent) gained the most, while the S&P 500 was up 3.73 percent. The NASDAQ (+1.37 percent) worked hard to stay in the plus column at the end of the quarter.
 Dain's Pacific Northwest Index is divided into six segments which reflect the most important sectors of the region's economy. The segments cover Northwest utilities, manufacturing, financial institutions, retail/services, technology and natural resources companies. Dain Bosworth tracks the Northwest stocks as one measure of how well the region's economy is performing when compared with the rest of the nation.
 During the first quarter, the stocks of 35 companies in the Dain Pacific Northwest Index were up, while 20 declined. The biggest winner was Pope & Talbot (+58.59 percent to 25.375). Others in the top five of the Dain Northwest Index included Electro Scientific (+54.76 percent to $8.125), TJ International (+41.11 percent to $31.750), Coeur d'Alene Mines (+37.63 percent to $16.000) and Aldus Corp. (+36.84 percent to $19.500).
 The five worst performing stocks in Dain's Northwest Index included Nordstrom (-15.48 percent to $32.750), Costco (-19.39 percent to $19.750), Egghead Discount Software (-20.25 percent to $7.875) and
Esterline (-21.51 percent to $9.125). The region's largest loser during the first quarter was SpaceLabs Medical (-34.19 percent to $19.250).
 Five of Dain's six industry segments were up during the first quarter of 1993 while one was down. The leading segment was Dain's list of natural resources companies (+13.94 percent), which was led by Pope & Talbot, Coeur d'Alene Mines and Hecla Mining (+32.26 percent). Three stocks in this segment lost ground during the quarter. Longview Fibre lost 2.70 percent, while NERCO was down 5.05 percent and Willamette Industries was down 6.67 percent.
 "In general, the paper and forest products sector appears poised for cyclical earnings improvement in 1993," said Dain's paper and forest products analyst George Haloulakos. "Companies which have already posted positive earnings surprises tend to have a very strong wood products segment leading the way." As examples, Haloulakos points to Boise Cascade (+15.98 percent), Pope & Talbot, Weyerhaeuser (+11.49 percent) and Louisiana Pacific (+17.15 percent).
 The 10 stocks in Dain's technology index (+6.41 percent) was the second healthiest segment during the quarter. Notable winners included Electro Scientific, Tektronix (+36.02 percent) and Aldus Corp. The biggest technology losers included Data I/O (-5.26 percent), John Fluke Manufacturing (-7.30 percent) and SpaceLabs Medical. Microsoft was up 8.35 percent on a big last-minute rally.
 "The biggest gains among technology stocks were posted by companies that had been relatively weak during the past two years," Powers said. "Tektronix was the strongest technology stock during the quarter. Economic growth is expected to help its biggest business, test and measurement equipment, and orders have been growing for its line color printers."
 Aldus also posted a strong gain during the quarter, with the market looking forward to big earnings gains from a new version of its flagship PageMaker product. "We expect the company to report only break-even results in the March 1993 quarter, but the June quarter should be its most profitable in nearly two years," Powers said.
 "Electro Scientific, after a recent all-time low, is up dramatically," Haloulakos said. "A new management team has helped to reverse its recent string of quarterly losses and the company's incoming order rates are sharply higher."
 The 10 utility companies (+5.78 percent) in the Dain Index performed well this quarter. The winners included Portland General (+14.29 percent), Washington Energy (+10.34 percent) and Idaho Power (+10.00 percent). This segment's largest losers included Pacific Telecom (-4.08 percent) and PacifiCorp (-8.23 percent).
 Dain's index of six regional financial institutions (+4.71 percent) was the next healthiest segment during the first quarter. The biggest gainers were Horizon Bank (+18.97 percent) and SAFECO (+15.07 percent). The biggest losers among financial institutions were U.S. Bancorp (-3.79 percent) and Washington Mutual (-5.20 percent). Two index stalwarts, Puget Sound Bancorp and Pioneer Savings Bank, dropped off Dain's financial index during the quarter, having been acquired by KeyCorp and Washington Mutual respectively.
 "The performance of financial stocks during the first quarter was considerably mixed," said Dain research analyst R. Jay Tejera. "SAFECO benefitted from investor expectations of a better pricing environment in the wake of several expensive natural disasters. Spokane-based Sterling Financial, although not on the Dain Index as of now, benefitted from good earnings, a successful bond offering and positive economic news from Eastern Washington.
 "The stock of Washington Mutual lost value on investor jitters concerning the effect of Boeing-induced layoffs and the health of the Western Washington economy," Tejera said.
 Dain's list of 11 Northwest manufacturing companies (+3.38 percent) finished on the positive side of the quarterly ledger. The biggest winner was TJ International. Also finishing strongly were Univar (+38.71 percent) and ELDEC (+20.00 percent). The biggest losers included Boeing (-13.04 percent), Penwest (-14.12 percent) and Esterline.
 "Two Boise-based firms, TJ International (a maker of engineered wood products) and BMC West (a distributor of engineered wood and other building products) are up significantly because of cyclical recovery and market share gains by engineered wood," Haloulakos said. "Penwest, a specialty chemicals supplier to the paper industry, declined because of a competitive squeeze on profitability.
 "A sharp slowdown in both order rates and deliveries of commercial jet aircraft has caused Boeing to initiate major employment reductions, which in turn has caused the stock to decline," Haloulakos said. "Paccar, whose 1992 earnings increased 65 percent on a 19-percent sales gain, is already up 12.66 percent this year because the 1993 outlook appears even better."
 Dain's list of eight Pacific Northwest retail/service companies barely ended up in the red, losing 0.62 percent as a group, and finished last among all six segments for the third consecutive quarter. The biggest winner once again was Airborne Freight (+27.52 percent), while Albertson's, Inc. (+11.88 percent) did respectably during the quarter, as well. Those which lost ground during the quarter did it in grand style. Nordstrom lost 15.48 percent, while Costco (-19.39 percent) continued its slide. Egghead dropped 20.25 percent, giving back gains from the previous quarter.
 "Egghead made a number of changes to its senior management recently," Powers noted, "and investors may be taking a wait-and- see attitude toward them."
 Dain Bosworth is a full-service stock brokerage and investment banking firm with 13 Pacific Northwest offices located in Bellevue, Bellingham, Bremerton, Everett, Seattle and Spokane, Wash.; in Bend, Eugene, Medford, Portland and Salem, Ore.; and in Billings and Great Falls, Mont. The Minneapolis-based corporation has 52 offices nationwide, is a member of the New York Stock Exchange and is a subsidiary of Inter-Regional Financial Group (IFG). The firm has more than $200 million in annual revenues through service to 250,000 investors.
 -0- 3/31/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: A complete set of stock performance tables is available on request/
 /CONTACT: David Endicott of Communication Northwest, 206-285-7070, or after hours, 206-283-5916; or Glenn Powers, 206-621-3116, or George A. Haloulakos, 206-621-3118, or R. Jay Tejera, 206-621-3125, or Deborah L. Wardwell, 206-621-3106, or Tricia Reebs, 206-621-3121, or Mary Ekman, 206-621-3191, all of Dain Bosworth Incorporated/


CO: Dain Bosworth Incorporated ST: Washington IN: FIN SU: ECO

LM -- SE023 -- 1785 03/31/93 20:43 EST
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