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Local stocks see gains in Q1, trail benchmarks

Rochester Business Journal
April 15, 2011

Stocks of companies with a Rochester presence gained 4 percent in the first quarter on the New York Stock Exchange and on the Nasdaq and other exchanges.

On the NYSE, 30 stocks with extensive operations here posted positive returns for the quarter ended March 31; 19 showed losses.

On the Nasdaq, American Stock Exchange and Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, 14 local stocks gained ground, 10 declined and four were flat.

Local returns lagged national indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 6.4 percent for the quarter. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up nearly 4.3 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index returned 5.4 percent.

Leading local performers on the NYSE included the Cooper Cos. Inc., whose stock rose 23 percent to $69.74 a share; Harris Corp., up 12 percent to $50.62; and ITT Corp., up 14 percent to $60.51.

The biggest percentage bumps came from Nortel Networks Corp., which jumped 200 percent to 3 cents a share from a penny a share, and Ciber Inc., up 33 percent to $6.55.

The biggest drop among NYSE locals was for Eastman Kodak Co., which fell 41 percent to $3.28.

"My understanding is the trajectory of sales of movie film-which has been down for some time, like every other kind of film-is beginning to steepen a little quicker than Kodak had planned," said George Conboy, president of Brighton Securities Corp.

"This is complicating their continued and yearslong transformation strategy because Kodak has always been relying on the profits from film to transition to something else. Now those profits from film are getting very difficult to find, and something else hasn't arrived with the kind of profit that Kodak had been expecting."

AMEX stock Graham Corp. returned 19 percent, finishing at $24.83. On a percentage basis, GateHouse Media Inc., trading on the pink sheets system, set the pace with a gain of 60 percent to 16 cents.

AMEX member Document Security Systems Inc. had the greatest drop among locals on non-NYSE exchanges, losing 25 percent to $4.11.

Local stocks were affected by three merger and acquisition transactions in the last two weeks.

Rural/Metro Corp. of Scottsdale, Ariz., which has more than 400 employees locally, announced March 28 that it will be acquired by the private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC for $438.2 million.

The $370 million acquisition of One Communications Corp. by Earthlink Inc.'s business division was completed April 1. One Communications, based in Burlington, Mass., employs some 450 people here.

The acquisition of Global Crossing Ltd. by Level 3 Communications Inc. was announced Monday. Global Crossing, based in Florham Park, N.J., employs some 500 people here.

"We have seen merger and acquisition activity heating up nationwide," Conboy said. "That's seeing its echo in our area, where companies that are not on the radar screen of a lot of investors may have some real value but either have a troubled history or a difficult-to-understand business."

4/15/11 (c) 2011 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.


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