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Local stocks outpace indexes in third quarter

Rochester Business Journal
October 12, 2012

Local stocks trading on the New York Stock Exchange gained 11 percent in the third quarter, and locals on the Nasdaq and other exchanges rose 7 percent, outpacing broader indexes.
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4.3 percent for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was up 5.8 percent. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 6.2 percent.
 
Of 50 local NYSE stocks at the start of the quarter, 40 finished in positive territory, eight lost ground and two were unchanged.
 
On the Nasdaq, NYSE MKT and the over-the-counter bulletin board, 17 local stocks gained, eight fell and one was flat.
 
The best local performers on the NYSE included Constellation Brands Inc., whose Class A shares jumped 50 percent. The shares for the Victor-based beverage producer are up 86 percent over 12 months.
 
The growth is attributable to stronger sales and an improved balance sheet, said Scott Nasca, president of Generation Capital Management LLC in Rochester.
 
"It's caught a lot of people by surprise, in terms of the strength of the underlying financials," he said. "They had a lot of people betting against them. When they come out and beat earnings estimates, they tend to get a lot of support behind the stock with the institutional buying coming in from larger holdings that want to play that space now."
 
Shares of Connecticut-based Genesee & Wyoming Inc., whose administrative offices are in Rochester, jumped 35 percent in the third quarter after it announced in July that it plans to buy RailAmerica Inc. for $1.4 billion.
 
The deal would combine the two largest short-line rail companies in North America and could boost earnings by 10 percent in 2013, Genesee & Wyoming officials said.
 
Harris Corp., whose RF Communications division is in Rochester, increased by 25 percent in the quarter.
 
Among those on the downside locally on the NYSE were Manning & Napier Inc., whose shares dropped 8 percent, and Xerox Corp., down 3 percent.
 
"Xerox sales continue to be slow," Nasca said. "There's not much news in terms of improvements in their underlying core business holdings. Unfortunately, Xerox hasn't rebounded as much as other people in the space have rebounded."
 
Local leaders on the Nasdaq and other boards included Seneca Foods Corp. of Marion, Wayne County, whose Class A shares were up 18 percent.
 
"The Federal Reserve is pumping a lot of money into the system," Nasca said. "When you start to see weakness in stocks, the liquidity of the excess cash in there is really propelling the market. That is forcing investors to take more risks."
 
Stocks are a better buy than bonds, Nasca said.
 
"You just have to plug your nose and go in there, because with all the volatility going on with the stock market, you have to look at the long term," he said. "Companies are doing well. You just need to get confidence up and get the economy strengthened. But stocks are probably the best place to be for at least the next year."

10/12/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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