Spokane Journal of Business

Inland Northwest public companies lag behind S&P 500

Index dips in first three months

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Hart Capital Management Inc., a Spokane-based investment firm, says the combined stock value of 11 publicly traded companies in the Inland Northwest, as measured in an overall index it compiles, fell 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015, compared with the prior quarter.

The Inland Northwest index lagged the S&P 500, which increased by just 0.4 percent as a whole during the same period.

While down for the quarter, the Hart Capital index has risen 5.5 percent during the 12-month period ended March 31. 

However, The S&P 500 rose 10.4 percent during the same time period, Hart Capital says in a report published earlier this month. 

Hart Capital’s index uses a methodology similar to that of the S&P 500.

The strongest performing stock in the Hart index in the first quarter of 2015 were Spokane Valley-based Key Tronic Corp., which rose 35.5 percent, driven by a strong earnings report and growth in its customer base, the investment company says. 

Banks also were strong over the last quarter, with Spokane-based Inland Northwest Bank parent Northwest Bancorporation Inc., Coeur d’Alene-based Idaho Independent Bank, and Washington Trust Bank parent WTB Financial Corp. up 11 percent, 7.1 percent, and 6.9 percent, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the weakest performers of the 11 companies were Itron Inc., Clearwater Paper Corp., and Potlatch Corp., all based in Spokane, with price declines of 13.7 percent, 4.7 percent, and 4.4 percent, respectively. Itron’s performance was attributed to a weak earnings report, the investment firm says. 

Avista Corp. also fell by 3.3 percent, it says.

 A number of other companies here showed first quarter gains in stock prices, including Hecla Mining Co., up 6.8 percent; Red Lion Hotels Corp., up 5.2 percent; and Ambassadors Group Inc., up 1.2 percent. 

In the past 12 months, all but two companies in the index saw stock price growth, according to the report, with Northwest Bancorporation, Red Lion Hotels, and WTB Financial increasing by 20.8 percent, 14.4 percent, and 12.6 percent, respectively. Ambassadors Group’s stock price fell 36.1 percent during the period as the company continues to struggle with restructuring costs and fewer enrollments, the report says. 

Hart Capital also compiles what it calls the Inland Northwest Composite to track the aggregate market value of the same 11 publicly traded companies. Market value, or capitalization, is share price multiplied by the number of outstanding shares.

During the first quarter, the composite here fell $334.6 million, or 3.8 percent. Over the past 12 months, the composite fell $1.79 billion, or a loss of 17.6 percent. 

That decline was due entirely, though, to several companies dropping from the list. Sandpoint-based Coldwater Creek Inc. declared bankruptcy, Intermountain Community Bancorp merged with Tacoma, Wash.-based Columbia Banking System Inc., and Sterling Financial Corp. was acquired by Portland-based Umpqua Holdings Corp. Excluding those impacts, the composite would have risen by $400.2 million, or 5 percent.

Hart Capital, which is located at 601 W. Main in downtown Spokane, is an independent, research focused wealth and asset management investment firm.

Judith  Spitzer
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Reporter Judith Spitzer covers technology, mining, agriculture, and wood products for the Journal. A vintage-obsessed antique collector in her off hours, Judith worked as a journalist in Colorado and Oregon before joining the Journal.

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