Spokane Journal of Business

Publicly traded Inland Northwest companies outperformed S&P 500 last quarter

Year over year, index up nearly 10 percent

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Hart Capital Management, a Spokane-based investment firm, says the combined stock value of 11 publicly traded Inland Northwest companies, as measured in an overall index it compiles, rose 9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, beating out the S&P 500, which increased 4.4 percent. 

Over the last 12 months, the Hart Capital index has risen 9.8 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 11.4 percent, Hart Capital says in a quarterly report published earlier this month. 

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

The strongest performing stocks in the Hart index in the fourth quarter were Avista Corp., Clearwater Paper Corp., and Hecla Mining Co., whose stock prices climbed 15.8 percent, 14 percent, and 12.5 percent, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the weakest performers of the 11 companies were Ambassadors Group Inc. and Key Tronic Corp., both based here, and Idaho Independent Bank, of Coeur d’Alene, with price declines of minus 32.4 percent, minus 24.9 percent, and minus 1.1 percent, respectively, Hart says. 

A number of other companies here also showed fourth-quarter gains in stock price, including Red Lion Hotels Corp., up 11.4 percent; Inland Northwest Bank parent Northwest Bancorporation Inc., up 9.2 percent; Itron, Inc., up 7.6 percent; Potlatch Corp., up 4.1 percent; and Washington Trust Bank parent WTB Financial Corp., up 0.6 percent, the investment firm says. 

For all of 2014, Hart Capital says Clearwater Paper led the index with a stock-price increase of 30.6 percent, after reporting strong earnings, announcing a share repurchase plan, and receiving a rating upgrade from D.A. Davidson of neutral to buy in October. Avista followed with a 25.4 percent gain, the investment firm 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. 

For the fourth quarter, the composite here gained $560.6 million, or 6.9 percent. Intermountain Community Bancorp was removed in the fourth quarter when it merged with Tacoma, Wash.-based Columbia Banking System Inc. Without that change, the composite would have been up $686.2 million, or 8.5 percent, in the quarter.

As of Dec. 31, the composite declined $1.5 billion from a year earlier. It would have been up $727.1 million, or 9.1 percent, if it had included the same group of companies that had been on the list back then.

Three publicly-traded companies that had been headquartered in the Inland Northwest at the end of 2013 no longer are based here. In addition to the Intermountain merger, Sterling merged with Portland-based Umpqua Holdings Corp., and Sandpoint-based Coldwater Creek Inc. filed for bankruptcy, closing its headquarters and selling its assets. 

Hart Capital, which is located at 601 W. Main in downtown Spokane, is a privately owned 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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