Most Minnesota companies can't beat the Dowby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a milestone Thursday, closing above the 14,000 mark for the first time. The average consists of 30 of the largest and most widely held public companies in the United States. Those companies, which include Maplewood-based 3M, have been on quite run since late April.
But most Minnesota-based firms have not fared nearly as well during the Dow's run. Since late April when the Dow shot past 13,000, the Dow's value has jumped about 7 percent. But during the same stretch, Minnesota's publicly traded companies saw their share prices increase just about 3.5 percent on average.
St. Paul, Minn. — Mark Henneman, co-manager of the Mairs and Power Growth Fund, has an explanation for why Minnesota stocks lagged the Dow.
Henneman says what has been largely driving the Dow is strong foreign economies and investment prospects. And most Minnesota companies don't have great international exposure, with one especially notable exception -- 3M.
Henneman notes that Maplewood-based 3M's stock rose about 20 percent during the Dow's hot streak.
"You really have gotten paid for companies that do a lot of their business outside the United States," says Henneman. "3M, of course, is a great example of that, with 60 percent of their revenue coming from outside the United States."
Local financial services firms didn't do well during the Dow's latest run.
Piper Jaffray, Travelers and US Bancorp all lost value. Bank stocks, in particular, are getting hit by concerns about rising consumer defaults and worries about a recession.
And Twin Cities medical technology companies suffered, for the most part, while the Dow was on its roll. Both Medtronic and St. Jude saw their shares lose a few percentage points off their value.
Henneman says that not surprising. Henneman says investors are not inclined to look for safe "defensive" health-care related stocks during a robust market rally.
"Health care names like Medtronic were pretty well flat," says Henneman. "It hasn't been their kind of market."
One exception to the med tech malaise was a small company, Synovis Life Technologies. The company's stock jumped about 15 percent during the Dow's run. Synovis' products include devices for microsurgery and surgical tools.
Ernie Andberg, an analyst with Feltl and Co., in Minneapolis, says the company seems to be finding its place in the medical device market.
"Synovis during that period reported a very strong third quarter that was much better than I expected, both in terms of revenues and earnings," says Andberg. "And the stock is responding to that improvement in fundamentals, I believe."
Some local food company stocks bulked up during the Dow's hot streak.
Shares of Nash Finch, a big grocery wholesaler based in Edina, rose about 40 percent. And two publicly traded restaurant chains -- Famous Dave's and Buffalo Wild Wings -- each jumped about 25 percent.
- All Things Considered, 07/19/2007, 5:20 p.m.