Baltimore stocks held their own in '93

December 18, 1993|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,Money magazine, January 1994. New York Bureau

NEW YORK -- Thinking of in vesting your money in Baltimore companies? According to a survey of 24 cities, that would not have been a bad idea this past year.

Baltimore ranked 11th on the list of two dozen cities, as the stock prices of 12 local companies rose an average 13.1 percent between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, a survey released yesterday by Money magazine shows.

The top city on the list was Phoenix, where stocks roared ahead by 36.9 percent. At the bottom was Seattle, where local offerings slipped 3.1 percent during the 11-month period.

The benchmark Standard & Poor 500 index increased 6 percent over the same time.

"One rule of thumb is to invest in companies you know," said Money's managing editor, Frank Lalli. "Our study shows that's a sound idea."

Of course, that depends on where you live. Fueled by Pheonix's strong showing, the Southwest region was the biggest winner, with Dallas, Denver and Houston posting double-digit gains. Strong local stocks in that region's cities included Phoenix-based computer retailer MicroAge, up 353 percent, and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, up 76.6 percent.

Despite Baltimore's gain of 13 percent, the mid-Atlantic region came out the worst for investors. Philadelphia companies' stocks rose by 6.4 percent, Washington was up by just 4.7 percent and Pittsburgh lost 1.3 percent.

The strongest mid-Atlantic performer was Baltimore Bancorp, up 103.6 percent, to $14. The company reinstated its dividend and is often mentioned as a takeover candidate.

Other above-average Baltimore stocks included: the Annapolis aerospace servicing company, UNC Inc., up 52.3 percent, to $8.375; Legg Mason Inc., up 14.2 percent thanks to strong earnings at regional stock brokerage firms; and Black & Decker Corp, up 13.1 percent on the strength of lower interest rates, which have cut the company's interest costs.

The worst-performing local stocks during the period were McCormick & Co. Inc, down 23.1 percent as the company's earnings failed to meet projections; Mercantile Bankshares Corp., down 17.1 percent because of stagnant revenues; and Manor Care Inc., down 9.6 percent on worries about the effects of health care reform.

Rounding out the 12 local stocks was Baltimore Gas and Electricity Co., up 8 percent; corporate services company PHH Corp., up 1.5 percent; developer Rouse Co., up 6.9 percent; and insurance company USF&G

Corp., up 8.1 percent.

The index tracked 12 stocks in each of the 24 cities.

CITY STOCKS

The nation's top 24 metropolitan regions, ranked by the performance this year of stock prices of local companies:

1. Phoenix +36.9 percent

2. Dallas 32.8 percent

3. Long Island 25.5 percent

4. Chicago 24.6 percent

5. San Diego 23.6 percent

6. Miami 22.1 percent

7. San Fran 17.8 percent

8. Tampa 16.1 percent

9. Detroit 15.9 percent

10. NYC 13.9 percent

11. Baltimore 13.1 percent

12. Denver 11.9 percent

13. Houston 11.7

14. Boston 11.0

15. Atlanta 10.0

16. Cincinnati 9.9

17. St. Louis 9.8

18. Cleveland 6.4

19. Philadelphia 6.4

20. Washington 4.7

21. Los Angeles 4.0

22. Minn/St. Paul 0.2

23. Pittsburgh -1.3

24. Seattle -3.1

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