Md. stocks regain 31% of the dive But the bounce is less than that enjoyed by most market indexes

Ciena up, Medimmune down

One selective buyer expects 'a little bit more on the downside'

Securities

September 02, 1998|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

The rebound by Maryland companies yesterday was far less dramatic than in the rest of the stock market, a sign that investors aren't quite ready to sink money into smaller, home-grown companies.

The Sun-Bloomberg Maryland Index gained 3.16 points yesterday to close at 172.87, with more than half of the 100 firms posting increases and 10 remaining unchanged.

Yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average regained 56.3 percent of its Monday loss, but the Sun-Bloomberg Maryland Index recouped only 31 percent. While some Maryland companies posted admirable rebounds, 37 of the index's 100 lost ground.

It takes times to rebuild confidence in the market after a plunge, and that has directly affected local companies, said James A. Kujawski, a vice president of Prudential Securities Inc. in Baltimore.

"Institutions will return to the safest place, and that means blue-chip stocks," he said.

"They are usually the first stocks up, and then investors start doing a little more bargain hunting."

And that will lead them back to Maryland companies that typically trade hundreds of thousands of shares a day instead of bigger companies that trade millions of shares a day, Kujawski said.

Ciena Corp., which was forced last week to renegotiate the terms of its merger with Tellabs Inc., led the upsweep, rising $5.50 to $33.625. In Monday's plunge, shares of the Linthicum-based telecommunications equipment maker fell $7.1875.

On Monday, the sell-off had translated into an 10.17-point loss for the Sun-Bloomberg Maryland Index, with companies such as Legg Mason Inc., Black & Decker Corp., Healthcare Financial Partners Inc., Medimmune Inc. and Comsat Corp. posting big losses.

Yesterday, fortunes were mixed for the companies. The top gainers included Comsat, which rose $4.3125 to $26.125; Black & Decker, which rose $4.1875 to $46.1875; and Healthcare Financial Partners, which rose $3.75 to $34.25.

The two companies that lagged behind the most yesterday were Medimmune Inc., which fell $4.875 to $43.375, and Legg Mason, which declined $2.875 to $44.625.

"Some companies are starting to snap back, but it's going to be short-lived," said Morry A. Zolet, senior vice president of investments for Ferris, Baker Watts Inc. in Baltimore.

"I'm still buying things, but I'm being selective with my purchases," he said. "Everyone has had so much fun while the market was going up, now we just have to expect a little bit more on the downside."

Maryland's big gainers

The 10 companies in the Sun-Bloomberg Maryland index that had the biggest gains yesterday:

Company .................... Price ..... Change ..... % Change

Ciena ...................... $33.625 ... +$5.50 ..... +19.6%

Comsat ..................... $26.125 ... +$4.3125 ... +19.8%

Black & Decker ............. $46.1875 .. +$4.1875 ... +10.0%

Healthcare Fin. Partners ... $34.25 .... +$3.75 ..... +12.3%

Lockheed Martin ............ $90.0625 .. +$2.50 ..... +2.9%

Sinclair Broadcast Group ... $18.50 .... +$2.4375 ... +15.17%

Entremed Inc. .............. $19.1875 .. +$2.25 ..... +13.2%

Snyder Communications ...... $32.00 .... +$1.875 .... +6.2%

Mercantile Bancshares ...... $29.75 .... +$1.75 ..... +6.3%

U.S. Foodservice ........... $38.50 .... +$1.4375 ... +3.8%

Pub Date: 9/02/98

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