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Many Arizona Stocks Out-Performing the Dow

Shares of publicly traded Arizona companies had their ups and downs through last month’s stock market plunge. Yet, most Arizona companies’ year-to-date (YTD) stock prices out-performed the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The graph below/to the right/to the left compares the YTD performance of local companies’ shares to the Dow YTD performance. Arizona-based, publicly traded companies that have operations in Northern Arizona include:

Arizona Public Service (APS), subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW)
www.pinnaclewest.com

Pinnacle West and its affiliates provide energy and energy-related products to people and businesses throughout Arizona. Based in Phoenix, Pinnacle West has consolidated assets of about $11 billion. Their largest affiliate, APS, generates, sells and delivers electricity and energy-related products and services. APS serves more than a million customers in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties.
For much of the first two quarters of the year, PNW YTD lagged behind the Dow. In mid-May, the Arizona corporation’s stock reached a high of 9.89 percent YTD. Coming through the downturn, PNW stayed with the DOW, but outperformed it, rising out of the plunge to 4.83 percent YTD in the fourth week of August. In comparison, the Dow was at -2.22 percent YTD.

PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ:PETM)
www.petsmart.com

PetSmart operates more than 1,197 pet stores in the U.S. and Canada, including those in Flagstaff and Prescott Valley. In mid-August, the Phoenix-based company reported earnings per share were up in the second quarter.
“The strength of our brand was evident with another quarter of solid performance and validates the work that we are doing on our journey to becoming a best-in-class specialty retailer,” said Bob Moran, chief executive officer and president. The retailer’s stock performance in the first quarter was notably under the Dow. PETM tracked fairly close to the Dow in Q2 until May, when the stock got a shot in the arm and continued to rise to 15.92 percent YTD in July. Outperforming the Dow through the shaky downturn, PETM fell to -4.62 percent but then rose to 3.74 percent YTD almost six points over the Dow’s -2.22 percent YTD in the fourth week of August.

RSC Equipment Rental, Inc. held by RSC Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RRR)
www.rscrental.com

With construction equipment rental locations in Prescott, Flagstaff and Show Low, this Scottsdale-based company held a conference call last month to discuss current market conditions. “Given the turmoil in the financial markets, we think that there is a disconnect between those markets and what is actually happening on the ground and driving our performance in the real economy,” said Erik Olsson, chief executive officer. “RSC has continued to grow faster than our competition. We continue to see strong demands from customers. …we are getting high levels of optimism and signs of increasing demands for the second half of the year.”
RSC Equipment Rental is one of the largest equipment rental providers in North America – 446 rental locations across the U.S. and Canada afford RSC a large and stable customer base. “We do business with a large cross-section of American industry. Non-construction business includes oil and gas, pulp paper, shipyards, food processing, Petrochemicals, steel mills, and entertainment. Having 60 percent of our business in the industrial sector provides stability,” added Olsson during the recorded meeting. Even though the company reportedly had 21 percent revenue growth in July, the stock still took a beating in August’s downturn and remained well below the Dow. Retreating from its 50 percent YTD gains in April, RRR had not recovered from the stock market downturn and was at -26.39 percent, well below the Dow, in the fourth week of August.

UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE:UNS)
www.uns.com

UniSource Energy supplies gas to Northern Arizona and gas and electricity to the Lake Havasu City-Kingman area and southern parts of the state from its Tucson base of operations. “Our operating and financial results are consistent with our expectations,” said Paul Bonavia, UniSource Energy’s chairman, president and CEO in a recent press release reporting Q2 earnings. “We continue to focus our efforts on managing our costs while safely and efficiently operating our utility businesses.”
UNS YTD stock performance was less than the Dow for the first two quarters of the year, but when the Dow took a tumble, UNS held its ground and exited August’s plunge 6.44 points higher than the Dow YTD. SmarTrend recently tagged UNS as Number Two of Top Companies in the Electric Utilities Industry with Best Relative Performance.

University of Phoenix, a subsidiary of Apollo Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL)
www.apollogrp.edu

The for-profit college is headquartered in Phoenix with a worldwide enrollment of 398, 400. Last month’s announcement that Apollo entered into an agreement to acquire Carnegie Learning, Inc. for $75.0 million and related technology from Carnegie Mellon University for $21.5 million did not seem to affect stock prices, as APOL trended with the market’s peaks and valleys but stayed up almost 20 points over the Dow YTD. By mid-month, it was listed as a “Big Gainer” by Wall St. Cheat Sheet. By the fourth week of August, APOL YTD performance was at 17.17 percent. FBN

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