AP NEWS

Hart index sees slight increase in overall stock value of regional companies

May 7, 2019

The Hart Capital Inland Northwest Index increased by 1.8% during the first quarter of 2019, fueled by gains from PotlatchDeltic Corp. and the banking sector.

For comparison, the S&P’s 500 Index reported a 13.1% increase during the quarter.

The Hart index, compiled by Spokane-based Hart Capital Management, tracks performance of the eight largest publicly traded companies in the region.

PotlatchDeltic reported a 19.4% gain in the first quarter of 2019, which is attributed to a 30% rise in lumber prices in January.

W.T.B. Financial Corp., the holding company for Washington Trust Bank, and Idaho Independent Bank gained 12.2% and 10.9%, respectively, while Key Tronic Corp.’s stock price increased by 9.2% in the first quarter.

The total market capitalization of the regional companies increased by $499.4 million during the quarter, but four companies experienced declines in stock prices.

Clearwater Paper reported a loss of 20.1% because of declining profits. Avista Corp. experienced a 4.4% decrease in stock prices, Hecla Mining Co. a 2.5% loss and Itron Inc. a 1.4% decrease during the quarter.

The Hart Capital Inland Northwest Composite fell $2.8 billion, or 23.2%, over the past twelve months, with $95.9 million of the loss attributed to the acquisition of Inland Northwest Bank parent Northwest Bancorp. by Montana-based First Interstate BancSystem in August.

Although stock performance of regional companies is off to a good start this year, numbers have lagged the past six quarters, said Craig Hart, president and chief investment officer of Hart Capital Management.

“Part of that is some of these companies are more economically sensitive than others. We don’t have companies that are driving the next generation of technology,” he said. “We need to see improvement from an economic standpoint to drive these stocks higher.”