Rural Stocks Join the Slide



We’re good here at The Daily Yonder, but not good enough to make sense of the stock market.

Over the past four years, however, we have tracked 40 publicly traded stocks that represent the rural economy — rural banking, retail, energy and agriculture companies. We call it the Yonder 40 stock index.

The chart above shows what the Yonder 40 has done this year. For a bit there in April, the DY 40 had risen 16%, then down, then up again to a 12.2% gain as of the middle of July.

Then the collapse. The 40 ended the week down 4.4% for the year. The Dow was down 2.7% and the S&P 500 was down 6.3%.

Since we began the Yonder 40 in July 2007, it is up 9%. The Dow is down 16% and the S&P is off 21.6%. Over time, these 40 rural companies have done much better than their larger, urban cousins.

On the next page, you can see the 40 DY stocks and how they’ve fared since the beginning of 2011. Not pretty. There are only 12 rural stocks above where they were the first of the year, led by Bassett Furniture and gunmaker Sturm Ruger. Both are up over 85%. The leading rural retailer is Tractor Supply, up 21.6%.

The biggest loser has been Southwest Bancorp, down 61.4%. Another regional bank, Regions Financial, has been hit heavily in the last year, down 38.6%

Coal producer Walter Energy has been a big gainer for the DY 40, but not this year. Walter is down 36.3% for the year.

Here is how all the DY 40 stocks have done since January 1.