Stocks have turned up in the past few weeks — but stocks representing the rural economy have fared better than the other major stock indexes. Last week, the Daily Yonder 40 — 40 stocks chosen to represent the rural economy — rose 4.6%. The Dow Industrials rose just over 3% and the S&P 500 was up 3.3%. The NASDAQ stock exchange rose nearly 5%. Over the last 20 months, the Yonder 40 index has fared much better than any of these indices. The S&P 500, for example, is down 44% since July 2007. The Yonder 40 is down by 34%.
Energy stocks rebounded last week. The coal stocks rose, with Cimarex up 7% and Peabody up over 10%. But then most stocks were up over the week. Of the 40 stocks from companies that do much of their business in rural America, all but five rose last week. Bassett Furniture (above) continued to be battered along with the rest of the housing industry. The furniture maker was down by nearly 16%.
The regional banks rebounded. Regions Financial rose 6% and Southwest Bancorp over 9%. Monsanto reported record net sales in its fiscal second quarter, but the company earned a lower net profit. Sales of the herbicide Roundup will peak this fiscal year, Monsanto warned. (Roundup sales in the second quarer fell by 21%.) And news that the company’s premier product was in decline led to 5% decline in Monsanto’s stock price last week.