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Argent in the News

St. Louis stocks continue to lag the broader markets

05 October 2017

(St. Louis Business Journal) 

Christopher Struttmann, a research analyst at Argent Capital Management, said managed health care provider Centene has benefited from its continued expansion of Medicaid and Medicare plans and favorable market reaction to its proposed acquisition of New York-based Fidelis Care.

October 5, 2017 (Greg Edwards)

The stocks of 40 public companies based in St. Louis or with a large presence here posted gains of 3.5 percent through Sept. 30, far lower the gains achieved by the broader markets, according to the Argent St. Louis Stock Index.

The Dow gained 13.4 percent in the first three quarters; the S&P 500 gained 12.5 percent; and the Nasdaq gained 20.7 percent.

The biggest local increases through Sept. 30 were at Centene Corp., 71.2 percent; Boeing Inc., 63.3 percent; LMI Aerospace, 62.3 percent; Panera Bread Co., 53.6 percent; and Olin Corp., 33.7 percent, according to the equally weighted Argent index. They also were the top five gainers though June 30.

Christopher Struttmann, a research analyst at Argent Capital Management, said managed health care provider Centene has benefited from its continued expansion of Medicaid and Medicare plans and favorable market reaction to its proposed acquisition of New York-based Fidelis Care.

The biggest stock decreases were at Build-A-Bear Workshop, 33.5 percent; Mallinckrodt, 25 percent; American Railcar Industries, 14.8 percent; Cass Information Systems, 13.8 percent; and Arch Coal, 8.1 percent.

“Build-A-Bear continues to be challenged by a poor environment for mall based retail, as slower foot traffic in traditional malls hurts their ability to drive sales,” Struttmann said. “Mallinckrodt has seen a challenging pricing environment in the generic drug industry this year.”

Twenty-five of the 40 companies posted gains in stock price year to date through Sept. 30; 15 declined.

Struttmann said St. Louis stocks tend to underperform compared with national indexes because the Argent index is equally weighted, with a lower weighting of technology stocks and a higher weighting of troubled retail and coal companies. The biggest trend in St. Louis, he said, is mergers and acquisitions, such as Centene and Fidelis, and the Isle of Capri Casinos ( acquired by Eldorado Resorts in May), Panera Bread Co. ( acquired by JAB Holding in July) and LMI Aerospace ( acquired by Belgium’s Sonaca Group in June).