After tumbling 46.6% in 2008, the Publishers Weekly Stock Index jumped 67.5% in 2009, with the stock prices of all but one company increasing in the year. The lone company to post a decline in 2009 was Courier Corp., whose stock price fell 20.4% in 2009 and was down 56.8% since the end of 2007. Courier has suffered from softness in both its printing and publishing operations, although it is hoping for improvement in 2010.
Despite the gains posted last year, most companies’ stock prices still finished 2009 below the price on December 31, 2007. The most notable exception is Amazon, whose stock price jumped 162.3% (up $83.24) in the year, to $134.52, putting it well ahead of the $92.64 the stock closed at on the last day of 2007. Educational Development Corp. was another company whose 2009 share price finished up over 2007 (EDC’s price increase in 2009 includes a one-time dividend). The only two other companies with prices above that of 2007 were Franklin Electronic Publishers and Marvel Entertainment, and both of those prices were affected by acquisitions. Disney Corp.’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Marvel closed on the last day of 2009 (see story, p. 8). The management-led purchase of Franklin was still working its way toward completion at the end of last year.
Among the biggest gainers in 2009 was Borders Group, whose stock price, after trading below $1 for parts of 2009, finished the year at $1.18; two years ago its stock price was $10.65. Books-A-Million also had a healthy bounce in its stock price in 2009, but at $6.72 per share its stock price was still 43.6% below the 2007 level.
Overall, the gain in the PWSI easily beat the 18.8% increase posted by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and while investors certainly are glad 2009 was a marked improvement over 2008, stock prices for many companies still have a way to go before returning to their former highs.
Stock Watch, 2009
|Company||Dec. 31, 2008||Dec. 31, 2009||% chge|
|Source: Reed Business information|
|Franklin Elec. Pub.||.83||2.47||197.6%|
|Educational Dev. Corp.||3.70||6.00||63.6|
|Barnes & Noble||15.00||19.07||27.1|
|Dow Jones Aver.||8,776.39||10,428.05||18.8|