Although Amazon’s stock price has fallen from its peak of $1,011.34 per share on June 5, it was up 29.1% in the first half of 2017 overall, closing at $968 on June 30. The June 16 announcement that Amazon had agreed to buy Whole Foods was just one event in the first half of 2017 that has convinced many investors that Amazon is becoming one of the country’s most valuable companies.

The rise in Amazon’s stock price drove up the Publishers Weekly Stock Index by nearly 28% in the first six months of 2017. Without the giant company, the PWSI would have fallen 5.4%. Of the 10 companies listed on the PWSI, the share prices of five declined and those of the other five rose. News Corp, the parent company of HarperCollins, had a 19.9% increase in its share price, as the company posted better-than-expected first-quarter results, which were helped by a good performance by HC.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s stock price rebounded from a 6.5% decline in the first quarter of 2017 to end the first half of the year with a 13.4% gain. Continued cost cuts and an improved outlook for the school textbook market helped to lift its share price.

Educational Development Corp.’s share price also rebounded in the second quarter following a weak first period. EDC’s share price was at $6.75 on March 31, down 32% from Dec. 30, 2016, due in part to a number of analysts’ warnings about the future of the stock. But its share price jumped May 31, the day after the company posted final results for fiscal 2017, rising from $7.05 on May 30 to $9.85 on May 31; it hit $10.05 on June 1.

The worst-performing stock in the first half of 2017 was that of LSC Communications. The value of shares for the printer declined 27.9%. LSC reported a loss in the first quarter and said it expected total revenue in 2017 to be even with 2016 at best.

Barnes & Noble’s share price was also down 17% in the first half of 2017. Its stock was as low as $6.50 per share the day before it reported fourth-quarter/year-end results on June 22. A lower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss led, however, to a $1 per share rebound in between June 21 and June 23.

Stock Watch, January-June 2017

Company Dec. 30, 2016 Jun. 30, 2017 Change
Amazon 749.87 968.00 29.1%
News Corp 11.80 14.15 19.9%
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 10.85 12.30 13.4%
Educational Dev. Corp. 9.95 10.60 6.5%
CBS 63.62 63.78 0.2%
John Wiley 54.50 52.75 -3.2%
Scholastic 47.49 43.59 -8.2%
Pearson 9.99 8.97 -10.2%
Barnes & Noble 11.15 7.60 -17.0%
LSC 29.68 21.40 -27.9%
Publishers Weekly Stock Index 998.90 1,203.14 27.9%
Dow Jones Ave. 19,762.60 21,349.63 8.0%