While $100/barrel oil, unrest in Libya, Egypt and the Middle East, and the aftermath of Japan's epic tsunami have knocked down prices in a jittery stock market over the past few weeks, since last summer many publicly held electrical companies are still outperforming the Dow Jones Average, NASDAQ and S&P 500 by wide margins.
In fact, since the stock market began its most recent surge in late July 2010, pushing the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 to 20-percent increases, at press-time nine electrical companies enjoyed increases in their stock prices of at least 50 percent (adjusted for splits and dividends) — Coleman Cable (+82%); Rockwell Automation (+77%); Littelfuse (+66%); WESCO (+65%); Hubbell (+64%); General Cable (+62%); Thomas & Betts (+59%); Anixter (+53%); and Belden (+51.3%) — and another 12 companies topped all three market indices. Lagging the indices during the recent market surge were Trina Solar (+14.2%); First Solar (+10.3%); Quanta Services (+2.8%) and Cree (-26.9%).
Stock prices for 25 publicly held electrical companies also saw some spectacular increases from the depths of the recession in early 2009, with 20 of the companies seeing gains in their stock prices of at least 100 percent, and 10 of these companies enjoying increases of better than 200 percent since March 9, 2009. Leading the pack were Trina Solar (+684%); Littelfuse (+507%); Rockwell Automation (+413.9%): WESCO (+350%); and Belden (+324.9%).
While these price increases are indeed impressive, don't run to your broker just yet. It's important to factor in how these stocks have performed since the pre-recession market high on October, 9, 2007, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record 14164.53. Since then, the Dow is down 15 percent, and only 11 electrical companies are enjoying double-digit increases in their stock prices: Cree (+66.3%); W.W. Grainger (+53%); Littelfuse (+47.5%); Hubbell (+38.9%); Rockwell Automation (+35.7%); Acuity Brands (+35.3%); Fastenal (+33.9%); WESCO Distribution (+29%); Cooper Industries (+21.7%); Eaton (+16.3%); and Emerson Electric (+16.2%). Interestingly, all of the wire and cable manufacturers and wire and cable distributors on this list are down at least 10 percent since the Oct. 2007 market high.