With all the talk by Wall Street commentators and bloggers about the possibility that the Dow Jones Industrial Average might start living over the vaunted 14,000-level and recent reports of several electrical stocks hitting 52-week highs, Electrical Marketing’s editors thought it would be a good time to see how electrical stocks stack up with the overall market. We compared the stock prices since Jan. 1 and over the past 12 months of 29 publicly held manufacturers, nine distributors of electrical supplies, and two contractors involved in electrical work with the Dow Jones Index, S&P Index and NASDAQ Composite.
These electrical companies more than held their own over the past 12 months. From Feb. 6, 2012, to Feb. 6 2013, as a group these 40 stocks beat all three of the major stock market averages by increasing an average of 12.9%, compared to 12.2% for the S&P 500; 9% for the NASDAQ Composite; and 8.7% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The two contractor stocks, Emcor Group Inc. (EME) and Quanta Services Inc. (PWR) did the best against these industry benchmarks YTY and were up a whopping 24.3%, electrical manufacturers were up 13.9%, and distributor stocks lagged these indices a bit at 6.9%.
So far this year, the stock prices of the publicly held electrical companies and other distributors in the chart on page 2 are tracking the indices pretty closely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 4.1% year-to-date, followed by the S&P 500 Index at 3.2% and the Nasdaq Composite at 1.6%. As a group, the 40 stocks analyzed here are up 3.6% through Feb. 6, with manufacturers (+3.7%), distributors (+3.5%) and contractors (+3.1%) all within a percentage point.
There were some clear standouts amongst the publicly held electrical stocks over the past year, with 16 stocks enjoying a stock price increase of more than 20% and seven stocks enjoying increases of or near 30% YTY: Generac Holdings Inc. (GNRC) (+79.5%); Federal Signal (FSS) (+70.3%); Cree Inc. (CREE) (+57.3%); Philips Electronics (PHG) (+55.6%); Pentair (+36.5%); Wolesley plc (WOS.L) (33.8%); and Hubbell Inc. (HUB-B) (+29.8%).
Several of these stocks are way ahead of the pack since the beginning of the year, too: Cree (+27.6%); Philips Electronics (+13.24%); and Generac Holdings (+10.61%). Two other stocks are already up more than 10% for the year: Magnetek Inc. (MAG) (+21.83%) and Avnet Inc. (AVT) (+13.7%).
It’s interesting to note that one of the newer additions to this group of fast-growing electrical stocks is a fairly recent addition. Those investors who got in early with Generac, a manufacturer of backup generators, were richly rewarded. The company went public in Feb. 2010 at $13 per share, and with shares now selling for around $38.9 per share, it has rewarded early-bird investors with a 199% cumulative return to date.
Two familiar ticker symbols are no longer on our electrical stock watch lists — TNB and CBE. Thomas and Betts (TNB) was acquired by ABB Inc., and Eaton Corp. bought Cooper Industries (CBE) last year.