AKRON (Jan. 14, 2005) — With the final stock market days of 2004 in the books, a couple stocks monitored by Tire Business showed healthy increases from 2003's year-end marks while others showed more modest growth over the past year's final tally.
The results only compare the final trading days for 2003 and 2004 and do not necessarily take into account swings during the year.
The largest gainer by far was tire and wheel manufacturer Titan International Inc.'s common stock, which appreciated nearly five-fold in 2004—the second biggest showing among companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The Quincy, Ill.-based firm was bested only by specialty chemicals manufacturer W.R. Grace & Co. in the listing. Titan's stock price soared 393.5 percent to $15.10. That hike is on top of the 128.4-percent jump during 2003.
The stock has rebounded significantly from its lowly $1.34 at year-end 2002 and after the NYSE threatened in March 2003 to delist the stock for wandering below $1 for too long. By September 2003 Titan had avoided delisting.
In congratulating W.R. Grace on its “outstanding stock performance,” Titan President and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. said “seeing Titan's market value reach the levels where we knew it should be is rewarding. An investment of $3,000 in (Titan) stock on the first trading day of 2004 would have been worth approximately $15,000 on the last day of 2004.
“The effort and commitment of our employees and stockholders have made it possible to return to profitability and to achieve this remarkable progress and recognition within the investment community.”
Goodyear also achieved some significant gains. Its stock price grew 86.5 percent for the year to $14.66, following a more modest gain of 15.4 percent during 2003. Goodyear closed 2002 at $6.81.
But 2004 still had its ups and downs for the Akron-based tire maker. After starting 2004 at $7.86, the stock had risen past $10 in the spring amid speculation about the forthcoming Assurance tires, but it then fell again below $8 about the time the company said it would delay filing its 2003 annual report. The stock price grew fairly steadily the rest of the year.
Other significant growth stocks were Nokian Tyres P.L.C. at 86.6 percent, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. at 64.5 percent, Continental A.G. at 55.4 percent, Bridgestone Corp. at 41.6 percent and Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. at 44.7 percent. More modest gains were held by Carlisle Companies Inc. at 6.7 percent, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. at 0.8 percent and Myers Industries Inc. at 5.6 percent.
TBC Corp., whose stock price grew 114.9 percent by year-end 2003, grew only 7.7 percent during 2004 to $27.80. TBC in 2003 acquired Merchant's Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s National Tire & Battery unit, and in 2004 has been working to fill in markets plus integrate those acquisitions. During 2004, the stock's price slipped in the summer to the $20-$25 range, but gained back above the $25 mark by the fall. Its high for the year was $30.90.
The only stock monitored by Tire Business to end the year down was China Enterprises, which fell 45 percent to $1.65. China Enterprises had ended 2003 ahead 566.7 percent to $3 from 45 cents.