Chicago stocks post big gains in 2019—but still trail Dow, S&P 500

The 137-company Bloomberg Illinois Index is light on tech and financial issues, both strong recent performers, and it suffers from plenty of companies affected by tariffs and tariff talk.

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79彩票注册网址Chicago stocks rebounded last year from a disappointing 2018, but one trend didn’t change: They still lagged broader markets.

If index investing is in vogue, the Bloomberg Illinois Index of 137 publicly traded companies was not the place to turn to in 2019. While it rose 16.9 percent, it trailed the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 22.3 percent increase and a 24.8 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.  

The Bloomberg Illinois Index is light on tech and financial issues, both strong recent performers, and it suffers from plenty of companies affected by tariffs and tariff talk. (See charts at bottom.)

The S&P 500 tech index soared 50 percent, and the Nasdaq, weighted with tech companies (just three stocks—Microsoft, Apple and Amazon—account for 25 percent of performance), climbed 36 percent.

“We’ve got a lot going on in Chicago, but we’re not San Francisco or New York,” says Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “We’ve taken the brunt of the trade war.”

79彩票注册网址Chicago’s wealth of small-cap and transportation stocks in lagging sectors also dragged down the local index. Meanwhile, “we are very good in pharmaceuticals, and we are very good in consumer, and both of those have done very well,” says Loyola University Chicago economics professor Tassos Malliaris.

In 2018, when the Dow was off 5.6 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 6.2 percent, the Bloomberg Illinois index sagged even more—12.5 percent.

79彩票注册网址Some local firms have managed to capitalize on technology shifts.

For 2019, big movers included Paylocity, Motorola Solutions and Zebra Technologies, which outperformed most local stocks over the decade as well.

Paylocity is growing at double-digit rates79彩票注册网址 because it added inside salespeople, resellers and new features to its core payroll software product.

Moto kept riding the wave of local and state spending on public safety technology, and its acquisitions in services, software and video are paying off.

Zebra's $3.5 billion acquisition of Motorola's bar-code scanner business and its bet on Android have been winners.

Among Chicago-area laggards in 2019 was CME Group, whose trading volumes were blunted by low-interest, low-volatility conditions. It also invested in European and Asian expansion with a $5.5 billion acquisition of London exchange NEX.

Swonk points out that overall stock performance has been inflated by low interest rates. “We’re lagging the gains nationwide, but both gains are artificially high because of low rates," she says. U.S. corporate profits peaked in 2014, she said.

Over the past two decades, the S&P 500 rose more last year than any year except 2014. The Nasdaq, which hit 5,000 before the dot.com crash in 2000 and then spent 15 years climbing back to that threshold, cracked 9,000.

79彩票注册网址During the 2010s, the Bloomberg Illinois index rose 69 percent, far behind the Dow’s 174 percent jump and the S&P’s 167. Decadelong winners included Ulta, CDW, United Airlines and—despite its annus horribilis in 2019—Boeing.

Envestnet, whose CEO Judson Bergman was killed in October in a car accident, prospered by providing tech and back-office support to a growing cadre of independent investment advisers who have migrated away from big banks and their technology platforms.

79彩票注册网址Many of the decade’s losers locally were hardly a surprise: Sears, Tribune and fallen daily-deal darling Groupon. Venerable Chicago names like R.R. Donnelley and Kraft Heinz in challenged industries also trailed.

John Pletz and Lynne Marek contributed.

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