Four of 11 Arkansas-based publicly-held companies post share gains through June

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 31 views 

Among the 11 largest Arkansas-based publicly traded companies, only four reported gains in their stock prices over the first two quarters ending June 28. Most of the decliners were among banks and shipping companies based in the state.

The largest Arkansas stock by market cap is Bentonville-based Walmart which closed out the first half of 2024 with stock gains of 28.92%, the highest growth among its Arkansas cohorts. Walmart shares (NYSE: WMT) closed on June 28 at $67.71 compared to $52.52 where the stock opened trading on Jan. 2. Walmart also grew its market capitalization by $122.7 billion since Jan. 2, the first trading day of the year. The market capitalization of Walmart shares closed out the first half of 2024 at $544.63 billion.

Close behind Walmart is El Dorado-based Murphy USA. The gasoline and convenience retailer operates more than 1,700 U.S. stores. Shares of Murphy USA (NYSE: MUSA) increased in value by 28.48% in the first six months of 2024. The stock opened the year at $365.39 and closed at $469.46 on June 28. The share price has retreated from weaker-than-expected earnings reported in May. However, the company has grown its market capitalization to $9.6 billion, up from $7.58 billion at the start of 2024.

Little Rock-based Dillard’s is also among the small group of winners through the first half of the year. Shares of Dillard’s (NYSE: DDS) opened the year at $401.02 and closed June 28 at $440.39, up 9.71% for the period. The market capitalization of Dillard’s stock totals $6.94 billion, up from $6.54 billion at the start of the year.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods is the other gainer in terms of stock price. Shares of Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) opened the year at $52.61 and closed June 28 at $57.14, up 8.61% for the period. The company’s market capitalization totals about $20.42 billion, up 6.5% during the period.

BANK LOSSES 
The seven remaining companies have seen their stock prices stall or decline this year amid ongoing pressures in their sectors. The banking sector continues to see caution among investors primarily because of exposure to commercial real estate.

Home BancShares (NYSE: HOMB) opened the year at $25.07 per share and closed at $23.86 on June 28, down 5%. Market capitalization totals $4.75 billion, down from $5.11 billion at the start of the year.

Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Bank stock (NASDAQ: SNFC) closed at $17.58 on June 28, down 10.8% from the $19.71 opening price to start the year. Most of the loss came after the bank missed earnings expectations for its first quarter. Revenue dropped 7.3% and net income fell 15% from the year-ago period. The market capitalization for the bank totals $2.92 billion, down 15.% from $2.48 billion to start the year.

Little Rock-based Bank OZK has seen its share price drop 16.88% in the past six months. Bank OZK shares (NASDAQ: OZK) opened the year at $48.33 and closed June 28 at $41. Most of that loss came in late May when Citigroup downgraded the stock from a buy to a sell because of the bank’s exposure to commercial real estate and fewer rate cuts expected this year. The bank’s market capitalization is $4.62 billion, down from $5.63 billion for a loss of 17.9% over the six months.

Bentonville-based America’s Car-Mart operates like a bank since it finances the vehicles it sells. The buy-here pay-here dealer generates the bulk of its revenue from the loans it carries on its books. Car-Mart shares (NASDAQ: CRMT) opened the year at $70.90 and closed on June 28 at $60.21, down 14.07% over the six months. The company’s market capitalization totals $380.29 billion, down 20% from $480 billion where it started the year.

TRUCKING RECESSION
Fort Smith-based ArcBest and most of its freight competitors remain in a recession with excess capacity keeping shipping rates low. Shares of ArcBest (NASDAQ: ARCB) closed out the second quarter at $107.08, falling 10.73% from the start of the year. About half of the loss came after the company missed its first-quarter earnings expectations reporting revenue down 6.3% and a $2.92 million net loss.

Tontitown-based P.A.M. Transportation Services is a thinly traded, small-cap freight company. Shares of P.A.M. Transport (NASDAQ: PTSI) opened the year at $20.47, but ended the mid-year mark at $17.37, down 15.14%. The company missed its first quarter earnings with an operating loss of $677,000 on the heels of a $811,000 loss in the prior quarter because of low shipping rates from excess capacity relative to demand.

Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services is also struggling this year amid the ongoing freight recession. Company shares (NASDAQ: JBHT) opened the year at $199.82 and closed at $160 on June 28, down 19.9%.

SHARE PERFORMANCE – January-June 2024
Walmart (NYSE: WMT)
Jan. 2:  $52.52
June 28: $67.71
up 28.92%

Murphy USA  (NYSE: MUSA)
Jan. 2:  $365.39
June 28: $469.46
up 28.48%

Dillard’s  (NYSE: DDS)
Jan. 2: $401.02
June 28: $440.39
up 9.71%

Tyson Food  (NYSE: TSN)
Jan. 2: $52.61
June 28: $57.14
up 8.61%

Home Bank (NYSE: HOMB)
Jan. 2 $25.07
June 28:  $23.86
down 4.94%

ArcBest  (NASDAQ: ARCB)
Jan. 2: $119.62
June 28: $107.08
down 10.73%

Simmons Bank (NASDAQ: SFNC)
Jan. 2: $19.71
June 28: $17.58
down 10.8%

America’s Car-Mart (NASDAQ: CRMT)
Jan. 2: $70.90
June 28: $60.21
down 14.07%

P.A.M. Transportation Services (NASDAQ: PTSI)
Jan. 2: $20.47
June 28: $17.37
down 15.14%

Bank of OZK (NASDAQ: OZK)
Jan. 2: $49.33
June 28: $41
down 16.88%

J.B. Hunt Transport  (NASDAQ: JBHT)
Jan. 2: $199.82
June 28: $160
down 19.92%