Economy

A sweet year for Interactive, other stocks:

January 1, 2007

Interactive Intelligence Inc. this past summer finally rebounded to $13, its initial public offering price seven years ago. Then it kept going.

By year-end, shares of the Indianapolis-based software maker were trading around $21. For the year, Interactive shares appreciated 311 percent, making it the top-performing stock in 2006-by far.

But it was an outstanding year for many Indiana companies, as their shares climbed in step with the national market indexes. In 2006, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 16 percent, and the S&P 500 14 percent.

Twenty-two of the 82 Indiana stocks tracked by IBJ advanced more than 20 percent. While 29 stocks posted declines on the year, just 12 slipped more than 10 percent.

Stocks in Indiana and nationally benefited from a relatively strong economy, moderate inflation and stable interest rates.

But there were plenty of company-specific factors. For instance, Interactive Intelligence, which makes software that manages and unifies a business' communications, finally began making inroads selling to larger companies.

The success had been a long time coming. The company went public just before the tech bubble burst in 2000, and its stock approached $50. But it then plummeted and spent years below $5.

Another star stock in 2006 was Calumet Specialty Products Partners, an Indianapolis-based refining and petroleum-products company, which is capitalizing on the rising global demand for oil.

Calumet staged its initial public offering in January 2006 at $21.50 a share. The stock climbed steadily throughout 2006, closing the year at about $40.

Stocks that lost ground in 2006 generally did so for company-specific reasons. For example, Finish Line Inc. saw shoe and apparel sales slump at its mall stores. Its shares lost 17 percent of their value.

Insurer Conseco Inc. posted disappointing profit. Its shares lost 13 percent.
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