It was quite a ride for direct marketing stocks in 1997, as was the case all year. The average of the group masks the big changes — both up and down — in stock prices.
Of the 100 stocks in the DM News tracking program, 54 stocks rose for the year and 46 stocks fell. In percentage terms, stocks with the largest increases in price were: DM Management, up 346 percent; Hanover Direct, up 300 percent; On Sale, up 278.9 percent; Dell Computer, up 200.3 percent and America Online, up 155.3 percent.
Stocks with the largest losses were: Connect Inc., down 86.2 percent; Telespectrum, down 77.2 percent; Precision Response, down 71 percent; Right Start, down 69.6 percent and Vermont Teddy Bear, down 65 percent.
Profits were widely spread between significant profits and losses. The companies that produced the largest profit (as a percent of sales) were: Abacus Direct, up 25.2 percent; Sigma Aldrich, up 14.6 percent; Cendent, formerly CU International, up 12.9 percent; May & Speh, up 12.6 percent; and DM Management, up 12.2 percent.
Stocks with the largest losses were: Connect Inc., down 147 percent; Open Market, down 121.8 percent; Checkfree, down 73.6 percent; Think New Ideas, down 36.5 percent and American Business Information, down 33 percent.
Sales for the group totaled $79 billion.
PORTFOLIO VALUE: If $1,000 had been invested in each of the 100 stocks at the beginning of 1997, the value at the end of the year would be $115,400, an increase of 15.4 percent.
Portfolio is compiled by James Posner, a New York direct marketing consultant who is an avid stock market watcher, especially of direct marketing.