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Sunday, June 23, 2024

A report card on North Carolina’s Top 75 public companies

Most big N.C.-based stocks soared over the past year. But 33 of the 75 showed declines.

Stocks of North Carolina’s 75 largest public companies took widely divergent paths in the past year: 17 recorded gains of more than 40%, while nine declined by at least 40%.

That was a major change from a year earlier, when only 12 of the 75 companies showed any increases, reflecting a particularly bloody period for investors.

Of the 20 largest North Carolina companies in terms of market capitalization, 15 recorded gains from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Ten posted bigger increases than the 17.3% increase in the S&P 500 Index during that period. Most of the gains occurred in the first half this year, with the index increasing 16%.

Star performers among N.C. stocks included three Wake County-based companies. Telecommunications-equipment maker Extreme Networks soared 192% as analysts said it took some business away from giant Cisco Systems. Raleigh-based First Citizens Bancshares gained 96%, much of the increase coming after it bought the assets of failed Silicon Valley Bank in a government-assisted deal. Liquida Technologies’ promising treatment for hypertension helped its shares gain 80%. 

Overall, 27 of the top 75 companies performed better than the overall market.

Unfortunately, 33 companies declined during the 12 months. Advance Auto Parts and medical device maker Bioventus each declined 58%. The Raleigh-based retailer reported sharply lower profit and cut its annual dividend from $1.50 to 25 cents. Durham-based Bioventus sank as CEO Ken Reali departed in April after backing out of a deal to buy a California-based surgical implant business. The company reported a loss of $213 million last year, following a $10 million profit in 2021.

Eight companies joined the list this year, led by No. 33 RXO, based in Charlotte and a spinoff from Greenwich, Conn.-based XPO; and No. 34 ProKidney, based in Winston-Salem, which went public as part of a special purpose acquisition company conversion.

The biggest departure was Cary-based Cornerstone Building Brands, which was No. 31 a year ago. It was acquired last July by the Clayton, Dubiller & Rice private-equity group.

No. 23 Syneos Health is not likely to be on the 2024 list because it has agreed to a $7.1 billion pending sale to a group of private equity firms.

Data for the Top 75 Public Companies was provided by Matt West, Capital Investment Cos. and Nottingham.
Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at croush@businessnc.com.

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