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County-Based Firms Suffer Rough Week

February 02, 1986|ROBERT HANLEY | Times Staff Writer

Despite a strong stock market last week, in which the closely watched Dow Jones industrial average reached an all-time high, several of Orange County's publicly held companies took a beating on Wall Street, including Smith International Inc., Varco International Inc. and Healthcare USA, which traded at or near their lowest prices in at least a year.

Smith, of Newport Beach, and Orange-based Varco, two of the county's three big oil services companies, ranked first and seventh, respectively, on the list of percentage losers on the New York Stock Exchange, reflecting the recent plunge in crude oil prices.

Smith's stock slid $2.125 a share to close at $4.625 for the week, down 31.5%. Varco's stock fell 21.9% to close at $3.125 a share, down 77.5 cents for the week.

"If you're in an oil-related business, you sure aren't the darling of Wall Street these days," commented Jeffrey L. Kilpatrick, president of Newport Securities in Costa Mesa. That is an understatement in the case of Smith, which reached $70.25 a share in late 1980.

Also hard hit was Healthcare USA, which said Thursday that write-offs and discontinued operations will result in fourth-quarter and full-year losses. The Orange company's stock fell 26.9% on the Big Board to close at $6.125 a share, down $2.25 for the week, making it the third-biggest percentage loser.

On the American Stock Exchange, Helionetics Inc., an Irvine laser research and manufacturing company, made the list of big losers when its stock dropped 14.3%, losing 37.5 cents a share to close at $2.25.

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