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Stocks of Most County Firms Still Getting Hurt in Trading

October 29, 1987|JOHN O'DELL | Times Staff Writer

The battered Dow Jones Industrial average escaped further damage in Wednesday's heavy trading, ending the day up 0.33 points, but the stocks of most publicly traded companies in Orange County continued to get badly bruised.

The price of a composite share of common stock of the county's 100 largest public companies fell to $6.77, down 4.1% from $7.06 Tuesday and off 40.1% from the Oct. 2 average of $11.30 per share.

Of the 100 local stocks, 62 lost value in Wednesday's trading, while 21 posted gains and 17 finished the day unchanged.

Additionally, 43 of the 100 stocks closed at their lowest prices of the past 52 weeks.

Jeffrey Kilpatrick, president of Newport Securities, said that the share prices of an "unprecedented" 40 of 132 county-based companies tracked by his brokerage ended the day at less than book value.

The day's biggest percentage loser was Ultrasystems, which plunged 32%, or $2 a share, to close at a 52-week low of $4.25. The Irvine-based defense engineering and power plant development company said Wednesday that it was entering a joint venture with a unit of Baltimore Gas & Electric to operate and maintain small power plants. It was not clear, however, whether that announcement had any impact on the stock performance.

The two biggest gainers, Wespercorp and Petrominerals, both have been trading lately at well below $2 a share. Thus, the 43% gain that Wespercorp shares achieved Wednesday translates to 18 3/4 cents per share, with the Tustin computer equipment maker closing at 62 1/2 cents a share. Petrominerals, a Stanton-based oil and gas exploration firm, posted a 25% gain, closing at $1.25 per share, up 25 cents for the day.

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