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VALLEY AND VENTURA COUNTY BUSINESS

Area Stocks Outpace National Indexes in 2nd-Quarter Surge

Wrap-up: Composite of 99 firms in region shows 7.9% gain, led by 94.3% jump by a Chatsworth pharmaceutical company, Syncor International.

July 02, 1996|JILL LEOVY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

San Fernando Valley-area stocks outperformed most national stock indexes during the second quarter that ended Friday.

A composite index of 99 Valley-area companies surged 7.9% in the period between March 29 and June 28, surpassing both the Dow Jones Industrial Average--which rose 1.2%--and the S&P 500--which rose 3.9%--according to Media General Financial Services, a Richmond, Va., data service.

Only the Nasdaq index of over-the-counter stocks kept pace with the Valley's average, rising 7.6% in the second quarter.

Syncor International, a Chatsworth distributor of nuclear pharmaceuticals, topped the list of best performers for the region. Syncor's stock closed at $13 per share at the quarter's end, up 94.3% from 13 weeks earlier.

The Syncor surge is attributed to favorable publicity linked to a new business venture launched earlier this year, said Mary Meusborn, Syncor spokeswoman.

The company has spent $14 million to produce a new isotope used to diagnose cancer and heart conditions, joining forces with a Knoxville, Tenn., company to help boost the product's availability.

"Our core business has been as a distributor," Meusborn explained. "But with this, we become a manufacturer."

Shares in Right Start Inc., a Westlake Village retailer of children's products, were second on the top performers' list, edging up 60% to $6 per share from $3.75.

Although, for the most part, the regional best performers' list was dominated by low-profile companies whose stock gains were small in real terms, a few higher-value stocks also surged:

For example, shares in ACT Networks Inc., a Camarillo telecommunications company, increased 46.9% to $32.50 per share. Shares in MRV Communications, the Chatsworth company that makes pieces of fiber-optic networks, continued to make strong gains, jumping 34.9% to $42.75 per share.

Authentic Fitness, the Van Nuys swimwear maker that was buffeted by the bankruptcy of a key customer in May, was a big loser after its stock price dipped 28%.

The company has recently received a buyout proposal from Warnaco Group Inc.

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