Ribs are hot,
Fiber optics are not.
Specialty retailers are in demand,
Tech hardware makers are in the can.
But on the whole,
In the land 'o lakes,
The big companies based here
Are doing just great ...
... At least when compared
To the broader market's fate.
Welcome to the ST100 Mid-Year Update -- where, despite a molasses-slow economy, there are more gainers than losers and 69 of the 100 largest publicly held, Minnesota-based companies are beating the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
The economy is stumbling ahead on the backs of consumers, who have continued to buy -- although not as much as they were buying in 1999 and early 2000. Meanwhile, capital expenditures by companies -- and especially technology spending -- has nearly fallen off the computer screen.
But no matter how bad things get at work, at the end of the day you've still got to eat. And that helps explain why the stock of Famous Dave's barbecue chain is the biggest year-to-date gainer on our ST100 Mid-Year Update.
Famous Dave's CEO Martin O'Dowd welcomes Wall Street's recent attention, noting that it was awfully difficult to sell shares in a rib restaurant when investors were drooling over e-commerce dot-coms. That changed last year.
Had been out of favor
"It was good to see the shift," O'Dowd said, "because our segment was certainly out of favor for a couple years there."
Famous Dave's shares began to climb in April, when the company's new growth strategy began to show signs that it was working. "We have now been able to report eight quarters of positive comparable-store sales and five quarters of profitability," O'Dowd said. "It is becoming a story of consistency of growth, consistency of earnings."