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Stratasys, the Eden Prairie-based maker of rapid prototyping 3-D printing machines, rose from $30 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011 to more than $130 per share in the fourth quarter of 2013. The stock dropped 21 percent in the first quarter. It has rallied early in the second quarter after Stratasys announced three acquisitions in the past week. Still, the company has returned more than 65 percent annualized over the past five years, during which it also merged with an Israeli technology company.
Best Buy made a turnaround in 2013 under new CEO Hubert Jolly as the stock rose from a beaten-down $12 per share to nearly $45. The “Renew Blue” strategy has included store closings, streamlining and layoffs, but also key product partnerships and a revitalized online offering. But holiday sales disappointed, the competition with Amazon and Wal-Mart is intense and the stock price has fallen back to around $28 per share.
Target, down about 4 percent in the first quarter, has struggled in a tough retail environment and with problems brought on by the massive customer-privacy breach last holiday season, the botched Canadian-stores offensive and other problems.
Bed maker Select Comfort is down 14 percent in the first quarter. It has been a mercurial performer over the years, but is still up a stunning 90 percent annualized since 2009, largely because the stock slipped to under $1 during the recession.
Christopher & Banks, another retailer, was down 22.6 percent in the quarter, but is up 12 percent annualized since 2009.
Great Northern Iron Ore Properties, a non-operations company rooted in Minnesota’s mining and rail past, saw its price fall from $66.75 in January to under $20 recently. Short sellers, who profit when the price goes down, attacked what they said was an overvalued security.
Great Northern Iron Ore Properties is the successor to the land company established by the son of James J. Hill to profit from Iron Range ore hauled by Hill’s Great Northern Railway. The last surviving beneficiary in the trust agreement, Louis W. Hill Jr., died in 1995, triggering the 20-year remaining life of the underlying trust agreement.
That agreement calls for distribution of the remaining money from GNI trustees to shareholders in 2015. It also calls for the transfer at that time of GNI’s mineral properties and active leases to a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips Co. After shareholders get their final distribution in 2015, the shares will become worthless.
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