Regional stocks index gains value

An index of Inland Northwest stocks turned sharply upward during the second quarter, helped by triple-digit gains for Clearwater Paper Co. and Coldwater Creek Inc.

The 15-stock index compiled by Hart Capital Management jumped almost 34 percent, compared with a 20 percent gain by the Russell 2000 and 15 percent by the Standard and Poor’s 500 indexes.

The gain broke a streak of dismal quarters dating back to mid-2007, when the index stood at 301.4, not much below the record 305.3 at the end of 2006. As of June 30, the index stood at 141.4, up from the low point of 105.7 at the end of March.

Only two of the 15 stocks, Northwest Bancorporation Inc. and Intermountain Community Bancorp, lost value during the quarter, by 21 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Idaho Independent Bank climbed 8 percent to $7.30. Sterling Financial Corp. climbed 41 percent to $2.91.

Smaller banks, said Hart Capital President Craig Hart, are still having problems finding the capital.

He said Clearwater, which replaced AmericanWest Bancorporation in the index at the beginning of the year, began the quarter at a very depressed price because institutions were selling the shares they received after the company was spun off by Potlatch in December. Analyst upgrades of paper stocks helped triple Clearwater shares to $25.29 as of June 30, he said.

Coldwater climbed 143 percent, to $6.10, on positive reports from analysts.

Although some indicators point to an economic rebound by the end of the year, Hart said massive government debt sales through the rest of 2009 are worrisome.

The other companies in the index are:

•Key Tronic Corp., up 70 percent to $1.60.

•Ambassadors Group Inc., up 70 percent to $13.77.

•Red Lion Hotels Corp., up 64 percent to $4.80.

•Nighthawk Radiology Holdings Inc., up 37 percent to $3.70.

•Hecla Mining Co., up 34 percent to $2.68.

•Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp., up 31 percent to $12.30.

•Avista Corp., up 29 percent to $17.81.

•Itron Inc., up 16 percent to $55.07.

•Potlatch Corp., up 5 percent to $24.29.

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