Inland Northwest Index shows regional growth lagging

The Hart Capital Inland Northwest Index’s third-quarter performance showed lackluster growth of 3.7 percent, a figure that could have been worse if not for the strong performance by regional banks.

In that same period the Nasdaq Composite index rose 10.7 percent and the S&P 500 index rose 5.1 percent.

So far in 2013, the Hart Index gained 3.8 percent while the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 increased by 26.4 percent and 17.9 percent, respectively.

The Hart Index is prepared by Spokane investment firm Hart Capital Management Inc. and includes 14 companies.

While banks prospered in the quarter that includes July, August and September – led by Sterling Financial’s 20.5 percent increase in stock price – Wall Street was tough on several other local companies. Sandpoint clothing retailer Coldwater Creek’s shares sank 31 percent and hotelier Red Lion shares dropped 13.7 percent. Avista Corp. fell 2.3 percent.

Other banks that performed well include Intermountain Community Bancorp and Idaho Independent Bank, which rose by 16 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. Northwest Bancorporation gained 5.3 percent.

This is the first quarter with fewer than 15 companies on the Hart index. It dropped Coeur d’Alene Mining after the firm moved its headquarters earlier this year to Chicago.

The index will shrink again next year with the purchase of Sterling Financial Corp. by Oregon-based Umpqua Bank.

Hart Capital does not offer an Inland Northwest index fund for investors. Its purpose is to focus on the performance of the largest and best-known regional public companies.

The S&P 500 and the Hart indexes are calculated based on a starting value of 100 on Dec. 31, 2002.

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