As broader stock market indicators surged to all-time highs last week, The Washington Post-Bloomberg regional stock index slowly floated back toward its highest level ever and like a rising tide raised even the most unlikely of boats.
The regional index, which represents more than 200 stocks of companies based in the District, Maryland and Virginia, rose a little less than 1 percent to 178.82. That is its highest level this year, but it's still a little shy of the all-time high of 181, reached on July 17, 1998.
The increase in the index stemmed from the overall up-trend of the stock market rather than the stellar performance of any particular local stocks -- because there were no significant winners on the regional list.
The five biggest winners for the week -- AceComm Corp. of Gaithersburg, Fuisz Technologies Ltd. of Chantilly, Intelidata Technologies Corp. of Herndon, LCC International Inc. of McLean and Criimi Mae Inc. of Rockville -- all were perennial losers, or stocks that have gone down in the last year despite the strongest stock market in history. And none of them made any significant news last week. In fact, according to the Bloomberg News database, none of the five winners made any news last week.
But there were real losses to blame for the declines in several of the week's worst performing stocks.
Shares of LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. of Richmond, the nation's third-largest title insurance company, fell more than $5 after the company warned that its second-quarter earnings would fall short of analysts' estimates. Blaming rising personnel expenses and costly fees to agents, the company said it will earn from 78 cents to 88 cents a share, rather than the $1.27 analysts had predicted.
CyberCash Inc. of Reston, which produces systems for conducting business over the Internet, said its quarterly loss will be 53 cents to 56 cents, compared with the 36 cents to 42 cents that had been projected. The estimate of lower earnings knocked $2.50 off CyberCash's stock.