In The Lead: Top 50 / Pittsburgh region's top public companies based on stock price

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2013 was a very good year for Pittsburgh region stocks, especially for newcomer The ExOne Co., which finished first in the rankings based on change in stock price.

Shares of the North Huntingdon 3-D printing company jumped 235.9 percent after they debuted in February. ExOne easily outpaced No. 2 Supervalu, which supplies Foodland and Shop 'n Save stores in the region and operates a distribution center in New Stanton. The Eden Prairie, Minn., company's stock jumped 195.1 percent, benefiting from a restructuring that saw the company sell five of its biggest grocery store chains.

After tumbling out of the Top 50 best-performing stocks for 2012, Pittsburgh nonprofit educator Education Management Corp. roared back to finish third on this year's list, thanks to a 130.4 percent jump in its stock price.

Thirty-three of the companies on the list outperformed the S&P 500, which rose 29.6 percent in 2013. None of them turned in a losing performance. Even No. 50 Bombardier, a Montreal aerospace and transportation equipment provider, saw its shares rise 14.2 percent last year.

ExOne and Education Management were joined by three other firms cracking the Top 10: No. 6 GNC Holdings, up from 26th last year; No. 8 Wabtec, up from 21st last year; and No. 10 Horsehead Holdings, up from 30th last year.

They should enjoy it while they can.

Five of the companies in the Top 10 based on 2012 stock performance failed to crack the Top 50 this year, including last year's No. 1, Royal Bank of Scotland. Its shares slid 1.2 percent in 2013.

In addition to the operator of Citizens Bank, the region's second-largest bank, these companies also slid out of the Top 50: German chemicals producer Lanxess, down 20.1 percent; Johnstown banker AmeriServ Financial, up 0.7 percent; Green Tree rail, construction and energy industry supplier L.B. Foster, up 8.9 percent; and South Side teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters, down 29.8 percent.

Meanwhile, two steelmakers clawed their way back into the Top 50 thanks to strong performances in the last half of 2013.

West Chester, Ohio, steel producer AK Steel turned in the fifth-best stock performance, with its shares rising 78.3 percent. A 23.7 percent advance in its shares put U.S. Steel in 38th place. The advance was fueled by optimism that Mario Longhi, its new president and CEO, will reinvigorate the Pittsburgh steel producer after five losing years.

Wesco International, the region's top performing stock over the past five years, finished 24th, down from 17th the previous year. Shares of the Station Square-based industrial parts distributor advanced 35.1 percent in 2013.

Four companies are missing from the rankings because acquisitions last year took them private: Downtown food company H.J. Heinz, Moon engineering concern Michael Baker, Cranberry teen clothier rue 21, and Glassport steel industry supplier TMS International.

The other newcomer to the list of companies eligible for ranking, TriState Capital Holdings, failed to crack the Top 50. Shares of the parent of TriState Capital Bank rose 3.1 percent after their debut in May.

— Len Boselovic: or 412-263-1941.


First Published May 13, 2014 11:10 AM

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