Week Ending Dec. 19: Will Terror Threat Distract the Channel?

By Joseph C. Panettieri  |  Posted 2003-12-22 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Investors strive to overcome fear, uncertainty and doubt at year's end.

Will the stock rally fizzle during the last two weeks of 2003?

That's a pretty shallow question, considering our nation went on a heightened terror alert on Dec. 21. But there's no denying terrorism's influence on world markets and even channel stocks. Many pending IT contracts were placed on indefinite hold after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

It has taken more than two years for channel stocks and the broader U.S. markets to recover from the attacks, but they've certainly come back strong of late. Our Ziff Davis Channel Zone Stock Index is up nearly 45 percent this year, though the rally has leveled off in recent days. Our index, designed to track 30 solutions providers and IT consulting firms, slipped 0.46 percent for the week ended Dec. 12. Decliners beat advancers, 17-13, though only one index member slid more than 5 percent and two stocks gained more than five percent.

Last week's major winners were Tech Data Corp. (TECD, +9.53 percent) and Convergys Corp. (CVG, +6.58). Strangely, one of the index's strongest companies had the week's poorest showing: Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (CTSH, -7.28 percent).

First Albany gave Tech Data shares a neutral (i.e., "hold") rating on Dec. 12, but fellow investment firm Robert W. Baird upgraded Tech Data shares from neutral to outperform on Dec. 17. Investors applauded the news and Tech Data's price per share immediately raced toward a 52-week high.

Unlike many distributors, Tech Data weathered the economic slowdown reasonably well and continues to gain strength this year. Year-over-year sales for Tech Data's first nine months of 2003 rose a respectable 6 percent to $12.49 billion.

Convergys also delivered a strong showing last week, winning a seven-year contract to manage customer billing operations for Sprint PCS Group. The news torpedoed shares in Amdocs Ltd., which fell 14 percent because it lost the Sprint PCS deal. (Amdocs, primarily a software vendor, is not a member of our index.)

The index's only major decliner, Cognizant, suffered from silence last week. The company didn't announce any major news, and investors—apparently satisfied with Cognizant's 89 percent rally since Jan. 1—locked in profits and sold last week.

Meanwhile, shares in Acxiom Corp. were mostly unchanged for the week, but the Little Rock, Ark.-based firm made headlines when a hacker pleaded guilty to stealing data from Acxiom for nearly two years. The security breaches cost Acxiom $5.8 million, though the figure is somewhat misleading since it includes the price of new encryption software and other preventive measures to protect Acxiom's systems.

Next week, we'll take a look at the index's best—and worst—performers in 2003.

About this Column:The Ziff Davis Channel Zone stock index tracks 30 channel-related stocks on a weekly basis. We don't recommend buys, sells or holds. Rather, the index seeks to measure the channel's financial health. We launched the index on October 24 with a value of 1000. Each stock in the index is equally weighted. For example, if one stock rises 5 percent and another falls 4 percent, the net result is a 1 percent gain.

Company

Symbol

31-Oct

One Week

Accenture Ltd.

ACN

23.4

4.60%

Acxiom Corp.

ACXM

15.9

0.51%

Affiliated Computer Services Inc.

ACS

48.93

2.02%

Agilysys Inc.

AGYS

10.28

8.10%

Anerican Management Systems Inc.

AMSY

14.71

6.67%

Arrow Electronics Inc.

ARW

21.35

9.83%

Avnet Inc.

AVT

19.4

11.94%

CDW Corp.

CDWC

60.05

1.21%

Ciber Inc.

CBR

9.22

1.88%

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp.

CTSH

45.39

9.64%

Computer Sciences Corp.

CSC

39.62

3.31%

Convergys Corp.

CVG

16.06

7.42%

Covansys Corp.

CVNS

9.47

6.39%

DiamondCluster International Inc.

DTPI

8.9

2.30%

Digitas Inc.

DTAS

8.7

2.47%

Electronic Data Systems Corp.

EDS

21.45

4.13%

GTSI Corp.

GTSI

11.11

3.35%

IBM Corp.

IBM

89.48

1.20%

Ingram Micro Inc.

IM

14.8

8.19%

Keane Inc.

KEA

13.14

1.39%

Manchester Technologies Inc.

MANC

3.48

-0.57%

Manhattan Associates Inc.

MANH

27.83

-10.46%

Modis  Group Inc.

MPS

9.55

-7.46%

PC Connections

PCCC

10.24

3.12%

Perot Systems Corp.

PER

10.62

4.53%

Pomeroy IT Solutions Inc.

PMRY

14.38

0.69%

Sapient Corp.

SAPE

5.38

2.48%

Tech Data Corp.

TECD

32.92

5.75%

The Titan Corp.

TTN

21.12

0.76%

Unisys Corp.

UIS

15.36

1.05%

 

 

 

 

 

Current Index

1032.23405

 

 

Previous Week

1000.04524

 

 

Weekly Change

3.22%

 

 

Joseph C. Panettieri (joe_pan5@yahoo.com) has covered Silicon Valley since 1992. He is editorial director of the New York Institute of Technology .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
























 
 
 
 
 
 

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