Report: Unitil leads the way among New Hampshire public companies

SmartAsset lists best-performing Granite State-based stocks

Among 10 New Hampshire-based publicly traded companies, Unitil Corp. stock was the best long-term investment you could make, according to a recently released ranking by

According to SmartAsset, the average annual return among those 10 New Hampshire companies was 6.86 percent from January 2011 to March 2016, compared to a national average of 5.52 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, two New Hampshire-based firms had stock with negative returns, SmartAsset reported.

Performance Sports Group of Exeter, which has been suffering financial troubles in recent months, wasn’t publicly traded in 2011. It went on the Toronto exchange in 2013, with a secondary offering on the New York exchange in 2014. During that period, the return was negative – -47.27 percent – dragging down the average of the entire state..

The most volatile stock when it came to price was iCAD’s, which also had the second-lowest performance rating. It was the only other company where the return was negative: -5.21 percent. The company, which make cancer detection and treatment systems lost $1.6 million in its second quarter, but that was an improvement over the same quarter in the previous year, when it posted a net loss of $27.8 million. It is trading around $6 a share, about a dollar higher than the end of March.

Bottomline Technologies’ 6.7 percent return was closest to the state average, but it was still third from the bottom because of higher price volatility. The company, which released its annual financial filings last week, posted a net loss of $5.9 million, resulting in an annual net loss of $19.6 million, but both are a considerable improvement from last year, when it lost $21.6 million for the last quarter and $34.7 million for the fiscal year ended June 30.

Unitil, the Hampton-based electric and gas utility, had the best overall performance, even though it had the fourth best annual return, 18.04 percent, thanks to its low price volatility.

In the second quarter, Unitil posted net income of $2.5 million, or 18 cents a share, an increase of about $800,000.

White Mountains Insurance Group, a conglomerate based in Hanover and the only mid-cap New Hampshire public company was slightly behind Unitil on the performance index, and it had an 18.36 percent rate of return.

The biggest annual return – 25.6 percent – came from PC Connection of Merrimack. The company reported sales and net income up more than 7 percent in the second quarter.

Standex International , a Salem-based conglomerate, had the second best rate of return, 20.8 percent, though it ranked fourth in performance. In the second quarter, the company’s net income was $12.2 million, more than $4 million less than last year. Sales were off also, by about 2 percent. All that contributed to a net income of $4.11 per share for the fiscal year, a 22-cent drop.

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