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Published in Economic Development

West Michigan public company stocks fall sharply amid coronavirus outbreak, oil tensions

BY Monday, March 09, 2020 06:58pm

Stock prices for West Michigan’s publicly traded companies continued to plummet on Monday, a sign of Wall Street’s growing concern about the effect the coronavirus outbreak could have on the U.S. economy and rising tensions over oil production between Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

In Monday trading, markets in the U.S. and globally fell sharply, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging nearly 2,014 points or 7.79 percent, and the NASDAQ off 625 points or 7.29 percent. 

The free fall in the market has analysts cautioning a bear market is on the horizon. At the close of trading Monday, The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 5,700 points, or 19.3 percent, compared to its record high of 29,551 on Feb. 12, 2020. 

Among West Michigan companies, publicly traded stocks have taken a beating since the Feb. 12 market high. 

Compared to their closing prices at the Feb. 12 market peak, shares in Zeeland-based office furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. and Charlotte-based specialty vehicle manufacturer Spartan Motors Inc. fell the most, shedding more than one-third of their stock price. 

Companies whose stock prices were down by more than a quarter include Rockford-based Wolverine World Wide Inc. (28.4 percent), Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank Corp. (27.6 percent), Grand Rapids-based Steelcase Inc. (26.8 percent), Grand Rapids-based Independent Bank Corp. (26.7 percent) and Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Inc. (26.3 percent).

Meanwhile, Kalamazoo-based medical device maker Stryker Corp. (NYSE: SYK) saw its share price fall from $216.06 on Feb. 12, the day of the market high, to $172.63 on Monday, a loss of 20.1 percent. On paper, the company lost more than $16.2 billion in market capitalization, the largest decline among West Michigan based public companies. 

Overall, the 16 West Michigan public companies trading on the major exchanges lost nearly $26.7 billion, or 18.4 percent, in market capitalization since the Feb. 12 peak, according to an analysis by MiBiz. 

While none of the locally based public companies saw their stock prices increase, seven did perform better than the market since Feb. 12. They include Battle Creek-based Kellogg Co., which was down 5.7 percent; Grand Rapids-based Universal Forest Products Inc., down 11.2 percent; and Byron Center-based SpartanNash Co., which was off 13 percent. 


In a report issued Monday, Comerica Inc. Chief Economist Robert Dye called February a “turning point in the U.S. economy.” Until the end of the month, economic data showed a strong U.S. economy thanks to a healthy household and consumer base, but he expects that foundation to erode as the coronavirus outbreak and the federal reaction weighs on the economy. 

Dye estimates the U.S. economy now has a 40 percent chance of a recession happening within the next six months. 

“A rule of thumb for macroeconomists is that it takes at least three coincident events to knock the U.S. economy into recession,” Dye said in a statement. “We had four big events align in 2007 with the U.S. housing market meltdown, the ensuing global financial crises, the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry and an oil price shock. Now, we see global demand destruction due to coronavirus, financial market volatility and the Boeing production shutdown aligning.

“This does not guarantee a near-term recession for the U.S. economy, but it does mean that we should take these events very seriously.”


Here’s a look at how West Michigan-based public companies have fared since the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high on Feb. 12. 

Company Feb. 12 close March 9 close % change
Herman Miller Inc. $40.91 $27.27 -33.3%
Spartan Motors Inc. $18.79 $12.56 -33.2%
Wolverine World Wide Inc. $32.29 $23.11 -28.4%
Mercantile Bank Corp. $33.26 $24.08 -27.6%
Steelcase Inc. $19.39 $14.20 -26.8%
Independent Bank Corp. $22.17 $16.26 -26.7%
Whirlpool Corp. $152.50 $112.38 -26.3%
Macatawa Bank Corp. $10.86 $8.43 -22.4%
Stryker Corp. $216.08 $172.63 -20.1%
Gentex Corp. $30.48 $24.70 -19.0%
Perrigo Co. plc $59.75 $48.89 -18.2%
Neogen Corp. $71.87 $60.07 -16.4%
Choice One Financial Corp. $32.52 $28.25 -13.1%
SpartanNash Co. $12.90 $11.23 -12.9%
Universal Forest Products Inc. $50.02 $44.42 -11.2%
Kellogg Co. $66.18 $62.41 -5.7%
Read 6905 times Last modified on Monday, 16 March 2020 08:14