Up and Down: USEC, TNS, JER Investors Trust, Harman
*Last week's biggest gainer was Independence Federal Savings Bank (IFSB), whose shares fell 34 percent the previous week. Shares were up 45 percent this week, closing at a$7.96. Again, few shares were traded: 100 on Wednesday and 100 Thursday.
*USEC (USU) finally had a good week, with shares up 41 percent, to $5.24. The Bethesda-based supplier of enriched uranium was one of Thursday's biggest gainers on the New York Stock Exchange - shares increased more than 27 percent on news that a main rival, Europe's Urenco, had raised capital and had strong financial results and that the Department of Energy has decided to manage its stockpile of depleted uranium. On Tuesday, the company said it bought a former Boeing site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., that has space built for centrifuge machines. Shares are still just 20 percent of their 52-week high of $25.65.
*A couple of recently battered stocks also had gains last week: Sallie Mae (SLM) shares were up 22 percent, to close at $18.49, Circuit City (CC) was up 21 percent, to $4.78 and Fannie Mae (FNM) was up 17 percent, to $30.34. All of their shares, however, are still at less than 50 percent of their 52-week highs. Circuit City is still on our list of top 10 losers, with shares down 73 percent over the past year.
*One of the biggest gainers of the past 52 weeks was TNS of Reston (TNS), or Transaction Network Services, which provides services to retailers, banks and payment processors. Shares are up 69 percent over that period, closing at $21.31. In late February, the company issued its profit forecast, beating Wall Street's estimates. TNS said that in 2008, it would focus on growing in the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Italy and Spain.
*Shares of JER Investors Trust of McLean (JRT), part of the J.E. Robert Cos., dropped 12 percent last week to close at $8.27. Shares hit their 52-week low of $7.51 on Monday, when it reported its 2007 financial results. It said book value per share as of Dec. 31 was 42 cents, compared with $14.37 the previous Dec. 31. Part of the real estate investment trust's game plan is to invest in commercial mortgage-backed securities, so the estimated fair value of those investments has dropped. Revenue increased almost 82 percent in 2007, and profit dropped about 27 percent. On Thursday, JER Investors Trust sold the remaining 50 percent of its portfolio of public charter school properties for $39.5 million.
*MCG Capital (MCGC) also hit 52-week low last week, with shares hitting $7.71 on Tuesday. They closed at $8.16 on Friday, down 10 percent for the week. The Arlington private-equity firm was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" Tuesday by a Jeffries & Co. analyst who said he expects a dividend cut from MCG after it couldn't renew a $200 million credit line. MCG invests in small and midsize companies.
*Harman International Industries (HAR) of the District is one of the biggest losers of the past three months, with shares down 35 percent to close at $44.21. Almost a year ago, two private-equity firms agreed to buy the manufacturer of high-end audio equipment for cars and consumers for $120 a share. But the buyout collapsed, and in January Harman cut its 2008 earnings forecast, giving shares their worst day since the company went public in 1986. They closed that day at $43.
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