Weak performance for Northeast Florida stocks

Fourteen of the 19 local companies dropped in first half of 2024.

  • By Mark Basch
  • | 12:10 a.m. July 5, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Treace Medical Concepts Inc. stock was down 48% in the first half of 2024.
Treace Medical Concepts Inc. stock was down 48% in the first half of 2024.
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With the Standard & Poor’s 500 index closing the first half of 2024 near a record high, you might assume it’s been a good year for Jacksonville stocks.

However, stocks of most companies based in Northeast Florida dropped in the first six months of the year.

Fourteen of the 19 stocks declined in the first half of 2024 and the worst performers – among stocks that trade above $1 – were two companies that had successful initial public offerings in 2021: Treace Medical Concepts Inc. and Dream Finders Homes Inc.

Ponte Vedra-based Treace, which produces surgical treatments for bunions and other foot issues, plunged in May after lowering its growth forecasts and finished the six-month period down 48%.

Homebuilder Dream Finders was actually the best performer among Jacksonville-based companies in 2023, tripling in price. But it has been falling in the last two months after reporting lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings, and with homebuilding stocks in general falling.

Treace went public at $17 in April 2021 and traded as high as $37.17 in June 2021, but the stock had fallen back and after the recent drop, it finished the first half of the year at $6.65, well below the IPO price.

Dream Finders, which sold for $13 in its January 2021 IPO, continued to rise in the first quarter of 2024 and reached a record high of $44.38 in March.

It finished the first half of the year at $25.82, still above its IPO price but down sharply from its high.

The overall poor performance of Jacksonville companies is not a surprise when you realize that the big jump in the S&P 500 was due mainly to a surge in one company, chipmaker Nvidia Corp.

The Wall Street Journal reported Nvidia accounted for 30% of the total return in the S&P 500, which gained a total of 14.5% in the first six months of the year.

The Journal said the average S&P 500 stock is close to its level at the beginning of 2022 and more than half are lower.

Jacksonville has three S&P 500 companies and two of them, CSX Corp. and Regency Centers Corp., are trading slightly below their January 2022 levels.

The other S&P 500 stock, Fidelity National Information Services Inc., is down sharply from its early 2022 level but was one of the top gainers in the first half this year, rising 25%.

The top two gainers were stocks that had been beaten down heading into 2024. Space technology firm Redwire Corp. rose 152% and cellulose specialties product company Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. rose 34%.

Cannae targeting cybersecurity firm

Cannae Holdings Inc., the investment firm spun off from Fidelity National Financial Inc., is seeking to acquire a cybersecurity firm with the help of an activist investor, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The June 26 report, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said activist investment firm Jana Partners acquired a stake in Boston-based Rapid7 Inc. with plans to push for a sale of the company.

It said Jana is working with Cannae, which would team up with a private equity partner to buy Rapid7.

Cannae and Jana announced a strategic partnership in February to find acquisition targets. As part of that deal, Cannae invested $55.5 million in cash and stock to acquire a 19.99% stake in Jana.

Cannae said in a news release that Jana, founded in 2001, has a track record of “investing, driving shareholder value, and improving governance at public companies.”

Bill Foley, chairman of Cannae and Jacksonville-based Fidelity, said in the release “we will have access to proprietary deal flow and acquisition opportunities in undervalued companies and, as an owner of Jana, will also participate in the future success of Jana.”

An acquisition of Rapid7 would be the first deal under that partnership.

Rapid7 said in its most recent earnings report it has annualized recurring revenue of $807 million.

The company has not issued a response to the Journal report.

Hueman acquires New Jersey firm

Hueman People Solutions announced June 24 it acquired PrincetonOne, a New Jersey-based provider of outsourced recruiting services.

Jacksonville-based Hueman said the deal will expand its recruitment process outsourcing and talent acquisition services.

Privately owned Hueman traces its roots to Jacksonville Beach-based PPR Talent Management Group, founded in 1996, which spun off two of its business lines into Hueman in 2017.

Hueman said in March it was moving its headquarters from Jacksonville Beach to The Pondry, the former Allstate office park in Jacksonville along San Pablo Road south of Butler Boulevard.

The company said it had 400 employees, with half working virtually.

PrincetonOne said in a Hueman news release that all of its 83 employees will be joining Hueman.

Terms of the deal were not announced.



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