|Erik and Bev: 2 big losers|
ERIK STEN, INC.
Stock in the high-flying young City Commissioner plunged earlier this year on the back of computer problems at the Water Bureau. Now investors are seething over revelations that uncollected bills have swelled to $42.7 million, up $35 million just three months ago. Analysts worry that unless GAPTH can plug a finger in the dike soon, the company's dreams of taking over VERA, Inc. will go down the drain.
-31% WPOOR WORKINGPOOR, UNLIMITED
When the economy goes south, the working poor suffer first and worst. WPOOR shareprices hit the skids last week after economists began to utter the R word. Meanwhile, state lawmakers are planning a special session to carve at least $300 million from the state budget, which will likely include big cuts in everything from job training to drug and alcohol programs to school budgets--further diluting WPOOR's earnings.
+23% CSTAG PORTLAND CENTER STAGE & CO.
CEO Chris Coleman kicked off his first season at Portland Center Stage with a certifiable dud last year: The Devils was a long, poorly-acted mess. When this year's season was announced, investors balked at the opener of Gypsy (the musical made famous by Ethel Merman) as bland and timid. No one could have predicted that September's horror would transform local culture vultures into warm-fuzzies. In this market, customers want a little song and dance, and CSTAG's Gypsy is just the ticket.
-11% BEV BEVSTEINCORP
Analysts issued a "sell" recommendation on BEVS after the former Multnomah County Chair came in third in a Democratic straw poll for the governor's race, trailing rivals Jim Hill and Ted Kulongoski. Demo insiders say Hill's runaway victory was no shock, considering his campaign manager, Maria Smithson, is also vice-chair of the state Democratic Party. More surprising is that BEVS--who has long claimed broad and deep Democratic grassroots support--couldn't beat Kulongoski, who was late with his IPO.
RATEPAYERS & CO.
Jittery investors dumped SHIVR in droves after a last-ditch effort to head off massive rate increases came to nothing. Faced with a brutal one-two punch--a 20 percent hike by NW Natural Gas and a 40 percent raise by Portland General Electric--SHIVR subsidiaries (including business heavyweights and consumer advocates) asked the state Public Utility Commission to delay the new rates. The PUC refused. SHIVR must now find a way to deal with higher costs.