Shares of Advanta, Lincoln hit hardest last week

It’s hard to grasp the immense destruction of wealth that occurred in the stock markets last week.

I ran the numbers for 25 companies that are either based here or have a big presence in the region. In total, they saw $134 billion of market value vanish in one week.

Only 15 of the 203 companies in the Inquirer/Bloomberg Philadelphia Index rose. And I can’t give you reasons why any of those 15 resisted the downward pull.

Just about anything that resembled a financial stock got pummeled. Advanta Corp., the Spring House credit-card issuer, was the worst-performing local stock. Its Class A shares were down 47 percent to close at $2.61; its Class B shares were down 45 percent, closing at $4.31.

Radian Group Inc., the Philadelphia provider of private mortgage insurance, finished the week at $2.45, down 44 percent.

Insurers of all kinds were hard hit. Shares of Radnor-based Lincoln National Corp. fell nearly 39 percent, while shares of Philadelphia’s Cigna Corp. declined 33 percent. Lincoln is a life insurer. Cigna is a health insurer.

Hole in the roof

Housing continues to struggle, and Orleans Homebuilders Inc.’s annual report has the numbers to prove it.

The Bensalem company reported a net loss of $143 million, or $7.78 per share, on revenues of $583 million for its fiscal year ended June 30. The previous year, it lost $67 million, or $3.62 per share, on revenues of $683 million.

But to me, the statistic that jumped out was the change in Orleans’ workforce. As of June 30, 2006, the company had 988 employees. Two years later, it had 544.

It continued to cut during the summer. Orleans notes that it reduced head count more than 10 percent, or 50-plus people, after June 30.


Wednesday: Crown Holdings, Sun Bancorp; Thursday: Healthcare Services Group, Knoll, National Penn Bancshares, PNC Financial Services Group, Vist Financial; Friday: Alliance Bancorp of Pennsylvania, Harleysville National, Harleysville Savings, Republic First Bancorp, Wilmington Trust.