After years of getting the cold shoulder from investors, Ford Motor Co. finally got back into their favor in April, primarily because of a positive earnings report.

Ford shares gained 19 percent in April, outperforming, by far, all other 13 local publicly traded companies tracked by Insider Louisville. While most of the companies enjoyed a stock bump in April, only four of 14 fared better than the S&P 500.

Reuters said Ford’s better-than-expected first quarter was “largely due to strong pickup truck sales in its core U.S. market,” while the Motley Fool said that “earnings growth was particularly impressive because Ford ramped up its investments in autonomous vehicles and mobility services last quarter.”

Ford’s shares rose $1.01, or 10.7%, on April 26, the day that the company announced earnings. Ford’s shares that day closed above $10 for the first time since Aug. 28. Shares have traded for as little as $7.41 in the last year.

Investors also appeared to shrug off Ford’s disclosure of a federal criminal investigation into the automaker’s emissions certification process.

On Tuesday, shares closed at $10.45, up 19% for April.

Churchill Downs shares, too, had a good month, pushed primarily by a positive earnings report. The company said its first-quarter revenue rose by 40% compared to the same quarter of last year, thanks primarily to a casino purchase and the opening of Derby City Gaming, the historical racing facility on Poplar Level Road.

Shares actually were down for the month until April 24, the day the company announced earnings, then rose more than $10 in four days.

Shares closed Tuesday at $100.85, up 11.7% for the month.

Shares of Republic Bancorp and Yum Brands performed better than the S&P 500, while those of Stock Yards and Limestone, Apellis Pharmaceuticals and Brown-Forman performed worse — though they were in positive territory.

Papa John’s stock price fell 3.4%, while Humana shares continued their decline, falling nearly 4% in April. UPS shares fell nearly 5%, and Turning Point Brands dropped 7.2%.

Shares of two local companies performed even worse.

Sypris Solutions’ stock price fell from $1.16 to $1.08 over a two-day period in late March when the company announced fourth-quarter results, which included higher revenue and a smaller loss than a year earlier. The share price hovered around $1.08 for much of the month before falling 7.4% on April 23 and another 5.8% two days later. The company has made no major filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the last month.

On Tuesday, shares closed at $1, down 8 cents or 7.4% for the month.

For April’s laggard, Texas Roadhouse, most of the share price decline occurred on the month’s last trading day. The company had announced first-quarter earnings Monday evening, saying that labor costs were rising faster than expected and were cutting into profitability.

Although first-quarter revenue increased 10%, to $690 million, net income fell 7.6%, to $50 million.

Shares fell 11.6% Tuesday, closing at $54.01, down 13.2% for the month.

Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.