A graphic that shows that most stocks of Louisville-based companies fell in May
Graphic by Boris Ladwig

Don’t be shocked if you haven’t looked at your retirement account balance lately. In all likelihood, it will have taken a beating in May — much like local stocks.

How bad was the month? Here’s an indication: The value of Louisville’s two biggest companies, Humana and Yum! Brands, fell more than $2 billion.

And of 14 local companies tracked by Insider, only one posted a significant stock price gain, and more than half of the companies saw share price declines of at least 4% — though all but three fared better than the S&P 500, which declined 6.6% in May.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,815, down nearly 1,800 points for the month, or 6.7%. While the Dow is now up 6.4% for the year, it is up just 0.7% from a year ago and actually down from the beginning of last year.

The one Louisville-based company that saw a significant share price gain in May is Turning Point Brands. Its share price spiked 18%, to $50.45, on the first day of the month, after the tobacco products company said first-quarter revenue grew by 24% and net income more than doubled.

Shares had risen to $53.24 by May 6, but then fell to $47.70 on May 10. They closed on May 31 at $49.08, up 14.75% for the month.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals was the only other company tracked by Insider that saw its share price increase in May, albeit by an anemic 1.4%.

Limestone Bancorp, Yum! Brands, Churchill Downs, Stock Yards Bancorp and Republic Bancorp all saw declines for the month, though no more than 3%.

Some of Louisville’s biggest and most prominent companies took big hits in May: Texas Roadhouse shares fell 5.1%, Papa John’s by 5.3% and Brown-Forman’s by 6.2%. Humana’s stock price declined 4.1% continuing its slide. Humana’s market cap declined by $1.4 billion in May. Shares closed the month at $244.87.

Louisville’s two largest employers, Ford and UPS, fared even worse than the S&P 500. Ford’s shares downshifted 9%, closing the month at $9.51. Ford shares had jumped 19% in April after posting better-than-expected quarterly results, but investors have pulled back over worries about trade troubles with China, impact from a possible Fiat-Renault merger and possible tariffs on imports from Mexico.

The Mexico tariffs prompted Autoblog Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore to warn of a “potential disaster” and sent auto stocks lower on Friday.

Meanwhile, UPS shares fell 11% in May, closing at $94.56 on May 31. Shares declined fairly steadily throughout the month, and fell 3% Friday after rival FedEx said it would begin deliveries on Sunday in 2020 — though FedEx shares fell 2.4% that day.

UPS CEO David Abney told Bloomberg Thursday evening that the Atlanta-based package giant is “looking at” Sunday deliver “right now” and that recently ratified contracts with unions would allow Sunday deliveries.

The worst local performer in May was Sypris Solutions, whose shares fell more than 10% in the two days after the automotive, aerospace and electronics maker said it lost $2.3 million in the first quarter, worse than its $1.8 million loss a year earlier. For the month, Sypris’ shares fell 14.1%, closing at 85 cents.

Sypris’ slide also is placing the company in delisting danger (again). If a company on the Nasdaq “trades for 30 consecutive business days below the $1.00 minimum closing bid price requirement, Nasdaq will send a deficiency notice to the company,” the Nasdaq Listing Center says. Any company that has received such a letter then has 180 calendar days to get back into compliance.

Sypris’ shares last closed at $1 on April 26, or 25 trading days ago.

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.