2020’s Mixed Picture for Local Stocks

Jan 4, 2021

2020 was a positive year for most major U.S. stock indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up nearly 7%, while the broader S&P 500 gained nearly 16%. But it was a mixed story for many local companies.

Investors in some of Hawaii’s best known corporate names suffered losses this past year.

Airline stocks were hit across the board — including Hawaiian Holdings. The parent company of Hawaiian Airlines bounced back from its March lows, but closed the year down by more than a third.  

Hawaiian Electric Industries saw its lowest point in September, but its shares still finished 2020 with a loss of more than 25%.

Not all the news was negative for local investors.

Barnwell Industries is a relatively small company — an unusual combination of oil and gas exploration, contract drilling and land investment — the last one largely in Hawaii, where it is headquartered.

The company’s stock price finished the year up about 25%.

Cyanotech is another relatively small company based on Hawaii Island and in the business of producing microalgae. Its shares gained more than 30% in 2020. While another small neighbor island company, Maui Land and Pineapple finished 2020 up about 3% on the year.

Investors in Alexander and Baldwin had a wild ride, with a peak in February followed by a drop of more than 60% less than six weeks later. By year’s end, shares had bounced back a bit, but still closed the year with a loss of nearly 20%.

A&B’s former corporate cousin Matson had a strong year — helped by its Chinese shipping routes. Matson shares closed the year up about 40% with fairly steady growth since July.

But the biggest gainer among local stocks is now an out-of-state story.

Cincinnati Bell bought Hawaiian Telcom more than two years ago, and shares of Cincinnati Bell closed the year up roughly 45%.