Local stocks pop, follow market rally

Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 1:47am

Shares of locally based Gaylord Entertainment Co., Pinnacle Financial Partner and J. Alexander’s Inc. jumped more than 10 percent Wednesday, boosted by a broad market rally that fed off falling oil prices and surprisingly strong profits from Wells Fargo & Co.

On a day when the S&P 500 rose 2.5 percent and the Nasdaq Composite jumped even more, 14 Nashville-area stocks ended the day at least 4 percent higher than on Tuesday.

J. Alexander’s led the way, soaring 13.6 percent, albeit on very light volume. Gaylord jumped 10 percent on volume that was double its daily average. Its move yesterday continued a three-day run that started with a downgrade from Goldman Sachs and has taken it from $21.35 to $24.82.

Pinnacle’s rise was spurred both by its strong second-quarter earnings report and a record gain in financial shares sparked by higher-than-expected profits at Wells Fargo, which has almost 6,000 offices from California to Indiana, but has mostly avoided the subprime mortgage mess. Its report spurred a jump of more than 18 percent in the Dow Jones U.S. Banks Index.

Other strong local gainers on the day — although all are still well below where they started 2008 — were Louisiana-Pacific (up 8.3 percent), Genesco (up 6.0 percent) and Cracker Barrel parent CBRL Group (up 5.2 percent).

One local company that didn’t follow the trend — in fact, it went in a completely different direction — was Tennessee Commerce Bancorp Inc. The thinly traded shares of the Franklin-based bank fell more than 17 percent on no apparent news, although its CFO last week filed a whistleblower suit alleging it retaliated against him when he filed a complaint with regulators.

Filed under: City Business
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