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What went down goes back up

Monday's losers became Tuesday's gainers as local public companies watched their stock prices rebound along with the overall market. Swept along on the market surge, local executives were quick to attribute Monday's drop to general market conditions, rather than their own company's performance.

One local company was so confident in the market's strength that it went ahead with plans to go public Tuesday. Tropical Sportswear International Corp. sold 4-million shares at $12, raising $48-million.

But the Tampa-based apparel company paid a price for hitting the market at such a volatile time: Tropical Sportswear had been seeking $13 to $15 per share for its stock.

For veteran public companies around Tampa Bay, the whipsaw action of the past two days was business as usual, executives said. Citing their confidence in strong fundamentals and increased earnings, these market veterans said their companies focus on long-term stock performance, not on what happens in a day or a week.

"Momentum investors became sellers in Monday's market. It's not any more sophisticated than that," said John Hindman, chief financial officer of Clearwater-based Information Management Resources.

IMR's stock was down more than 15 percent at Monday's close, but regained 4 percent Tuesday to close at $26.06\. That's still well above the information technology company's price of about $7 a year ago.

"An awful lot of folks just wanted to secure their gains on Monday," Hindman said. "But we realize this is a long-term game and personally, I slept very well Monday night."

In fact, few area executives seem to have lost sleep over Monday's sell-off.

"Our stock was not trading in big blocks and we didn't have any alarmed shareholders calling," said David Townsend, vice president of administration for Tampa-based Walter Industries, which was down nearly 11 percent Monday. "We've been through lots of ups and downs so we don't get too excited about fluctuations." Walters closed Tuesday at $19.68}, up 93} cents.

At Plasma-Therm Inc., vice president Nick Goetz admitted he was anxiously watching the drop in share prices in the semiconductor industry, his company's primary customers. The St. Petersburg-based technology company dropped nearly 10 percent Monday but was up about 2 percent Tuesday.

"None of our institutional investors have made a move, and I attribute that to our strong order backlog," Goetz said. "We're probably withstanding the storm better than people might have thought."

In at least two cases, low share prices or the fact that few shares are in circulation made the stock movements of this week seem more dramatic than they really were.

Group Technologies, for instance, was the area's biggest loser Monday, down nearly 24 percent on a stock decline of less than 94 cents. On Tuesday, the Tampa-based company's stock rose 33 percent, or $1, to close at $4. In addition to its low share price, 80 percent of Group Technologies' stock is owned by a private consortium based in Louisville, Ky.

Another company that had big swings in the past two days was Kreisler Corp., a manufacturer of aerospace products based in St. Petersburg. The company was down 13 percent Monday, but up more than 27 percent at the close Tuesday.

Kreisler, which is scheduled to do a four-for-one split in late November, currently has only about 500,000 shares outstanding. And more than half of those shares are owned by Edward Stern, Kreisler's chairman, president and chief executive.

At midday Tuesday, Stern said he was still extremely pleased with his stock's performance, which was trading at under $4 a share less than a year ago.

"At $40 per share (Monday's closing price), the company's market value is $20-million and that makes my portfolio worth about $10-million," said Stern with considerable satisfaction. "I think that puts this into perspective."

Focusing on local stock performance

Tampa-based Group Technologies was the area's biggest loser on Monday, when its stock price fell nearly 24 percent. On Tuesday, it rose 33 percent. Here's how bay area stocks fared in the volatile market Monday and Tuesday. More companies, 6E

SYMBOL- TUESDAY TUESDAY MONDAY

COMPANIES EXCHANGE CLOSE % CHANGE % CHANGE

Group Technologies GRTK-NASD $4 +33.33% -23.81%

Kreisler Corp. KRSL-NASD $51 +27.5% -13.04%

IMC Mortgage IMCC-NASD $16.75 +11.67% -9.77%

Vision Twenty-One EYES-NASD $12.68} +11.54% -13.33%

Romac International ROMC-NASD $18.75 +10.7% -13.69%

ABR Information Svcs ABRX-NASD $24.25 +10.23% -9.97%

Europa Cruises KRUZ-NASD $0.75 +9.09% +4.75%

PowerCerv PCRV-NASD $3 +9.09% -4.35%

Information Mgmt Res IMRS-NASD $26.06\ +8.59% -15.42%

Jabil Circuit Inc. JBIL-NASD $48.75 +8.33% -6.74%

Tech Data Corp. TECD-NASD $43 +7.84% -5.06%

Kaydon Corp. KDN-NYSE $31.50 +5.88% -3.25%

Danka Business Sys DANKY-NASD $44.12{ +5.69% -8.74%

Maxxim Medical MAM-NYSE $22.06\ +5.69% -6.44%

Sykes Enterprises SYKE-NASD $23.37{ +5.06% -17.21%

Walter Industries WLTR-NASD $19.68} +5% -10.98%

Primex Technologies PRMX-NASD $33.25 +4.72% -7.47%

Intermedia Comm ICIX-NASD $45.62{ +3.69% -5.38%

Outback Stkhouse OSSI-NASD $26.62{ +3.4% -8.44%

Catalina POS-NYSE $50.06\ +3.35% -7.74%

Home Shopping HSNI-NASD $40.62{ +2.2% -7.83%

C.H. Heist HST-AMEX $7.12{ +1.79% -1.75%

Plasma-Therm PTIS-NASD $9.06\ +1.75% -9.81%

Tech Research TRCI-NASD $3.93} +1.61% +3.33%

Lincare Holdings LNCR-NASD $53.06\ +1.56% -5.22%

Dataflex Corp. DFLX-NASD $3.12{ +1.01% -6.60%

Florida Progress FPC-NYSE $31.87{ +0.79% -3.44%

Raymond James RJF-NYSE $29.75 +0.42% -8.85%

Bentley Pharm BNT-AMEX $2.87{ unc. -4.17%

Checkers CHKR-NASD $1.21~ unc. -4.88%

MTL Inc. MTLI-NASD $26.75 unc. -1.83%

Paradise Inc. PARF-NASD $11 unc. -0.56%

SYMBOL- TUESDAY TUESDAY MONDAY

COMPANIES EXCHANGE CLOSE % CHANGE % CHANGE

Parts Source ACEP-NASD $3.50 unc. +1.82%

Superior Surgical SGC-AMEX $14 unc. -3.45%

Healthplan Svcs Corp. HPS-NYSE $19.56\ -0.32% -3.68%

Echelon Int'l EIN-NYSE $23.87{ -0.52% -2.04%

Poe & Brown POBR-NASD $40 -0.62% -3.59%

TECO Energy TE-NYSE $23.81\ -0.78% -1.54%

Coast Dental CDEN-NASD $25.50 -0.97% -5.50%

Shells Restaurants SHLL-NASD $11.12{ -1.11% -2.17%

Pages Inc PAGZ-NASD $2.21~ -1.39% +2.86%

Transcor Waste Svcs TRCW-NASD $3.06\ -2% unc.

Digital Lightwave DIGL-NASD $18 -2.04% -7.55%

Reptron Inc REPT-NASD $15.37{ -2.38% -5.26%

Kimmins Corp KVN-NYSE $6.31\ -2.88% -3.70%

Newcare Health NWCA-NASD $4.12{ -2.94% +3.03%

Sterile Recoveries STRC-NASD $14.62{ -3.31% unc.

Apollo Int'l AIOD-NASD $5.75 -4.17% -5.42%

National Registry NRID-NASD $0.68} -4.35% -8.00%

Republic Bancshares REPB-NASD $24.50 -5.31% -0.96%

Davel Communications DAVL-NASD $25 -5.66% -4.50%

Precision Systems PSYS-NASD $3.43} -6.78% -7.81%

JLM Industries JLMI-NASD $11.25 -8.16% -2.00%

JumboSports JSI-NYSE $3.18} -8.93% -1.75%

Aerosonic Corp. AIM-AMEX $8.75 -11.39% -2.47%

Tech Force TFRC-NASD $7.68} -13.38% -1.39%

Thermacell Tech VCLL-NASD $4.25 -13.92% unc.

Source: Bloomberg News

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