Ugly year for stocks proved even worse for South Florida-based companies

The market gyrations of 2018’s final weeks put an exclamation mark on a down year for U.S. stocks.

South Florida-based publicly traded companies suffered in the process. Of the nearly four-dozen publicly traded companies in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, less than one-third ended 2018 showing net gains in share price.

But the damage was done long before that tumultuous week of Dec. 17. By summer 2018, many Miami-Dade and Broward-based companies saw sliding share prices, the result of a weakening housing market, rising interest rates and thinning profit margins.

The softening was part of a national trend. Over the 12 months of 2018, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average indices both declined about 6 percent.

Statewide, the top public companies finished the year down five percent, according to the University of Miami Business School’s Florida 50 Index, which tracks Florida firms in the S&P Composite 1500 Index. Still, 10 index firms climbed more than 10 percent, and another five firms saw stock prices rise during the year.

Among local gainers, Fort Lauderdale-based Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc. had the best year of any Miami-Dade or Broward listed company, with shares climbing 41 percent. The parent of Universal Property homeowners insurance (which enjoys Dan Marino as a pitchman),

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has seen growth that is both fast and broad. On the company’s most recent earnings call, chairman and CEO Sean Downes said Universal is now selling in 20 different states and producing double-digit underwriting growth thanks in part to its Universal Direct online quote platform.

Similarly, Sunrise-based FedNat Holding Company (formerly Federated National Holding Company) said in November it was seeing “exceptional growth” among customers in states like Texas and Louisiana, helping offset declines in homeowner-ship and insurance sales in the Sunshine State. FedNat shares were also bolstered by a stock buyback announced in December.

Miramar-based Spirit Airlines, Inc. jumped too last year, finishing up more than 20 percent. That was well ahead of South Florida’s largest carrier, Dallas-based American Airlines, whose share price ended the year 38-percent lower than on Dec. 29, 2017. In its fourth-quarter report issued in November, Spirit said non-ticket revenue from extra-cost services like seat assignments and checked bags were outperforming expectations.

Miami’s major cruise operators also ended the year lower. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings finished 2018 down more than 15 percent. The slide reflected concern that orders for a flotilla of new ships would outpace demand by consumers.

Other local players fared even worse. The year proved downright grim for security company ADT. Based in Boca Raton but with more than 900 employees and thousands of customers across Miami-Dade and Broward, ADT saw its shares fall 51 percent for the year. The company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in January, and within months began a steady slide as investors fretted over future growth prospects and the company’s debt burden.

Miami-based Ryder System, Inc. also saw a dismal 2018, with a 41-percent drop that was part of a broader sell-off among transportation stocks. The good news for the trucking and logistics company is that Wall Street analysts have now deemed its shares as worthy of a “buy” rating as Deutsche Bank forecast a 2019 recovery in freight volumes and supply chain improvements.

Home builders also had a miserable 2018. Miami-based Lennar Corp. fell with them, with shares declining 38 percent for the year. Like its competitors, Lennar fell victim to declining demand on the U.S West Coast and rising interest rates.

A smattering of companies listing South Florida corporate offices, including Dolphin Entertainment, vacation packager Monaker Group, Inc., and MoviePass parent Helios and Matheston Analytics, Inc. saw shares slip below $1.

Other 2018 developments among South Florida publicly traded companies included:

Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in November to start selling orphan drug Firdapse to treat a rare auto-immune disorder. Despite maintaining a “buy” rating from multiple Wall Street analysts, traders expressed concern about lower-cost alternative treatments cutting into market share. That, plus the heightened political environment to high-priced drug, contributed to a sell-off that cut the company’s value in half.

Helios and Matheson Analytics, Inc., the parent company of cinema subscription service MoviePass, is facing de-listing from the NASDAQ after its share price fell to less than $0.02, well below the $1 minimum required. Company Chairman and CEO Ted Farnsworth, a Miami-based entrepreneur, also came under scrutiny after the Miami Herald revealed he and his prior businesses have been defendants in a number of civil suits.

ILG, Inc., a Miami-based vacation company, was acquired by Orlando-based Marriott Vacations Worldwide. Most ILG employees were retained.

Wellington-based KLX, Inc., an aerospace parts supplier, was bought out by Boeing Co. for approximately $4.25 billion. KLX was formed in a 2014 spinoff from B/E Aerospace, Inc. B/E itself was sold to Iowa-based Rockwell Collins in April 2017; in November 2018, Rockwell Collins was purchased by Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp and renamed Collins Aerospace. Today, Collins Aerospace is headquartered in West Palm Beach. It is not publicly traded. KLX Aerospace Solutions, as the Boeing subsidiary is now known, still employs hundreds in Miami.

MasTec, the Miami infrastructure company founded by Jorge Mas-Canosa, became what is believed to the be first company founded by a Cuban-American on the Fortune 500, entering the list at No. 428. In November, it was also added to the bellwether S&P Midcap 400 Index.

Fort Lauderdale-based National Beverage Corp., makers of LaCroix Sparkling Water, was hit with a lawsuit alleging the drink contained artificial ingredients. The class-action complaint caused the company to miss its most recent revenue and profit target. Overall, company shares were down 25 percent for the year. CEO Nick Caporella denied the suit’s allegations, calling them “outrageous.”

OPKO Health, Inc. was named in an SEC complaint that alleged chairman, CEO and well-known Miami philanthropist Phillip Frost participated in a scheme to pump up small-value stocks and then dump them. On Dec. 27, Frost and OPKO announced they had settled with the SEC without admitting or denying the charges. Frost and OPKO paid fines totaling $5.6 million and agreed to bans on penny-stock trading. OPKO shares have fallen about 25 percent since the charges were announced in September.

Stalwart apparel group Perry Ellis International returned to private status, thanks to a buyout by former chairman and CEO George Feldenkreis and partners. The company, founded by Feldenkreis in 1967 as Supreme International, had been publicly traded since 1993. It purchased the Perry Ellis fashion house, the namesake of the star Seventh Avenue women’s wear designer, in 1999. In a November Miami Herald interview, Feldenkreis said the company would be staying in Doral, with a renewed focus on updating the company’s brands and technologies for the 21st century.

Below are the year-end results of publicly traded companies in Miami-Dade and Broward companies, plus a few other public companies with a strong local presence.

ADT, Inc.

What: Boca Raton-based security systems provider with strong South Florida presence

Chairman: Marc Becker

CEO: Jim Devries

Ticker: ADT

2017 close: $12.18

2018 close: $6.01

12-month performance: -51 percent

52-week high: $13.02

52-week low: $5.88

2018 year-end market cap: $4.6 billion

Amazon.com, Inc.

What: E-commerce giant with more than 4,000 full-time employees in South Florida.

Chairman and CEO: Jeff Bezos

Ticker: AMZN

2017 close: $1,169

2018 close: $1,501

12-month performance: 28 percent

52-week high: $2,050

52-week low: $1,170

2018 year-end market cap: $734.4 billion

American Airlines Group, Inc.

What: Largest passenger air carrier in South Florida, based in Fort Worth, Texas

Chairman and CEO: Doug Parker

Ticker: AAL

2017 close: $51.53

2018 close: $32.11

12-month performance: -38 percent

52-week high: $59.08

52-week low: $29.59

2018 year-end market cap: $14.8 billion

AutoNation, Inc.

What: Largest U.S. car dealership group, based in Fort Lauderdale

Chairman and CEO: Mike Jackson

Ticker: AN

2017 close: $52.47

2018 close: $35.70

12-month performance: -32 percent

52-week high: $62.02

52-week low: $32.87

2018 year-end market cap: $3.2 billion

The Bank of America Corp.

What: Bank holding company with large presence in South Florida

Chairman and CEO: Brian Moynihan

Ticker: BAC

2017 close: $28.99

2018 close: $24.64

12-month performance: -15 percent

52-week high: $33.05

52-week low: $22.66

2018 year-end market cap: $242 billion

BankUnited, Inc.

What: Miami Lakes-based bank holding company.

Chairman: John A. Kanas

CEO: Rajinder P. Singh. The Miami Herald previously profiled Singh.

Ticker: BKU

2017 close: $39.84

2018 close: $29.94

12-month performance: -25 percent

52-week high: $44.97

52-week low: $28.05

2018 year-end market cap: $3.1 billion

BBX Capital Corp.

What: Fort Lauderdale-based investment group; owner of Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Vacations Corp.

Chairman and CEO: Alan Levan

Ticker: BBX

2017 close: $7.93

2018 close: $5.73

12-month performance: -28 percent

52-week high: $10.17

52-week low: $5.23

2018 year-end market cap: $556 million

Blink Charging Co.

What: Miami Beach-based electric vehicle charging company

Chairman and CEO: Michael D. Farkas

Ticker: BLNK

2017 close: $4.50

2018 close: $1.72

12-month performance: -62 percent

52-week high: $15.00

52-week low: $1.28

2018 year-end market cap: $44 million

Carnival Corporation

What: World’s largest cruise line group, based in Doral. The Miami Herald previously covered the company’s Miami history and launch of its most recent ship.

Chairman: Mickey Arison

CEO: Arnold Donald

Ticker: CCL

2017 close: $64.63

2018 close: $49.30

12-month performance: -26 percent

52-week high: $72.70

52-week low: $45.64

2018 year-end market cap: $35.8 billion

Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

What: Coral Gables-based pharmaceutical firm, developer of “orphan” drug Firdapase. The Miami Herald previously profiled the company.

Chairman and CEO: Patrick McEnany

Ticker: CPRX

2017 close: $4.01

2018 close: $1.92

12-month performance: -52 percent

52-week high: $4.08

52-week low: $1.85

2018 year-end market cap: $197 million

Citigroup Inc.

What: Bank holding company with significant presence in South Florida

Chairman: John Dugan

CEO: Mike Corbat

Ticker: C

2017 close: $72.80

2018 close: $52.06

12-month performance: -28 percent

52-week high: $80.70

52-week low: $48.42

2018 year-end market cap: $127.1 billion

Citrix Systems, Inc.

What: Fort Lauderdale-based networking and virtual desktop software developer

Chairman and CEO: Bob Calderoni

Ticker: CTXS

2017 close: $87.72

2018 close: $102.46

12-month performance: 17 percent

52-week high: $116.82

52-week low: $83.70

2018 year-end market cap: $13.8 billion

Dolphin Entertainment

What: Coral Gables-based entertainment company

Chairman and CEO: Bill O’Dowd

Ticker: DLPN

2017 close: $3.60

2018 close: $0.77

12-month performance: -79 percent

52-week high: $5.77

52-week low: $0.71

2018 year-end market cap: $10.9 million

EVI Industries, Inc.

What: Miami-based dry cleaning and laundry equipment distributor

Chairman and CEO: Henry Nahmad

Ticker: EVI

2017 close: $39.86

2018 close: $33.35

12-month performance: -16 percent

52-week high: $48.45

52-week low: $25.39

2018 year-end market cap: $381 million

Fairholme Fund

What: Miami-based mutual fund.

President: Bruce Berkowitz. The Miami Herald previously covered Berkowitz’s stake in Sears Holding Company.

Ticker: FAIRX

2017 close: $19.71

2018 close: $15.14

12-month performance: -25 percent

52-week high: $19.71

52-week low: $15.08

2018 year-end market cap: n/a

FCB Financial Holdings, Inc.

What: Holding company for Florida Community Bank; acquired Jan. 2 by Columbus, Ohio-based Synovus Financial Corp.

Chairman: Vincent Tese

CEO: Kent Ellert

Location: Weston

Ticker: FCB

2017 close: $50.08

2018 close: $33.58

12-month performance: -34 percent

52-week high: $62.95

52-week low: $31.52

2018 year-end market cap: $1.6 billion

FedNat Holding Company

What: Sunrise-based insurance underwriter

Chairman: Bruce Simberg

CEO: Michael Braun

Ticker: FNHC

2017 close: $16.23

2018 close: $19.92

12-month performance: 22 percent

52-week high: $26.76

52-week low: $14.06

2018 year-end market cap: $255 million

FedEx Corporation

What: Logistics company with large presence in South Florida

Chairman and CEO: Fred Smith

Ticker: FDX

2017 close: $246.96

2018 close: $161.33

12-month performance: -35 percent

52-week high: $274.66

52-week low: $150.94

2018 year-end market cap: $42.1 billion

Flanigan’s Enterprises, Inc.

What: Fort Lauderdale-based owner of Flanigan’s restaurant chain and liquor store operator

Chairman and CEO: Jimmy Flanigan

Ticker: BDL

2017 close: $23.34

2018 close: $25.87

12-month performance: 11 percent

52-week high: $29.00

52-week low: $20.60

2018 year-end market cap: $48 million

Forward Industries, Inc.

What: Pompano Beach-based electronic device case manufacturer

Chairman and CEO: Terry Wise

Ticker: FORD

2017 close: $1.23

2018 close: $1.30

12-month performance: 6 percent

52-week high: $4.45

52-week low: $1.20

2018 year-end market cap: $12 million

Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc.

What: Coral Gables-based food distributor

Chairman and CEO: Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh

Ticker: FDP

2017 close: $46.96

2018 close: $28.27

12-month performance: -40 percent

52-week high: $52.43

52-week low: $26.81

2018 year-end market cap: $1.4 billion

The Hackett Group, Inc.

What: Miami-based business and technology consulting company

Chairman and CEO: Ted Fernandez

Ticker: HCKT

2017 close: $15.39

2018 close: $16.01

12-month performance: 3 percent

52-week high: $22.84

52-week low: $15.03

2018 year-end market cap: $473 million

HEICO Corp.

What: Hollywood-based aerospace products and services provider. The Miami Herald previously profiled the company’s history in South Florida.

Chairman and CEO: Larry Mendelson

Ticker: HEI

2017 close: $60.24

2018 close: $77.41

12-month performance: 29 percent

52-week high: $94.12

52-week low: $58.36

2018 year-end market cap: $10.3 billion

Helios and Matheson Analytics, Inc.

What: Miami-based MoviePass controller and technology company holding group.

Chairman and CEO: Ted Farnsworth. The Miami Herald has covered Farnsworth’s past business attempts and lawsuits.

Ticker: HMNY

2017 close: $1,807

2018 close: $0.02

12-month performance: -99 percent

52-week high: $2,662.50

52-week low: $0.01

2018 year-end market cap: $27 million

Hemisphere Media Group, Inc.

What: Coral Gables-based Hispanic media distributor

Chairman: Peter Kern

CEO: Alan Sokol

2017 close: $11.55

2018 close: $12.14

12-month performance: 5 percent

52-week high: $14.25

52-week low: $10.50

2018 year-end market cap: $478 million

The Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund, Inc.

What: Miami Beach-based mutual fund

Chairman and CEO: Thomas Jay Herzfeld

Ticker: CUBA

2017 close: $6.77

2018 close: $4.90

12-month performance: -28 percent

52-week high: $7.54

52-week low: $4.79

2018 year-end market cap: n/a

HMG/Courtland Properties, Inc.

What: Coconut Grove-based real estate investment trust

Chairman and CEO: Maurice Wiener

Ticker: HMG

2017 close: $12.49

2018 close: $13.80

12-month performance: 10 percent

52-week high: $18.60

52-week low: $12.51

2018 year-end market cap: $14 million

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, Inc.

What: Miami-based financial services group

Chairman and CEO: Richard Lampen

Ticker: LTS

2017 close: $3.11

2018 close: $2.33

12-month performance: -25 percent

52-week high: $3.84

52-week low: $2.15

2018 year-end market cap: $462 million

Lennar Corporation

What: Miami-based home builder. The Miami Herald previously profiled the company’s history in Miami.

Chairman: Stuart Miller

CEO: Rick Beckwitt

Ticker: LEN

2017 close: $63.05

2018 close: $39.15

12-month performance: -38 percent

52-week high: $72.17

52-week low: $37.29

2018 year-end market cap: $12.9 billion

MasTec, Inc.

What: Coral Gables-based infrastructure systems and services provider

Chairman: Jorge Mas

CEO: Jose Mas

Ticker: MTZ

2017 close: $48.95

2018 close: $40.56

12-month performance: -17 percent

52-week high: $55.52

52-week low: $37.24

2018 year-end market cap: $3.2 billion

MEDNAX, Inc.

Description: Sunrise-based pediatric physician management service provider

Chairman: Cesar Alvarez

CEO: Roger Medel

Ticker: MD

2017 close: $54.74

2018 close: $33.00

12-month performance: -40 percent

52-week high: $63.04

52-week low: $31.68

2018 year-end market cap: $3 billion

Mercantil Bank Holding Corp.

What: Miami-based controller of Amerant bank

Chairman: Gustavo J. Vollmer Acedo

CEO: Millar Wilson

Ticker: AMTB

2017 close: n/a (reorganized 2018)

2018 close: $13.01

12-month performance: n/a

52-week high: n/a

52-week low: n/a

2018 year-end market cap: $553 million

Monaker Group, Inc.

What: Weston-based alternative lodging and travel platform

Chairman: Don Monaco

CEO: Bill Kerby

Ticker: MKGI

2017 close: $5.75

2018 close: $1.20

12-month performance: -79 percent

52-week high: $5.88

52-week low: $0.85

2018 year-end market cap: 11 million

National Beverage Corp.

What: Fort Lauderdale-based beverage distributor

Chairman and CEO: Nick Caporella

Ticker: FIZZ

2017 close: $94.34

2018 close: $71.77

12-month performance: -24 percent

52-week high: $127.32

52-week low: $70.57

2018 year-end market cap: $3.3 billion

Net Element, Inc.

What: Miami-based mobile commerce platform

Chairman and CEO: Oleg Firer

Ticker: NETE

2017 close: $11.13

2018 close: $5.72

12-month performance: -49 percent

52-week high: $15.50

52-week low: $3.75

2018 year-end market cap: $22 million

NextEra Energy, Inc.

What: Juno Beach-based parent company of FPL; power plant operator

Chairman and CEO: Jim Robo

Ticker: NEE

2017 close: $152.07

2018 close: $173.82

12-month performance: 14 percent

52-week high: $184.20

52-week low: $145.10

2018 year-end market cap: $81.1 billion

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

What: Miami-based cruise line, parent of Regent, Oceana and Norwegian

Chairman: Russell Galbut

CEO: Frank del Rio

Ticker: NCLH

2017 close: $53.25

2018 close: $42.39

12-month performance: -20 percent

52-week high: $61.18

52-week low: $39.36

2018 year-end market cap: $9.3 billion

NV5 Global, Inc.

What: Hollywood-based technical and engineering consulting service provider

Chairman and CEO: Dickerson Wright

Ticker: NVEE

2017 close: $54.15

2018 close: $60.55

12-month performance: 12 percent

52-week high: $96.70

52-week low: $40.00

2018 year-end market cap: $756 million

Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. (d/b/a Star brite)

What: Fort Lauderdale-based boat appearance and maintenance products provider

Chairman and CEO: Peter Dornau

Ticker: OBCI

2017 close: $4.27

2018 close: $3.28

12-month performance: -19 percent

52-week high: $4.78

52-week low: $3.04

2018 year-end market cap: $31 million

OPKO Health, Inc.

What: Miami-based drugs, vaccines and diagnostic products developer

Chairman and CEO: Phillip Frost

Ticker: OPK

2017 close: $4.90

2018 close: $3.01

12-month performance: -39 percent

52-week high: $6.40

52-week low: $2.34

2018 year-end market cap: $1.8 billion

Optimum Bank Holdings, Inc.

What: Fort Lauderdale-based holding company for Optimum Bank

Chairman: Moishe Gubin

CEO: Tim Terry

Ticker: OPHC

2017 close: $4.88

2018 close: $3.01

12-month performance: -38 percent

52-week high: $7.18

52-week low: $2.70

2018 year-end market cap: $5 million

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

What: World’s second-largest cruise company, based in Miami

Chairman and CEO: Richard Fain

Ticker: RCL

2017 close: $116.60

2018 close: $97.79

12-moth performance: -16 percent

52-week high: $135.65

52-week low: $89.48

2018 year-end market cap: $20.4 billion

Ryder System, Inc.

What: Miami-based trucking and logistics provider

Chairman and CEO: Robert Sanchez

Ticker: R

2017 close: $81.65

2018 close: $48.15

12-month performance: -41 percent

52-week high: $90.26

52-week low: $44.80

2018 year-end market cap: $2.6 billion

SEACOR Holdings, Inc.

What: Fort Lauderdale-based transportation and logistics provider and risk management consultancy

Chairman and CEO: Charles Fabrikant

Ticker: CKH

2017 close: $46.22

2018 close: $37.00

12-month performance: -20 percent

52-week high: $59.00

52-week low: $34.63

2018 year-end market cap: $675 million

Spirit Airlines, Inc.

What: Miramar-based airline

Chairman: Mac Gardner

CEO: Bob Fornaro

Ticker: SAVE

2017 close: $44.85

2018 close: $57.92

12-month performance: 29 percent

52-week high: $65.35

52-week low: $34.36

2018 year-end market cap: $4 billion

The Ultimate Software Group, Inc.

What: Weston-based software provider

Chairman and CEO: Scott Scherr

Ticker: ULTI

2017 close: $218.23

2018 close: $244.87

12-month performance: 12 percent

52-week high: $332.44

52-week low: $207.02

2018 year-end market cap: $8 billion

Universal Insurance Holdings, Inc.

What: Fort Lauderdale-based holding company for Universal Property insurance company

Chairman and CEO: Sean Downes

Ticker: UVE

2017 close: $26.81

2018 close: $37.92

12-month performance: 41 percent

52-week high: $50.50

52-week low: $26.75

2018 year-end market cap: $1.3 billion

United Parcel Service, Inc.

What: Logistics company with large presence in South Florida

Chairman and CEO: David Abney

Ticker: UPS

2017 close: $115.39

2018 close: $97.53

12-month performance: -15 percent

52-week high: $135.53

52-week low: $89.89

2018 year-end market cap: $83.8 billion

Vector Group Ltd.

What: Miami-based tobacco product manufacturer and distributor; real estate services provider. The Miami Herald has previously profiled the group.

Chairman: Ben Lebow

CEO: Howard Lorber

Ticker: VGR

2017 close: $19.19

2018 close: $9.73

12-month performance: -49 perent

52-week high: $21.52

52-week low: $9.21

2018 year-end market cap: $1.4 billion

Veru, Inc.

What: Miami-based drugs and devices provider in men’s and women’s health and oncology

Chairman and CEO: Mitchell Steiner

Ticker: VERU

2017 close: $1.14

2018 close: $1.40

12-month performance: 23 percent

52-week high: $2.37

52-week low: $1.14

2018 year-end market cap: $88 million

Watsco, Inc.

What: Coconut Grove-based HVAC systems and parts provider

Chairman and CEO: Albert Nahmad

Ticker: WSO

2017 close: $164.73

2018 close: $139.14

12-month performance: -16 percent

52-week high: $192.94

52-week low: $131.88

2018 year-end market cap: $5.2 billion

Wells Fargo & Co.

What: Bank with large presence in South Florida

Chairwoman: Elizabeth Duke

CEO: Timothy Sloan

Ticker: WFC

2017 close: $58.95

2018 close: $46.08

12-month performance: -22 percent

52-week high: $66.31

52-week low: $43.02

2018 year-end market cap: $217 billion

World Fuel Services Corp.

What: Miami-based aviation and marine fuel marketer

Chairman and CEO: Michael Kasbar

Ticker: INT

2017 close: $27.86

2018 close: $21.41

12-month performance: -23 percent

52-week high: $33.17

52-week low: $19.78

2018 year-end market cap: $1.4 billion

THE BIG PICTURE

S&P 500 12-month performance: -6.2 percent

Dow Jones Industrial Average 12-month performance: – 5.6 percent

Average South Florida-based publicly traded company performance (unweighted): -17 percent