Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Local Company Named Best Philadelphia-area Stock for 2009

As our family’s financial planner, I manage our personal portfolio and am always exploring various ways to diversify our holdings and follow Wall Street daily. Although the nation’s economic times have caused me to lean towards international stocks of late, I am equally interested in following local Philadelphia area based companies.

In the review of 2009 US stock markets last week, there is indication that technology stocks are on the rebound and that banking industry stocks underperforming (no surprise on that one). Was there a similar pattern in the Philadelphia area market? This morning, I was thrilled to read online that the Philadelphia region has named Unisys Corp. as the biggest gainer in 2009!

The biggest gainer came as a surprise to me. It was Unisys Corp. of Blue Bell. (Unisys has a very large office location on Swedesford Road in Tredyffrin). Its shares rose 353.7 percent in 2009, a reflection of continuing cost-cutting at the computer-services company and its return to profitability in the second quarter after four years of losses.

As a means of full disclosure . . . the reason for my excitement in this announcement? My husband Jeff has worked for Unisys for 30+ years, and the recent economic climate has terminated in major layoffs of many employees, decrease of benefits and increase of employee costs, etc. So to have some good news on the home front, well, that’s just plain good news!

The third-best performer in the Philadelphia area was Safeguard Scientifics Inc., the Wayne company that invests in and manages software and life-science companies. Its shares rose 149 percent last year.

Maybe we are starting to turn the corner on the economic front (at least locally) . . . here’s hoping it’s true!

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