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Trib 30 index of Pittsburgh-area stocks rises again, reaches high

| Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, 10:23 p.m.

Pittsburgh-area stocks rebounded in February, led by three that hit 52-week highs on Friday.

Natural gas producer EQT Corp., paint giant PPG Industries Inc. and instruments and laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific were joined by five others that set yearly highs in February.

Their performance highlighted a turnaround for the Trib 30 stock index, which set an all-time high of 443.3 at the close of trading on Friday, and rose for the third time in the past four months as the nation's economic outlook and stock markets nationally improved.

The index of local stocks also set a record in December, then fell in January when a national unemployment report cast doubt on the strength of the economy.

A stock market correction of about 5 percent that followed put the index at 420.4 at the end of January. Then a better jobs report on Feb. 7 started a comeback that led to 22 local stocks rising for the month.

The government jobs report for January said employers added 113,000 jobs that month, an improvement on December's gain of only 74,000, the worst report in two years. But most economists tied weakness to winter weather.

The Trib 30 is an equal-weighted index of stocks of companies headquartered or dominant in Western Pennsylvania. An investor who divided $100,000 equally among the 30 stocks on Dec. 31, 1999, had a portfolio worth $443,300 at the end of the month.

Comparing the Trib 30's 5.4 percent gain for the month, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 3.97 percent in February, closing at 16,321.76, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index closing at 1,859.45, its second all-time closing high in a row, up 4.3 percent. The Nasdaq composite index was up 4.98 percent, closing at 4,308.12.

Others on the Trib 30 list that hit a high during the month were generic drug maker Mylan Inc., which rose 22 percent; gas utility NiSource; cable and entertainment giant Comcast Corp.; energy producer Dominion Resources; and rail equipment supplier Wabtec.

One stock hit a new low: FirstEnergy Corp., Pennsylvania's largest electric utility.

Other strong Trib 30 gainers in February were L.B. Foster, American Eagle Outfitters and Ansys.

John D. Oravecz is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7882 or joravecz@tribweb.com.

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