Washington stocks outperform the S&P 500, led by Expedia

Jun 25, 2012

If you’ve been following the gloomy economic news, you might be surprised that lots of Washington stocks have been doing quite well this year.

Top of the pack so far this year? Expedia, the travel web site company based in Bellevue. Expedia stock has soared 66 percent so far this year.

What’s going on? Dan Su is an analyst with Morningstar who covers Expedia. She says the company has been overhauling its web sites to make them more user-friendly and to better compete with rival Priceline.

"With the upgrades and investment over the past several years, they’re probably at the same level if not slightly better than Priceline," Su said.

Su says investors are also excited that Expedia is going after a bigger chunk of international business, which she says is more profitable. Expedia is the top performer out of Washington’s 25 biggest publicly traded companies.

Runner up so far this year is Seattle Genetics. Shares in the biotech company have climbed about50 percent based on a lot of excitement about its new cancer drug, Adcetris. It’s used to treat two types of lymphoma, but Morningstar analyst Lauren Migliore says investors hope it can be applied to other cancers. She says Seattle Genetics has been busy signing deals with big drugmakers.

"They have a dozen deals in the works and the potential future milestones if all these deals were to pan out is as much as $3 billion," Migliore said.

Seattle bellwethers like Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft have all done way better than the S&P 500 Index. In fact, 15 out of Washington’s 25 biggest companies have outperformed the index. Of course, not all are doing so well. Boeing stock is down about two percent this year.