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Tampa-St. Pete stocks plummet in Q1

Margie Manning



Bloomin’ Brands, the Tampa company that owns and operates Outback Steakhouse and other casual dining brands, took a beating in the stock market during the first quarter of 2020, as restaurants nationwide faced service restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.

The stock price of Bloomin’ (Nasdaq: BLMN) dropped 67.8 percent from the market open on Jan. 2 to the market close March 31.

It was the steepest decline in stock price for large publicly traded companies headquartered in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area for Q1 2020. Welbilt (NYSE: WBT), a commercial food equipment manufacturer in New Port Richey, was not far behind, however, with a 67.3 percent drop in price.

Both companies pulled back their financial guidance in mid-March.

Concerns about the impact of coronavirus on the economy drove down stock prices across the board. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23 percent in Q1, while the S&P fell 20 percent. The market also got off to a rough start for the second quarter of 2020, with the Dow falling more than 900 points as of mid-day Wednesday.

Seventeen of the 18 local public companies with a market capitalization topping $100 million had stock price declines during the first three months of 2020.


The only local company with a stock price increase in Q1 2020 was Benefytt Technologies (Nasdaq: BYFT), formerly Health Insurance Innovations. The company, which distributes health insurance policies, adopted a new name and ticker symbol on March 6, as it shifted its focus to Medicare-related business. Benefytt Technologies’ stock was up 14.8 percent in Q1.

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