As stocks fluctuate, veterinary company holds steady


Los Angeles -- Stocks were still volatile Oct. 3 after both the U.S. Senate and House approval of a $700 billion economic bailout package.

Los Angeles, Calif.

-- Stocks were still volatile Oct. 3 after both the U.S. House and Senate's approval of a $700 billion economic bailout package, but what does that mean for the veterinary profession?

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The House voted down the bailout package Sept. 29, causing the biggest single-day dive in stock market history.

But how, if at all, will a bailout and the economic stressors facing the nation affect the veterinary profession, which traditionally weathers most economic storms?

The full effect of the economic crisis may not be realized for some time, but if the volatility of the large, publicly traded veterinary hospital chain VCA Animal Hospitals is an indicator, veterinary medicine may once again come out on top as a recession-proof profession.

Before the Sept. 29 market plunge, VCA's stock closed at $31.46 Sept. 26 with a volume of 430,869 for the day. Its value fell as low as $29.17 at one point Sept. 26, opening at $31.02 and closing at $30.92 after a volume of 670,346 for the day. The day after the crash showed a bit more activity as traders awaited a reaction from the previous day's uncertainty. VCA stocks opened Sept. 30 at $28.97 and closed at $29.47 with a trading volume of 1,152,076.

But on Oct. 2, after the Senate vote, the value of VCA's stock had again dropped to $27.85 after a previous day close of $28.63 and a volume of 587,641. Nasdaq shows the company still offering 84,704,000 shares with a total company market value of $2.4 billion.

The 52-week high price of VCA stock is $46.23, and the low is $26.55, according to Nasdaq archives.

The financial crunch isn't just a headline of the last week, though. Problems have been brewing for months in money markets, but VCA managed to keep its coffers on an even keel. Second-quarter revenue was up 11.4 percent, according to the company, with total revenue of $334.4 million reported for the quarter. The group also acquired 15 new hospitals during that quarter, bringing its total to 36 new additions for the year.

To stay up to date on the financial crisis' effect on the veterinary profession, keep checking back with, and watch for a series of stories on the economy in the November issue of DVM Newsmagazine.

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