Today, The Sun introduces the Bloomberg Maryland Index, designed to help readers gauge the stock performance of 100 publicly traded companies with headquarters in the state.
Each Monday, when the index appears, readers will be able to see how companies here performed during the prior week and how they stack up against the Standard & Poor's 500, which appears directly below the Bloomberg Maryland Index on this page.
So far, the index is red hot.
As of Friday it was up nearly 32 percent since the beginning of the year, compared with a 27 percent increase for the S&P; 500 and a 25 percent rise for the Dow Jones industrial average.
The Bloomberg Maryland Index was developed with a base of 100 as of Dec. 30. Bloomberg Financial Markets, the New York-based information and media company, will provide the data each week.
The Bloomberg Maryland Index is a price-weighted index derived by totaling the current prices of the stock and dividing the sum by a divisor that ensures that the historical series of numbers is comparable over time, even if stocks split or companies enter or drop out of the list.
Kevin Artigliere, a financial analyst with Bloomberg, said the index gives local investors a good "barometer" with which to measure the performance of companies in the state.
"The health of those companies is important because it represents employment and income for the state," said Paul Lande, an independent economist.
What the index won't do, however, is precisely measure the performance of Maryland's economy.
Many companies in the index, such as Alex. Brown Inc., Black & Decker Corp., and Geico Corp., are affected by broader issues affecting the national market. Thus, a company could be doing poorly while the economy is thriving, and vice versa.