There has never been a year like the one that produced the numbers and rankings in this year’s Oklahoma Inc.
"We were struck by a meteor last September,” JPMorgan Chase economist Jim Glassman said recently in Oklahoma City. "It did huge damage to the U.S. economy. But we’re rapidly recovering from this at least on the financial side.”
Statistics for each of the state’s publicly traded companies comprising the Oklahoma Inc. rankings include the worst of times and the best of times. For most companies, the numbers include the year that began July 1, 2008 and ended June 30, 2009.
Consider what happened during that period: The subprime mortgage market melted as overstressed consumers and overenthusiastic brokers realized that housing prices in overheated markets can indeed go down. A plethora of AAA-rated, but risky packages of debt undermined several Wall Street financial giants and the stock market collapsed.
The steep decline of crude oil and natural gas prices dealt blows to Oklahoma’s public companies, which are heavily in energy. Some state companies slid into bankruptcy.
On July 11, oil peaked at $147 a barrel, an unprecedented move that pushed Tulsa energy business SemGroup LP, which had bet its bankroll on lower prices, into bankruptcy. Two days later, the U.S. Treasury Department proposed a bailout for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the first of many financial interventions considered and undertaken.
By Sept. 29, when the U.S. House rejected the first version of a $700 billion financial bailout, the Dow Jones Industrials suffered its biggest point loss ever. By March 9, the Dow hit a 12-year low. Since that time, major stock indexes have gained more than 50 percent.
Traders bailed. Buy-and-hold became a high-risk proposition that many long-term investors rejected. Few have had time to catch their breath. But this seems like an apt time to take a look back.
The Oklahoma Inc. rankings consider three metrics for each of the corporations. The companies are ranked from one to 44 by each measure, and the company that achieves the best overall ranking collects the top spot.