IL’s local stock roundup

1. Churchill Downs (ticker: CHDN): The Louisville-based gaming and entertainment firm just released its annual financials, as well as the financials for its last quarter of 2014, and the news should surely make CHDN stock owners feel like they belong in the winner’s circle.

The company reported record earnings both for the year and the quarter, driven by their racing, casino and TwinSpires.com businesses. CHDN had sales of $812.9 million in 2014, up 4 percent over 2013; 4Q 2014 earnings were $168.3 million, also up 4 percent. Earnings came in at $202.5 million for the year, up 15 percent, and $28.5 million for 4Q 2014, up 47 percent.

Fourth quarter sales were goosed by the acquisition of Big Fish Games. (Big Fish, IL just reported, also recently had a security breach.)

In any case, CHDN investors have been riding the rail and besting larger markets, at least for some time. Over the past six months, CHDN is up 15 percent — far better than the Standard & Poor’s 500, which has returned a comparatively gelded 5.3 percent.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 3.04.21 PMCHDN’s also up by quite a bit over the past three-month period, and again the past month.

Over five years this sprint turns into a marathon, but CHDN still extends its lead over the larger index, up 200.5 percent, while the index is way back with a 90.6 percent gain.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 3.07.39 PMFor all that, its price-to-earnings ratio is pretty high at 34.3, meaning CHDN is priced like a growth stock, albeit one that pays a modest annual dividend of 0.93 percent.

2. CafePress (ticker: PRSS): At this rate, CafePress shareholders could probably sue the company for whiplash. The stock has been extremely volatile, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Over the past 52 weeks it has bottomed at just under $2 per share, and peaked at $6.15. It looked down for the count but then had a recent rocket ride up. Now it’s down again. At least for one day.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, CafePress released its earnings for 2014 and 4Q 2014. For 4Q 2014, its sales came in at $83.3 million, a drop from the prior year’s $88.5 million. For the year, it reported sales of $229.5 million, down about $10 million from the year before.

Wall Street didn’t love the news, dinging PRSS 8.6 percent on Feb. 26. PRSS is still up 43.8 percent for 2015, though, meaning that if you got into this stock when it was at its near-bottom, you’re still sitting pretty.

Following up on Funtown and Will Russell

Following news of Funtown Mountain receiving low-interest loans from the state Tourism Development Finance Authority, we checked in with Michael Mangeot, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism, to see what they see in the venture.

“We believe the attraction is important to the tourism industry in the Cave City area and the region, and want to see it re-opened,” he says. “We hope that Funtown Mountain will be an economic catalyst in helping to jumpstart tourism activity in the region. Mr. Russell and his team put together a very comprehensive and impressive presentation, and the Authority members felt the project was a perfect fit for the loan program.”

He concluded that approving the loan wasn’t a difficult decision.

From a recent trip to Chicago | Let's Duet Facebook

From a recent trip to Chicago | Let’s Duet Facebook

And in other Will Russell news, if you follow any of Russell’s 12 — yes, 12 — Facebook accounts, you may have noticed that over the course of the past few months, he’s spent a lot of time “mantiquing” (antiquing by himself) and antiquing with Lorna-Mae Ward.

And their purchases have been … unusual.

Turns out Ward and Russell will be opening a booth at the Yesternook Vintage Store on March 3. The store will be called “Let’s Duet.”

Yesternook is located at 1041 Goss Avenue.