Biotech Amylin Pharmaceuticals has had wild ups and downs. It is now working on drugs for diabetes and obesity. On Friday, the stock closed at $14.60. But in 1998, investors feared Amylin was headed for the ash can. The stock got below 50 cents. By 2007 it was above $53 — only to fall back again.
Some local tech stocks have good but not great records. Stock of semiconductor-equipment maker Cymer has moved up fairly well since its 1996 public offering. Medical-device maker DexCom has moved up modestly since its $10 offering in 2005.
Some techs and biotechs have done very well. Carlsbad’s Life Technologies, a maker of biotech tools, was created out of a merger in late 2008 and was trading then at $22. Friday it closed at $55.25. ResMed, maker of sleep apnea equipment, rose from 75 cents in 1995 to Friday’s $32.99. Wireless and satellite communications systems maker ViaSat rose from $4.50 in 1996 to $42.70 Friday.
Qualcomm, San Diego’s largest company, has rewarded shareholders well. The company recently made an acquisition broadening its telecom reach. “The most exciting new opportunity for Qualcomm may come from new inroads into the personal computer and tablet markets,” says Brian Colello of Morningstar. Then there’s WD-40, which for four decades sold only its ubiquitous lubricant and later branched out to a few related products. Its price has slowly doubled in the past seven years. For ethical reasons, I can’t buy San Diego stocks. But if I could, I would buy WD-40, which closed Friday at $37.80. I don’t like these wild ups and downs of the techs and biotechs. And WD-40 is not a tech. ■