Business Edge for Wednesday March 7 2001


The latest:
CALLAWAY STOCK SEEKS DAYS OF YORE: And it's not far off. As of this writing, Callaway Golf stock is trading just under $27 per share. Its 52-week high was $27.18, which it hit just a few hours before this writing.
That's a far cry from the 52-week low of $11.88, which came last July 27.
Callaway, which some leisure-segment analysts see as the only reasonable play in golf, is getting close to the upper-20s, lower-30s range at which it traded in 1997 and part of 1998, before the golf industry slump and the tech craze made Wall Street fall out of love with golf.
Back in those halcyon days, a Senior PGA Tour player who shall remain nameless was said to be in the habit of taking frequent gains by buying Callaway stock in the upper 20s and dumping at 32. Not exactly day trading, but lucrative anyway.
'There are a lot of investors who are out of the tech market now, and they're looking for a company with solid fundamentals to be a home for their investments,' said a Callaway spokesperson.
Consensus earnings estimates from eight Wall Street analysts have Callaway on track to earn 42 cents per share for the first quarter of 2001 and 71 cents per share for the second quarter. Look for Callaway first-quarter numbers the week of April 26, second quarter the week of July 26.
FINDING THEM A GOOD HOME: The U.S. Golf Association uses about 26,000 practice balls at its 13 national championships, most of which are donated by Titleist. Now those balls will have a second life, thanks to the USGA's 'For The Good of the Game' program. The USGA is donating the balls to 30 introductory golf programs that are supported by USGA Foundation grants.
This seems to be a situation in which re-gifting is not just OK, but laudable.
IMPORTS UP: More numbers are in from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Imports of golf equipment were $728.3 million in 2000, up nearly 18 percent from the $617.7 million brought in during 1999. Golf was the second-biggest import category in 2000; gym and exercise gear was the biggest at nearly $753 million.
Among the largest single-product-type increases in 2000 were golf gloves, whose imports rose 27.2 percent last year.