Minnesota Fortune 500 companies grab big returns in 2014

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Minnesota's biggest companies had a big 2014 and many are expecting a big 2015 as well.

The Pioneer Press reports that most Fortune 500 corporations in Minnesota saw double-digit stock gains. The newspaper reports those companies showed strength in many sectors ranging from medical to retail to financial to manufacturing.

Here is how shares of 10 of Minnesota's biggest companies fared in 2014:

  1. 3M +17%
  2. UnitedHealth Group +34%
  3. U.S. Bancorp +11%
  4. Medtronic +26%
  5. Target +20%
  6. General Mills +7%
  7. Ecolab +0.2%
  8. Ameriprise Financial +15%
  9. St. Jude Medical +5%
  10. Xcel Energy +29%

In all, Minnesota is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies, but the Pioneer Press notes that not all of them scored gains last year.

Shares for commodity companies were off – the plunge in oil prices hurt oil companies and fertilizer-maker Mosaic, was down three percent for the year.

Also shares of Best Buy were off about two percent for the year. Prices climbed back after their plunge last January.

But for the most part, the major corporations in Minnesota had a good 2014; and according to a panel of financial experts that sat down for an investors roundtable this week with the Star Tribune, more big things could be in store for 2015.

The panel included:

  • Russell Swansen, chief investment officer; Thrivent
  • Carol Schleif, regional chief investment officer; Abbot Downing
  • Elizabeth Lilly, portfolio manager; GAMCO Investors
  • Erica Bergsland, director of research and trading; Advantus Capital Management
  • David Joy, chief market strategist; Ameriprise Financial
  • Biff Robillard, president and co-founder; Bannerstone Capital Management
  • Craig Johnson, senior technical research analyst; Piper Jaffray
  • Doug Ramsey, chief investment officer; the Leuthold Group

The group says the U.S. economy and stock market is standing out for its strength. They note it's expected to draw investors from around the world in 2015.

They are predicting 7.4 percent growth in the S&P 500 this year.

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