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First-half 2008 report card: Nokian is the BIG winner; Titan also shines

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Stock prices for six of 18 publicly traded tire manufacturers increased in the first half of 2008. Nokian Tyres plc was the big winner, up almost 37% from Dec. 31, 2007, to June 30, 2008.

Four other overseas stocks, all trading for under $1.00, also showed increases over the last six months.

Titan International Inc. was the only one of the three major United States-based tire manufacturers to increase its stock price. While Titan was up 13.9%, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. were down 52.7% and 36.8%, respectively.

Since June 29, 2007, both Cooper and Goodyear have experienced even greater decreases. Cooper's stock price has dropped 71.6% in the last year, from $27.62 to $7.84, while Goodyear's has dropped 48.7%, from $34.76 to $17.83.

Nexen Tire Corp. announced a 10-for-1 stock split on March 14, 2008. Entering 2008, Nexen's stock was trading at $43.19. Six months later, it is trading at $2.66.

Excluding Nexen, here are the gains and losses in the first six months (companies are listed alphabetically):

* Bridgestone Corp., down 13.3% (from $17.71 to $15.35);

* Continental AG, down 21.1% (from $129.37 to $102.01);

* Cooper, down 52.7% (from $16.58 to $7.84);

* Federal Tire Corp., up 8% (from $.50 to $.54);

* Goodyear, down 36.8% (from $28.22 to $17.83);

* Groupe Michelin, down 38.5% (from $116.79 to $71.85);

* Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., down 27.2% (from $19.11 to $13.90);

* Kenda Rubber Industrial Corp. Ltd., up 16.6% (from $.48 to $.56);

* Kumho Tire Co., down 42.8% (from $14.94 to $8.54);

* Nankang Rubber Tire Corp. Ltd., up 8.3% (from $.84 to $.91);

* Nokian Tyres, up 36.9% (from $35.06 to $48.01);

* Pirelli & Cie SpA, down 36.1% (from $1.08 to $.69);

* Stamford Tyres International Pte Ltd., up 4.3% (from $.23 to $.24);

* Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., down 15.3% (from $8.90 to $7.54);

* Titan International, up 13.9% (from $31.26 to $35.62);

* Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., down 11.8%% (from $3.71 to $3.27);

* Yokohama Rubber Co., down 21.9% (from $6.07 to $4.74).

Exchange rates versus the United States dollar from Dec. 31, 2007, to June 30, 2008, are as follows:

1. Euro: .6794 to .6352.

2. Taiwanese dollar: 32.52 to 30.349.

3. Won: 936.53 to 1046.46.

4. Yen: 112.35 to 106.18.

5. Dollar (Singapore): 1.4467 to 1.3605.

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