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Ohio Art profit spurs interest in toy firm's shares


CTY etch26p D -- A detailed drawing of a pair of deer by Etch-a-Sketch artist Tim George at COSI, Monday, 12/26/05. The Blade/Andy Morrison

The Blade/Andy Morrison
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BRYAN - It's stock traded just five times in the combined months of June and July and 14 times from August through October.

But after recently posting its second consecutive quarterly profit - a $1.4 million profit that marks a 433 percent increase over the same period a year ago - some investors are showing signs of interest once more in the Ohio Art Co.

Shares of the Williams County toymaker, which trade on the over-the-counter pink sheets, has risen in the past two weeks from about $7 to nearly $10, a two days after its quarterly profit report was released. Yesterday, the stock did not trade, but it held steady at $9.05 a share.

From June through October, trading volume was limited to a few hundred shares, but last week 7,300; 6,200, and 8,400 shares changed hands over four trading days.

"The movement you're seeing is the result of a stock that is very thinly traded," David Leibowitz, managing director of Burnham Securities Inc., said. "As a consequence, it doesn't take much trading activity to get the shares to move disproportionately."

But the profits of $26,000 and $1.4 million that Ohio Art has reported in its second and third quarters, respectively, plus some important licensing deals it signed this summer with Nickelodeon, have prompted a few investors to start following the company again, Mr. Leibowitz said.

"The fourth quarter is clearly the make or break period for them," he said. "If the positive results of the past two quarters can continue in the fourth quarter, one suspects there'll be further heightened interest in the company."

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