DEFINITION of 'Yonder 40 Index - Yonder 40'

The Yonder 40 was a list of 40 publicly traded companies chosen for their ties to rural areas. It was designed to reflect the economies of non-urban areas, and included companies involved in agriculture and raising livestock, in addition to heavier industries such as construction. The index was not widely followed.

BREAKING DOWN 'Yonder 40 Index - Yonder 40'

The stocks included in the Yonder 40 Index were selected in 2007 by Jim Branscome, a former managing director at Standard and Poor, and John Borden, a former director of investor relations and JP Morgan Chase. They felt the major indexes were too focused on companies operating in urban environments, and that the health of urban companies didn't properly take into account how rural Americans were faring.

Companies Included in the Yonder 40 Index

Despite the decidedly outside-the-big-city intent, the original incarnation of the index covered several popular firms, such as ConAgra and Wal-Mart. Another choice that may seem out of place was Berkshire Hathaway, but the index founders reasoned that in addition to insurance, the company also included smaller rural-based companies such as Fruit of the Loom and Dairy Queen.

Some of the other more recognizable company names included:

  • Deere and Company
  • Cabela's
  • Hormel Foods
  • International Speedway (includes NASCAR tracks at Daytona and Talladega)
  • Tyson Foods
  • Tractor Supply
  • Monsanto
  • Mohawk
  • Family Dollar
  • Bassett Furniture
  • Direct TV

According to the Yonder 40 website, "None of the Yonder 40 businesses is strictly rural. Every company on this list depends on urban America. Cities are covered up these days with Wal-Marts, after all. But each of the firms in the Yonder 40 has strong roots in rural America. They are small town banks, hog raisers, Spam-makers, the Grand Ole Opry, NASCAR tracks, coal miners, farmers, hunters, citrus growers and even our brothers and sisters in the rural press."

As the website, The Rural Populist, pointed out, the Yonder 40 may not have been the best indicator of how rural companies were faring. For example, if Walmart stock, which was in the index, was up, that most likely meant mom-and-pop stores were suffering. An increase in the stock of Hormel most likely signaled an increase in sales, which is often triggered by a reduction in prices. This was good news for consumers, but probably not for the farmers providing the livestock to Hormel.

As of 2018, the Yonder 40 does not appear on any of the more well-known lists of stock indexes.

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