Etch A Sketch maker sees stock soar

Shares of Ohio Art Co. jump on just a few trades after a Romney aide makes an unfortunate gaffe.

By Kim Peterson Mar 22, 2012 4:29PM
Mitt Romney's least favorite toy was seeing some investor love Thursday.

Ohio Art Co. (OART), the company that makes the Etch A Sketch drawing toy, saw shares jump 141% Thursday after a gaffe by an aide to the Republican presidential candidate. Shares were at $9.65 in afternoon trading.

At one point, shares hit $12.50 in the biggest intraday rise since at least 1980, Bloomberg reported.

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The toy, which was first made in 1960, was suddenly very popular with rival campaigns after one of Romney's senior advisors mentioned it in the context of shifting into a general election campaign. "It's almost like an Etch A Sketch," said Eric Fehrnstrom in an interview on CNN."You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again."

That did nothing for Romney, who has been trying to convince Republicans that he is a solid conservative who doesn't flip-flop for political gain.License: Rights Managed: 2 years
Image File Name: EtchASketch_032212_RM_136

Romney's rivals, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, brought Etch A Sketch toys to campaign events Wednesday. Santorum blasted Romney as the "Etch A Sketch candidate." Santorum's aides were even passing out mini Etch A Sketch toys in a parking lot.

Ouch.

It didn't take much to set Ohio Art Co. shares on fire Thursday. The gain came after only three trades for a total of 800 shares, Bloomberg reported.

Ohio Art Co. doesn't have many shareholders and rarely trades on the over-the-counter market, reports Floyd Norris at The New York Times. A sale of 500 shares at $12.50 came as soon as the market opened. Up until Thursday, every trade this year was at between $4 to $4.25 a share.

Even Fehrnstrom noticed the stock price gain Thursday. "Etch A Sketch stock is up?" he joked on Twitter. "Psst, I'll mention Mr. Potato Head next. Buy Hasbro."