A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Research in Motion
A brief chronology of analysts’ recommendations on RIM:
Buy. Strong buy. Very strong buy. Super strong once-in-a-lifetime buy. Lukewarm buy. Hold. Sell. Strong sell. Super strong sell. Super duper strong conviction sell. Get the hell out now if you know what’s good for you sell. Sell. No wait, hold. I mean buy. Yeah, that’s it, buy.
Multiple choice quiz! M23 refers to:
a) A space on a Bingo board, as in, “under the M, 23”;
b) Britain’s security service;
c) A rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that captured the city of Goma, about 200 km northeast of Banro’s Twangiza gold mine.
Answer: c. Banro says its operations haven’t been affected but that “media attention has clearly created concern amongst investors and impacted negatively on the share price.” You can say that again.
Dear Hewlett-Packard Shareholder:
By now most of you are aware of the $8.8-billion writedown your company took on Autonomy Corp. This charge, combined with sluggish PC sales and a plunging share price, have prompted your board to refocus HP’s core mission. Starting Monday, we will be exiting the technology marketplace and relaunching the company as a chain of soft serve ice cream shops under the HP Frozen Treats banner. Free sprinkles for the first 100 customers!
Scholastic’s educational and children’s books help kids get ahead in school. Too bad its stock just got an F. With school boards delaying spending decisions because of worries about potential U.S. federal budget cuts, the company slashed its earnings guidance for the year ending May 31 to just $1.40 to $1.60 a share, down from a previous forecast of $2.20 to $2.40 a share. Investors are standing in the corner and wearing a dunce cap.
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but in Zale’s case, they’re an investor’s worst enemy. With jewellery sales falling sharply during the recession and many cash-strapped consumers in no position to splurge on expensive baubles, Zale posted a worse-than-expected loss of $28.3-million in its fiscal first quarter. Shares of the company, which operates Zales and Gordon’s in the U.S. and People’s and Mappins in Canada, have lost their sparkle.