A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Dow Jones industrial average
Multiple choice quiz.
The Dow’s record high this week signals that:
a) widespread prosperity is coming soon to the United States;
b) stocks have entered a powerful new bull market that will last at least another 100 years;
c) the media will never miss a chance to attach great significance to a symbolic number, particularly on a slow news day.
Everyone needs electricity. So investing in a power producer has got to be one of the safest bets around, right? Uh, tell that to an Atlantic Power shareholder. The company, which operates generating facilities in Canada and the United States, slashed its dividend by 65 per cent, causing the stock to plunge. You mean that 11-per-cent yield was too good to be true? Shocking.
What’s black and white and read all over?
- A newspaper.
What’s black and blue?
- Newspaper operator Torstar’s stock.
The publisher of the flagship Toronto Star and more than 100 other papers said fourth-quarter profit sank by about 63 per cent, hurt by a soft print advertising market and a writedown on its Workopolis job search site. Extra! Extra! Newspapers are hurting! Read all about it!
Businesses that have seen better days:
1) stagecoach manufacturers;
2) chimney sweeps;
3) department stores.
J.C. Penney boss Ron Johnson had hoped to revive the ailing retailer by opening branded boutiques and cutting back on promotions, but judging by the 25-per-cent skid in sales last year, shoppers weren’t impressed. With the stock in the discount bin, Mr. Johnson’s days as CEO could be numbered.
Hot Topic Inc.
Warning to parents:
Don’t visit teen apparel retailer Hot Topic’s website, unless you enjoy the sight of young people covered in tattoos and wearing T-shirts that say “Beer me please” and “Join the dark side.” Well, at least Hot Topic investors seem to approve: Shares of the company soared after it agreed to be bought by private equity firm Sycamore partners for $600-million. Shareholders are splurging on a new nose ring.