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stars and dogs

A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week.


Reasons to welcome a sub-69-cent (U.S.) dollar:

1) You prefer to spend your March break somewhere cold and overcast as opposed to warm and sunny;

2) You enjoy paying 50 per cent more for things in the United States;

3) You’ve been looking for an excuse to cut back on healthy fruits and vegetables.

With the sinking loonie driving up costs for travel and imported goods, now is the perfect time to stay at home and enjoy some delicious boiled Canadian potatoes.

Dollar, 68.82 U.S. cents down 1.86 cents or 2.6% over week


Warning: Listening to headphones at high volumes can permanently damage your hearing. And investing in headphone maker Skullcandy can permanently damage your portfolio. Hit by sluggish holiday sales of music headphones, the company – which also makes gaming headsets – slashed its fourth-quarter earnings estimate to a range of 20 to 22 U.S. cents a share, down from 38 to 40 cents previously. Judging by the plunging stock price, it’s not what investors wanted to hear.

SKUL (Nasdaq), $3.04 (U.S.) down $1.56 or 33.9% over week


Maybe it’s time for a different company to kick off earnings season, because Alcoa is messing it up big time. Hammered by low aluminum prices, slowing demand in China and a global glut of the metal, the company swung to a fourth-quarter loss of $500-million (U.S.) as revenue skidded 18 per cent. With Alcoa setting a decidedly negative tone as the first company to report earnings, markets had one more reason to get completely bent out of shape this week.

AA (NYSE), $6.90 (U.S.) down $1.17 or 14.5% over week


Welcome to Boot Barn, y’all. We’ve got cowboy boots, work boots, winter boots and all sorts of other boots nobody seems to want nowadays on account of the mild weather we’ve been having and a slump in oil and mining towns. That’s why our same-store sales fell 2 per cent last quarter instead of rising like we’d expected. So how about it, city slickers? Who wants a new pair of boots? Pretty sure we got your size here at Boot Barn.

BOOT (NYSE), $7.23 (U.S.) down $3.16 or 30.4% over week


Well, at least one group of investors was thrilled with this week’s market plunge: short sellers. Thanks to products such as the Horizon BetaPro S&P/TSX 60 Bear Plus ETF, which seeks to deliver a return equal to 200 per cent of the inverse daily performance of the S&P/TSX 60, it’s easy to bet against companies that employ your friends and neighbours and form the bedrock of many Canadians’ retirement portfolios.

HXD (TSX), $12.58 up 66 cents or 5.5% over week