Empire Co. (STAR)
You might say the Empire is striking back. Shares of the food retailer – which plunged in 2015 and 2016 following the botched acquisition of Safeway – have been rebounding as the owner of Sobeys and FreshCo cuts costs and takes other steps to fix the mess it made. With fourth-quarter adjusted earnings beating expectations and the volume of food shipped to stores rising for the first time in four years, it looks as if Empire’s efforts are bearing fruit … and vegetables.
EMP.A (TSX), $22.12, up $3.18 or 16.8% over week
Alder Biopharmaceuticals (DOG)
Sometimes, investing can be such a headache. Alder Biopharmaceutical’s migraine prevention drug eptinezumab (say that three times fast) showed a reduction in headaches during Phase 3 clinical trials. Unfortunately, the results – although statistically significant – weren’t much better than a placebo. With Alder’s stock tanking as it faces competition from big pharma companies developing their own anti-migraine drugs, investors just want to be left alone in a quiet, dark room.
ALDR (Nasdaq), $11.45 (U.S.), down $8.25 or 41.9% over week
Avis Budget Group (STAR)
Bad idea: When you get pulled over for speeding, tell the officer it’s a self-driving car and you “must have been hit by a malware attack.” Good idea: Invest in companies that stand to benefit from the self-driving revolution. Shares of Avis Budget jumped after the rental company announced an agreement to provide fleet management and vehicle-maintenance services to Google owner Alphabet’s self-driving car program. Apparently, cars haven’t learned to wash themselves or change their own oil just yet.
CAR (Nasdaq), $27.27 (U.S.), up $3.03 or 12.5% over week
Business quiz! Shares of office supplies retailer Staples surged after it: a) won an exclusive contract to supply paper to the World Origami Championships in Osaka, Japan this summer; b) announced a special dividend of $2 a share, to be paid with a combination of Post-it notes and highlighter pens; c) agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $6.9-billion or $10.25 a share. Answer: c.
SPLS (Nasdaq), $10.07 (U.S.), up 78¢ or 8.4% over week
Canadian dollar (STAR)
Happy Canada Day! And what better way to mark Canada’s 150th birthday than by packing everyone into the car for cross-border shopping at the U.S. outlet mall? With the Canadian dollar surging this week – lifted by Governor Stephen Poloz’s hints that the Bank of Canada could raise its benchmark interest rate as early as its July 12 announcement – think of how much more crap you’ll be able to bring home.
Dollar 77.06¢ (U.S.), up 1.69¢ or 2.2% over week