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stars and dogs

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

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (DOG)

Headlines from the year 2030: "Leafs' Cup dreams dashed – again"; "Putin wins sixth term"; "Valeant sees turnaround 'very soon.'" Shares of the drug maker plunged after the company posted a 10-per-cent drop in revenue for the fourth quarter and warned that sales and earnings will decline for one more year before returning to growth in 2019. Investors will believe it when they see it.

VRX (TSX), $19.15; down $4.50 or 19% over week


Fitbit (DOG)

Wearing a Fitbit might help you stay healthy, but owning Fitbit's shares could give you a case of high blood pressure. Hurt by sluggish sales of its new US$300 Iconic smartwatch amid growing competition from Apple, Samsung and Garmin, the company posted a drop in revenue and a loss for the fourth quarter, sending the stock to a record low. With Fitbit trading for about one-quarter of its 2015 IPO price of US$20, owning the stock is as much fun as falling off a treadmill.

FIT (NYSE), US$4.97; down US$0.31 or 5.9% over week


Vista Outdoor (DOG)

Vista Outdoor's Savage Arms subsidiary makes assault rifles like the one used in Parkland, Fla. Now, Vista and other gun makers are in the crosshairs. In Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-op agreed to stop selling Bell bike helmets, CamelBak water bottles and other products made by Vista, while in the United States, Dick's Sporting Goods said it will discontinue assault-rifle sales and – in a move followed by Walmart – raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21. Investors are exercising their rights to sell firearms stocks.

VSTO (NYSE), US$15.91; down US$2.24 or 12.3% over week


Student Transportation (STAR)

The wheels on the bus go round and round … and the profits of Student Transportation investors go up and up. Shares of the company – which operates a fleet of more than 13,500 school buses in Canada and the United States – soared after it received a takeover offer of US$7.50 ($9.58) a share from a group including pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Ullico, a U.S. labour-owned insurance and investment company. Forget the bus … shareholders' kids are taking a limo to school.

STB (TSX), $9.68; up $1.74 or 21.9% over week


Macy's (STAR)

It's alive! Proving that rumours of Macy's death have been greatly exaggerated, the long-struggling department store retailer posted a 1.3-per-cent rise in same-store sales for the fourth quarter – the first increase in three years – as harsh winter weather spurred sales of coats and boots, and holiday shoppers splurged on clothing and perfume. With profit nearly tripling to US$1.3-billion or US$4.31 a share, Macy's might just want to have a parade to celebrate its own good fortune.

M (NYSE), US$30.41; up US$3.67 or 13.7% over week