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Stars and Dogs

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

CRH Medical (STAR)

Business quiz! Which of the following does CRH Medical NOT provide? a) Anesthesia services for colonoscopies and other endoscopic procedures; b) a fast, pain-free system for removing hemorrhoids; c) a complete range of cloning services for dogs, cats, gerbils and other household pets. Answer: c. CRH investors weren't feeling any pain after the company posted a 25-per-cent jump in fourth-quarter revenue, lifted by recent acquisitions.

CRH (TSX), $3.86, up $0.28 or 7.82% on week.

Canadian National Railway (DOG)

Wanted: Head engineer for major freight railroad suffering from growing pains. Experience dealing with unhappy customers an asset. Less than two years after he was named CEO of Canadian National Railway, Luc Jobin stepped down this week amid a growing chorus of complaints about service disruptions and delays at CN, which has faced congestion on its lines because of surging volumes and harsh winter weather. Investors are hoping a new boss can get CN's stock back on the rails.

CNR (TSX), $95.53, down $1.03 or 1.06% on week.

Great Canadian Gaming (STAR)

Instead of blowing your paycheque on the slots, here's a better idea: Invest in the company that owns the machines. Shares of Great Canadian Gaming went "ding-ding-ding-ding" after the operator of casinos, racetracks and hotels said revenue rose 6 per cent in the fourth quarter, helped by the opening of a new casino in Belleville, Ont., and improved results at most of its properties. With Great Canadian expanding its presence in the Greater Toronto Area, more investors are trying their luck.

GC (TSX), $35.87, up $2.15 or 6.38% on week.

Big Lots (DOG)

Big Lots just handed investors some Big Losses. Even as the discount retailer of furniture, electronics and other household items posted earnings above expectations for the fourth quarter, same-store sales slipped 0.1 per cent – missing analyst estimates for growth of 1.3 per cent. With Big Lots also issuing a 2018 earnings forecast below Wall Street expectations, the shares posted a one-day decline of nearly 10 per cent. As the stock symbol says, that's BIG.

BIG (NYSE), US$48.45, down US$7.84 or 13.93% on week.

Blue Apron Holdings (DOG)

Blue Apron sells meal kits with fresh meat and veggies that you cook at home. Unfortunately, its stock is starting to rot: Just weeks after posting a 13-per-cent drop in quarterly revenue, Blue Apron got another dose of bad news when Walmart announced that it will expand its meal-kit business to 2,000 stores, joining Amazon, HelloFresh and others in the crowded meal-in-a-box business. With Blue Apron's stock down about 77 per cent from its June, 2017, IPO price of US$10, investors aren't hungry, thanks.

APRN (NYSE), US$2.28, down US$0.46 or 16.79% on week.