A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Dear Wireless Consumer:
We tried to open the market to smaller competitors. That didn’t work. We tried to invite Verizon. That didn’t work, either. So today, your government is unveiling Plan C: A free “two-cans-and-a-string” mobile device for every Canadian. With no roaming charges, data fees or expensive contracts, this device will make affordable communication available to all Canadians and provide meaningful competition to the Big Three.
Sep. 6 close: $43.02 up $1.43 or 3.4% over week
Conn’s. Now there’s a name that inspires trust. Even as second-quarter profit rose 65 per cent at the U.S. retailer of furniture and appliances, the company’s credit arm suffered “short-term execution issues in our collection operations” that led to “negative delinquency trends.” The issues have been addressed – you pay up now, see – but judging by the plunging stock price, investors are still feeling conned by the whole experience.
Sep. 6 close: $53.19 (U.S.) down $13.42 or 20.1% over week
Smith & Wesson
Guns don’t kill people. They just make people poorer – especially if they own shares of Smith & Wesson. The manufacturer of handguns and rifles got a big sales lift after last December’s Newton, Conn., school shootings prompted gun nuts, er, enthusiasts, to stock up amid fears of tighter regulations. But business has slowed since then: With S&W’s second-quarter forecast missing estimates, the stock’s firing blanks.
Sep. 6 close: $10.31 (U.S.) down 63 cents or 5.8% over week
Good news: Nokia’s shares surged about 39 per cent after Microsoft announced plans to buy its smartphone business for about $7.2-billion (U.S.).
Bad news: Even after this week’s hefty rise, Nokia – once the world’s largest handset maker – is still down about 90 per cent from its high reached in 2000.
Even worse news: With Microsoft out of the running, there’s one less potential suitor for BlackBerry.
Sep. 6 close: $5.37 (U.S.) up $1.47 or 37.7% over week
Ainsworth’s compressed wood is used in an array of construction applications, including walls, stairs and floors. This week, fittingly enough, the stock went through the roof (yup, it’s used in those, too). The maker of oriented strandboard surged after U.S. forestry giant Louisiana-Pacific made a $1.1-billion (U.S.) offer for the Vancouver-based company. Beats getting hit in the head with a two-by-four.
Sep. 6 close: $3.89 up 99 cents or 34.1% over week