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

Restaurant Brands International (STAR)

Amazing how quickly fear turns into greed. After plunging more than 40 per cent in the first three weeks of March as the coronavirus spread across North America, shares of Restaurant Brands – parent of Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes – surged this week on hopes that the pandemic may be peaking. The fast-food company’s stock also benefited from a report that Gateway Partners, a Dubai-based private equity firm, acquired a 40-per-cent stake in the Gulf franchise of Tims and plans to expand in Egypt and India – both well-known ice hockey hotbeds where the brand is a natural fit.

QSR - TSX

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Carnival Corp. (STAR)

Not everyone has given up on the cruise industry, apparently. After sinking for weeks as the coronavirus brought the travel business to its knees, shares of Carnival rebounded on a report that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired an 8.2-per-cent stake in the distressed cruise operator. Book within the next 30 minutes and receive a free barrel of oil with every ticket purchase!

CCL - NYSE

Papa John’s International (STAR)

Sit-down restaurants are closed and lineups at grocery stores are a mile long. But even during a global pandemic, you can still order a pizza to your door. Shares of Papa John’s have been surging as the company advertises “no-contact delivery” in which the pie is “never touched” by human hands as it is taken out of the oven, placed in a box and dropped on your doorstep by the driver. Question: Before the coronavirus, were Papa John’s employees touching the pizza?

PZZA - Nasdaq

Wayfair (STAR)

Stuck at home during the pandemic? There’s never been a better time to update your living room with the latest home decor styles. As more people practise social distancing by shopping online, e-commerce retailer Wayfair said its year-over-year revenue growth rate – which was slightly below 20 per cent at the beginning of March – has roughly doubled since then. Your friends will be so envious when you invite them to come over and look in your window.

W - NYSE

Levi Strauss (STAR)

Business quiz! Shares of apparel maker Levi Strauss rose after the company: a) posted first-quarter adjusted earnings of 40 US cents a share, beating analysts’ average estimate of 35 US cents; b) announced quarterly revenue of US$1.51-billion, topping expectations of US$1.47-billion; c) said most of its stores in China, where the coronavirus pandemic started, are now open and sales are recovering. Answer: all of the above.

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LEVI - NYSE

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