A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Zoom Video Communications (STAR)
Sure, online meetings with Zoom are occasionally interrupted by hackers who post racist or pornographic images. But that hasn’t stopped Zoom from becoming the go-to video conferencing app during the coronavirus pandemic. Even as the number of users soared 50 per cent in the last three weeks to 300 million, however, more companies are banning the app over privacy concerns, prompting Zoom to release a new version this week with enhanced security features to combat “Zoombombing" attacks. Apparently, asking the hackers nicely to “please stop, we’re trying to get some work done here” didn’t do the trick.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (STAR)
People can only eat pizza for so many days in a row, which helps to explain why more consumers are ordering tacos and burritos instead. Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill jumped after the company said digital sales in the first quarter surged 80.8 per cent and accounted for 26.3 per cent of the chain’s total revenues, boosted by Chipotle’s decision to offer free delivery starting in mid-March when self-isolation measures began to take effect. Given the after-effects of Mexican food, it’s probably a good idea that social-distancing measures are in force.
Gap investors have been losing their shirts for years. Now, they could lose their pants, too. Shares of the apparel retailer – which have been in a long-term skid amid growing competition from trendier chains and a shift to online sales – lost more ground this week after the company said it had stopped paying rent and will need to come up with additional sources of cash in the next 12 months to stay afloat. Sounds like this could be a clothes call.
Hershey Foods (DOG)
Hmm. You’ve been cooped up in the house and you’d really like some chocolate. But then you’d have to go to the store and get close to people. But chocolate would taste so good right now. Yeah, you’ll just go to the store and get in and out quickly. No, not worth the risk. Judging by Hershey Foods’ weaker-than-expected results for the first quarter, a lot of chocolate lovers have put their habits on hold during the coronavirus outbreak. Citing volatility in “retail foot traffic” and uncertainty about the length of the pandemic, the candy maker also withdrew its 2020 full-year guidance, causing the stock to melt in investors’ hands.
Sleep Number (STAR)
Well, at least some investors are sleeping soundly. Shares of Sleep Number surged after the company, citing “exceptional consumer demand” for its 360 smart beds that monitor sleep quality and adjust accordingly, posted record first-quarter results including an 11-per-cent increase in sales and a 70-per-cent jump in earnings per share. Forget counting sheep; investors are counting dollar bills as they drift off to sleep.
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