A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Current events quiz! Which of the following did NOT happen this week? a) As riots flared in Minneapolis after the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts," prompting Twitter to flag the tweet for violating its rules against “glorifying violence.” b) After Twitter slapped a warning label on some of his previous tweets, Mr. Trump signed an executive order aimed at removing certain legal protections for social-media companies; c) In a rare show of unity, the U.S. Senate publicly rebuked the President for his unhinged behaviour. Answer: c.
You know things aren’t going well at Torstar when its share price is lower than the cost of a copy of its flagship newspaper. But the battered stock jumped after the publisher of the Toronto Star and other papers and websites agreed to be taken private by NordStar Capital, a firm owned by Paul Rivett and Jordan Bitove, for just over $51-million, or 63 cents a share, a hefty premium to where the shares were trading earlier this week. It’s a dramatic comedown for the company that was once a multibillion-dollar media giant, but at this rate investors will take anything they can get.
Tractor Supply Co. (STAR)
“Livin’ in the country has its advantages. There’s no noise or pollution like in the big city. And we got a great store called Tractor Supply Co., which has been real busy ‘cause people are doing more gardening and home repairs during the pandemic. Sales are expected to climb more than 20 per cent in the second quarter. Word is some city folk have been moving to the country to avoid the coronavirus, so that could be helpin’ sales, too. Matter of fact, I think I saw some city folk hangin’ around Tractor Supply the other day. But we chased ‘em away in our pickup trucks.”
Bank of Nova Scotia (STAR)
Normally, bank earnings season is a time to celebrate rising profits and dividend hikes. But this quarter, the only question was: How bad will it be? The answer, at least in Scotiabank’s case, was: not as bad as investors expected. The bank posted a 41-per-cent drop in second-quarter profit as loan loss reserves swelled to $1.85-billion – but that was lower than analysts’ estimates of $2.13-billion. “We wonder if BNS is somehow ‘kicking the can down the road’ and not adequately reserving,” RBC analyst Darko Mihelic said. But judging by the rise in BNS’s share price, investors are buying first and asking questions later.
Canopy Growth (DOG)
Another week, another piece of depressing news from the cannabis industry. Shares of Canopy Growth tumbled after the company posted a net loss, including impairment and restructuring charges, of $1.3-billion for its fiscal fourth quarter. Canopy also withdrew its fiscal 2021 guidance, citing uncertainties created by the coronavirus and the company’s plans to implement a new organizational design and “a comprehensive operational and supply chain productivity program.” Translation: Don’t expect a quick turnaround, investors.
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