A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Costco Wholesale (STAR)
Toilet-paper shortages? Again? Just when you thought you were free to buy all the cottony soft, three-ply bathroom tissue you could handle, Costco is bringing back purchase limits on bathroom tissue, bottled water and cleaning products. It’s not so much that customers are stockpiling as they did when the pandemic hit, but more because supply-chain disruptions and labour shortages are leaving some shelves bare of basic necessities. It doesn’t seem to have hurt Costco’s results, however: With fiscal fourth-quarter revenue and earnings both topping expectations, investors can use $20 bills if they run out of TP.
Stitch Fix (STAR)
Shopping for clothes the old way: Drive to the mall, circle the parking lot several times looking for a space, enter the store and discover they don’t have your size. Shopping for clothes the new way: Answer an online “style quiz” and let Stitch Fix’s computer algorithm send you clothes it thinks you will like. Shares of the online retailer surged after it posted quarterly revenue of US$571.2-million, up 29 per cent from a year earlier, and swung to a surprise profit. “Hey, how did the algorithm know I like wearing plaid shirts over checkered pants and flip-flops?!”
Looking for work? Sounds as if FedEx could use some help. Shares of the delivery company sank after it posted fiscal first-quarter earnings below expectations and cut its full-year forecast, citing higher costs “due to a constrained labour market which impacted labour availability, resulting in network inefficiencies, higher wage rates, and increased purchased transportation expenses.” With the stock down by more than one-quarter from its high in May, investors need a second job to make up for all the money they’re losing.
Uber Technologies (STAR)
Business quiz! Shares of Uber Technologies rose after the ride-hailing and delivery company: a) launched Uber Snooper, a surveillance service for people who suspect their partners of cheating; b) began testing a private-jet-hailing app for tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley; c) raised its third-quarter outlook, saying it expects to post adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ranging from a loss of US$25-million to a profit of US$25-million, potentially marking its first quarter in the black several months ahead of schedule. Answer: c.
Avis Budget Group (STAR)
Remember when there were lockdowns and nobody drove or flew anywhere and it looked as if we might start getting this greenhouse gas thing under control? Nope. Travel is booming again, and while that’s bad news for the planet, it’s great for shareholders of Avis Budget Group. With more people renting cars at a time when the supply of new vehicles has been constrained by chip shortages, Avis Budget is benefiting from higher rental rates and elevated prices on used car sales. The stock’s had the pedal to the metal ever since Bank of America upgraded it to buy earlier this month.
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