A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Facebook sure didn’t get a lot of likes this week. First, the social-media giant suffered a massive outage on Monday that left users unable to access Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger. Then, in a U.S. congressional hearing on Tuesday, whistle-blower Frances Haugen excoriated the company for failing to rein in hate speech, misinformation and content that contributes to depression and anxiety in teens “because they have put their astronomical profits before people.” After he returned from sailing, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a memo to Facebook employees that Ms. Haugen’s arguments are “deeply illogical” and “don’t make any sense.” Judging by the drop in Facebook’s share price, however, plenty of people disagree.
Sun Life Financial (STAR)
Maybe you stopped brushing and flossing during the pandemic and now your teeth are turning brown. Or you got into a mask fight at the grocery store and some jerk knocked out a few of your teeth. That’s why you should always have dental insurance, people. Sun Life Financial shareholders couldn’t agree more: Shares of the company surged after it announced the US$2.48-billion purchase of DentaQuest, which manages dental and vision insurance benefits for more than 30 million Americans across 36 states and also operates 75 oral health centres. With analysts hiking their price targets on Sun Life’s shares after the deal, investors are all smiles.
There is no “i” in team, but there is an “i” in TeamViewer – as in, “I am losing money.” The shares tanked after the company, which sells remote connectivity software for computers and mobile devices, reported third-quarter results below expectations and chopped its full-year revenue guidance. TeamViewer had seen a big increase in demand for its remote access products as companies ordered employees to work from home last year. But now that pandemic restrictions have eased, fewer businesses than expected renewed their contracts. With the stock down by roughly two-thirds this year, investors are quitting the Team.
Affirm Holdings (STAR)
Great. Another way for people to buy stuff they can’t afford. Shares of Affirm Holdings – which provides buy now, pay later financing for consumers – jumped after retailer Target began offering the company’s installment loan service to qualifying customers who spend $100 or more. Unlike a credit card, Affirm lets shoppers choose a fixed repayment schedule that suits their budget, with interest rates ranging from zero per cent to 30 per cent depending on the retailer and the customer’s credit score. Go on, order that 70-inch TV. You’ll figure out how to pay for it later.
Levi Strauss (STAR)
Bootcut. Dark wash. Light wash. Distressed. Slim fit. Taper fit. Flex. What, no acid wash jeans? Despite this glaring omission in Levi’s product lineup, the casual clothing maker reported third-quarter net revenue of US$1.5-billion, up 41 per cent from a year earlier and ahead of expectations. As schools and businesses reopen, the company has benefited from rising demand for denim, including a trend toward looser-fitting “mom jeans,” which gave sales a lift during the back-to-school season. Hey, if mom jeans can make a comeback, so can acid wash.
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