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stars and dogs

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

Russel Metals (STAR)

RUS - TSX

How many times have you been building a suspension bridge or laying a natural gas pipeline when you suddenly realize you’re fresh out of steel? That’s when you give the folks at Russel Metals a dingle. The company’s network of metal service centres and distributors can hook you up with steel tubes, sheets, plates, stainless steel – everything you need to make your infrastructure project a success. Lots of people need steel these days, judging by the jump in Russel’s stock price after a Stifel analyst said the company is poised to “benefit meaningfully” from surging hot rolled coil prices after an “amazing year” in 2021. Thanks to the stock’s juicy dividend, you can even treat yourself to a new pair of steel-toed work boots.

Berkshire Hathaway (STAR)

BRK.A - NYSE

Things you can buy for US$500,000: 1) A three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Kansas City, Mo.; 2) Approximately 5,000 barrels of West Texas Intermediate crude oil; 3) A single class A share of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Lifted by its holdings of energy, utilities and consumer stocks, shares of Warren Buffett’s holding company cracked the half-million dollar mark for the first time this week, having more than doubled from their 2020 lows. Don’t have 500 grand lying around? No worries: Berkshire’s class B shares can be had for a few hundred bucks each.

K-Bro Linen (DOG)

KBL - TSX

Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh sheets? K-Bro Linen investors, apparently. Shares of the company that provides laundry and linen services to the health care and hospitality industries went through the spin cycle after fourth-quarter results underwhelmed investors. Even as revenue topped expectations thanks to a rebound in the travel and hotel businesses, K-Bro’s profit margins came under pressure because of higher labour costs, pandemic-related absenteeism and rising fuel prices. You might say investors had a laundry list of reasons to sell the stock.

Signet Jewelers (STAR)

SIG - NYSE

With food and gasoline prices soaring, you’d think people would have better things to do with their money than blow it on expensive baubles. Apparently not. Shares of Signet Jewelers – which owns chains including Zales, Jared and Peoples – gained after the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewellery posted a nearly 24-per-cent increase in same-store sales for the fourth quarter as shoppers returned to its bricks-and-mortar locations. “Honey, will you marry me – even if I spent our entire annual grocery budget on this beautiful $10,000 engagement ring?”

Coupa Software (DOG)

COUP - Nasdaq

Technology stocks used to be a ticket to riches. Now, they’re a ticket to the poor house. The latest example: Coupa Software. Shares of the company – whose cloud-based software helps businesses track and manage their spending – sank after its fourth-quarter loss widened to US$96-million and its current-year revenue forecast fell short of expectations, prompting at least two analysts to downgrade the company. With the stock down more than 50 per cent in the past year, investors definitely see the Coupa as half-empty.

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