North West Company (STAR)
When adventurers like Henry Hudson and Jacques Cartier were exploring remote regions of Canada, they didn’t have the luxury of stopping at a NorthMart to grab a coffee and a deli sandwich. Most history books gloss over this fact. Nowadays, surviving Canada’s brutal winters is a lot easier thanks to North West Company, which operates about 200 food and general merchandise stores across Northern Canada and Alaska under the NorthMart, North, Quickstop and other banners. This week, investors did some exploring of their own into North West’s second-quarter results and discovered that sales increased 6.8 per cent to $618.1-million and earnings rose 17.5 per cent to about $38-million, prompting the company to hike its dividend. Sure beats freezing to death.
Hostess Brands (STAR)
Hey kids! Take the Twinkie-chockie-jelly-smoothie challenge! Grab a jar of Smucker’s strawberry jam, a bottle of Smucker’s chocolate syrup and a package of Hostess Twinkies. Now, put all of the contents into a blender and enjoy! In a deal that brings two of America’s most-beloved purveyors of junk food under one roof, jam and ice-cream-topping giant J. M. Smucker agreed to swallow Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies and DingDongs, for about US$5.6-billion or US$34.25 a share in cash and stock. Hostess investors evidently thought it was a sweet deal, judging by the jump in its stock price. But the big drop in Smucker’s shares left shareholders with an upset stomach.
You don’t need Statistics Canada to tell you the economy is struggling. Just look at all the folks trying to stretch their food budgets at Dollarama. Citing “continued higher than historical demand for consumables,” the retailer posted same-store sales growth of 15.5 per cent as earnings per share leaped 30.3 per cent in the second quarter, prompting Dollarama to roughly double its full-year comparable sales-growth forecast. With the shares hitting new highs on the news, Dollarama investors are dining out to celebrate their good fortune.
Laurentian Bank (DOG)
Business quiz! Shares of Laurentian Bank sank after: a) the bank disclosed that, because of human error, it mistakenly added an extra zero to the value of its assets at the end of the third quarter, leading to a massive writedown this week; b) a ransomware attack originating in North Korea caused Laurentian’s ATM machines to dispense photos of Kim Jong-un instead of cash; c) the bank completed a review of its strategic options without achieving a sale, disappointing investors who had been hoping Laurentian would be taken out by one of its larger rivals. Answer: c.
Dye & Durham (DOG)
Dye & Durham investors are dying for the pain to stop. In the past two years, shares of the company – which sells business software for real estate lawyers and other professionals – have plunged by roughly two-thirds. The company’s fiscal fourth-quarter results didn’t help. Hurt by an asset writedown and a decline in real estate transactions, fiscal fourth-quarter revenue fell 7 per cent to $120.2-million and the company posted a larger-than-expected net loss of $89.2-million. With the stock suffering its steepest one-day selloff since its initial public offering in 2020, owning Dye & Durham has been demoralizing & depressing.