A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
S&P/TSX Composite Index (STAR)
It’s okay. You can start looking at your portfolio statements again. After an ugly 2018, when the S&P/TSX Composite skidded 11.6 per cent, Canada’s benchmark index has been on fire in 2019, rising in seven of the first eight trading days and recouping about one-third of last year’s loss. Let’s see: Assuming the index’s current rate of appreciation continues for the rest of the year, it will finish 2019 with a gain of more than 19,000 points or about 135 per cent. Seems reasonable.
Canopy Growth (STAR)
Business quiz! Shares of Canopy Growth rose after: a) the company was chosen as the official marijuana supplier for 2019 Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill; b) Warren Buffett dumped his entire stake in Apple and bought a large position in Canopy Growth after taking a few bong hits of its Boaty McBoatface strain at a party; c) U.S. brokerage Piper Jaffray initiated coverage of Canopy Growth with an “overweight” rating. Answer: c.
And now, back to our regular narrative about department stores going the way of the buggy whip. After rallying in 2018 on hopes for a bricks-and-mortar retail revival, Macy’s suffered its biggest one-day percentage drop on record when the company announced weaker-than-expected same-store sales growth of 1.1 per cent for November and December and cut its full-year earnings guidance. Macy’s said it’s taking “the necessary steps in January to ensure a clean inventory position as we enter fiscal 2019.” Translation: sale!
Barnes & Noble (DOG)
Once upon a time, there was a book retailer named Barnes & Noble that had a strong holiday season. From Black Friday to New Year’s Day, its same-store sales rose a healthy 4 per cent. But Barnes & Noble had an unpleasant surprise for investors: Because it spent heavily on advertising and promotional activity to generate those holiday sales, the company warned that it may cut its quarterly earnings guidance by as much as 10 per cent. This caused the stock to tumble. The end.
Corus Entertainment (STAR)
Now, we know what Corus Entertainment’s New Year’s resolution was: To give investors some good news for a change. Putting last year’s dividend cut and stock-price plunge in the rear-view mirror, the television and radio company posted better-than-expected revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for its fiscal first quarter, lifted by a 3.6-per-cent increase in TV advertising. The stock’s ratings are up.