A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
For years, McCormick served up tasty returns for investors. Now, the world’s largest maker of spices is leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths. The owner of brands including McCormick, Lawry’s, French’s, Club House and Frank’s RedHot posted fourth-quarter revenue and earnings below estimates, citing currency impacts, retailer inventory reductions and higher marketing and freight costs. Who needs fancy spices, anyway? I’ve always found that nothing livens up a meal like a few heaping tablespoons of salt.
MKC - NYSE, US$121.36, down 13.61 per cent
Procter & Gamble (STAR)
You know that fresh, invigorating scent you get when you rub a Bounce dryer sheet all over your body after a workout? Well, Procter & Gamble’s stock is also giving off a pleasant aroma: The global consumer products giant – which makes Bounce, Tide, Crest, Pampers and scores of other brands – reported second-quarter sales and earnings above expectations, as product innovations and price hikes helped to overcome rising costs. Investors are enjoying a nice Bounce in their portfolios, too.
PG - NYSE, US$93.60, up 3.27 per cent
Restaurant Brands International (STAR)
Products we can look forward to now that Burger King boss Jose Cil has been promoted to chief executive of Restaurant Brands, parent of Tim Hortons: 1) Caramel Cappuccino Chicken Nuggets; 2) Flame-broiled Timbits; 3) Maple Glazed Whoppers. On second thought, with Restaurant Brands’ stock soaring after the company announced higher fourth-quarter sales and hiked its dividend by 11 per cent, maybe there’s no need for radical menu innovation.
QSR - TSX, $83.49, up 9.55 per cent
AGF Management (STAR)
With its long-struggling stock and a dividend cut a few years ago, AGF has delivered plenty of misery to investors. But on Wednesday, the mutual fund company actually had some uplifting news: Not only did fourth-quarter results beat expectations, but net sales for the year ended Nov. 30, 2018, were $136-million – a big improvement from net redemptions of $405-million a year earlier. But let’s not get too excited: Even after this week’s rebound, the stock has posted a total return of about negative 40 per cent over the past five years.
AGF.B - TSX, $5.52, up 14.52 per cent
Rogers Communications (DOG)
So Rogers Communications announces solid fourth-quarter results and raises its dividend for the first time in four years, and how do investors thank the company? By driving down its stock price. The 4.2-per-cent dividend hike apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy some investors, and CEO Joe Natale’s comment that he doesn’t want to “be stuck in a cycle of annual dividend increase commitments” probably didn’t help, either. Party pooper.
RCI.B - TSX, $69.69, down 4.02 per cent