A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Pets may offer unconditional love, but the love investors had for pet-products retailer Chewy turned out to be very fleeting indeed. After a well-received initial public offering in June, shares of the online pet food and accessories merchant – which is majority-owned by PetSmart – have stumbled amid concerns about slowing growth and competition from Amazon.com. With Chewy posting a bigger-than-expected operating loss for the second quarter as marketing and other costs soared, the stock is in the doghouse.
Altria Group (DOG)
E-cigarettes were supposed to be the future for Altria Group. But the tobacco giant’s US$13-billion investment in nicotine-vaping device maker Juul Labs is starting to blow up in its face. Shares of Altria have skidded nearly 20 per cent in 2019 and are languishing near five-year lows as vaping-related deaths and illnesses mount, prompting calls to ban flavoured e-cigarettes that have helped to create a new generation of nicotine addicts. As for Altria investors, they’re kicking the habit.
Test your business knowledge! Shares of Microsoft hit a record high after the company: a) unveiled Windows XXX, “a next-generation, AI-driven operating system powered by Candy, your cloud-based virtual erotic assistant”; b) agreed to a three-way, US$2.3-trillion merger with Google and Facebook and simultaneously announced the purchase of Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean “that will serve as a platform for our next stage of growth”; c) raised its dividend by 11 per cent and announced plans to buy back up to US$40-billion of its own shares. Answer: c.
“Trade wars are good, and easy to win.” – U.S. President Donald Trump, March 2, 2018. “Our performance continues to be negatively impacted by a weakening global macro environment driven by increasing trade tensions.” – FedEx CEO Frederick Smith, Sept. 17, 2019. FedEx investors are getting fed up after the package delivery giant posted disappointing first-quarter results and cut its full-year earnings outlook – the fifth consecutive quarter that the company has missed estimates or reduced its forecast – causing the stock to plummet. When will all the winning stop?
Strap yourselves in, Netflix investors. Even the company’s perennially optimistic CEO is warning that the streaming wars are about to get a lot more intense. “While we’ve been competing with many people in the last decade, it’s a whole new world starting in November,” Reed Hastings told an industry conference on Friday, citing the launch of streaming services from Walt Disney and Apple that will present ”tough competition.” Judging by the 30-per-cent skid in Netflix’s share price since early July, investors are worried that its days of streaming supremacy may be in jeopardy.