A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Stella Jones (STAR)
Never mind e-commerce and electric cars. The big money is in utility poles and railway ties. Shares of Stella Jones – which makes these and other pressure-treated wood products – surged after sales rose 15 per cent and earnings a share jumped 34 per cent for the second quarter, crushing estimates. Higher prices for utility poles, accelerated maintenance by railways and strong home-improvement activity during the coronavirus pandemic all contributed to the results, which prompted the company to announce a buyback for up to three million shares. These results are Stella!
Canadian Tire (DOG)
“Hey, Gary the Canadian Tire guy here. You may have heard that we closed some of our stores for a while, which contributed to a $20-million quarterly loss. But our stores have all reopened and even in these difficult times, we’re working hard to bring you the same Canadian Tire experience you’ve grown accustomed to – the same bored-looking teenaged sales associates, the same folks with clipboards pushing Triangle Rewards cards and the same familiar but hard-to-place Canadian Tire smell. Welcome back, Canada!”
Walt Disney (STAR)
You’d think investors would have been upset to see Disney post a US$4.7-billion loss – the entertainment giant’s first quarter of red ink in nearly two decades. Nope. Even as Disney’s theme park and cinema revenues were clobbered by the pandemic, investors were heartened that the company’s Disney+ streaming service – launched in November – surpassed 60 million subscribers globally. Disney+ is such a hit that the company plans to take its next big-budget film, Mulan, directly to the service – for an additional fee of US$29.99. Way to kick the theatres when they’re down, Disney.
Take-Two Interactive Software (STAR)
Whoever said crime doesn’t pay obviously isn’t a shareholder of Take-Two Interactive. The video game company behind Grand Theft Auto – in which characters commit robberies, kill innocent civilians and engage in random acts of torture – posted an 88-per-cent jump in earnings for the quarter ended June 30. With more gamers staying at home during the pandemic, Take-Two’s other titles including Red Dead Redemption and NBA 2K20 also brought in more users, which in turn boosted in-game purchases. With the stock up about 75 per cent from its March lows, investors don’t need to live a life of crime.
Restaurant Brands International (DOG)
There’s at least one bright side of the novel coronavirus: The drive-through lineups at Tims are shorter. Shares of Restaurant Brands slumped after the company posted a 25.1-per-cent drop in revenue for the second quarter as same-store sales cratered 29.3 per cent at Tim Hortons and fell 13.4 per cent at Burger King. The one bright spot was Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, which reported same-store sales growth of 24.8 per cent owing to the popularity of its fried chicken sandwich. What Tim Hortons needs is its own hit product to generate buzz. Just not another maple-infused sausage breakfast thingy, please.
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