Globe stars and dogs of the week
A humorous look back at the companies that caught our attention, for better or for worse, this week
Restaurant Brands International (DOG)
Vaccine protests? You’d think Canadians would be rioting in the streets over a much more pressing issue facing the country: rising prices at Tim Hortons. In the face of supply chain disruptions and rising labor and commodity costs, Tims raised prices in 2021 and plans to do so again this year, said José Cil, CEO of parent company Restaurant Brands International, during the fourth quarter conference call. Fortunately, the easing of COVID-19 restrictions helped the company – which also owns Popeyes, Burger King and Firehouse Subs – post significantly higher sales and profits than a year ago, which has gave a first impetus to the title. But as the market digested the news about rising costs, investors lost their appetite for stocks.
SHOP – TSX
Once upon a time there was a company called Shopify
Whose stock just kept falling
Down half since its peak
Now another bad week
People wondered when it would stop.
Canadian Tire (STAR)
CTC.A – TSX
“It’s easy, son. When I was a kid during the great pandemic of 2020-2022, we had to wait in a line outside Canadian Tire that was two miles long. When we got to the front our toes were frozen and the store was closed. Fortunately for Canadian Tire customers – and investors – those days are over. With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, Canadian Tire said same-store sales at its namesake chain increased 9.8% in the fourth quarter, with Sport Chek and Mark’s posting gains of 15. 9% and 15%, respectively. As people spend more on holiday gifts, fuel, tires and hockey gear, investors have inflated Canadian Tire shares to their highest level this year.
Upstart Holdings (STAR)
UPST – Nasdaq
Artificial intelligence can drive driverless cars, power your smart speaker’s digital assistant, and suggest movies and TV shows you might like. Now it can even predict if you will be a deadbeat. Shares of Upstart Holdings – whose AI algorithm considers more than 1,600 variables including education and work history to assess whether a person will repay a loan – soared after the company said its banking partners issued 495,205 personal loans totaling $4.1 billion in the fourth quarter, up 301% from a year earlier. With Upstart now branching out into auto loans in a big way, investors are hoping the stock will pay them back many times over.
TRUP – Nasdaq
When your dog breaks his leg, you have two choices: 1) Ask about orthopedic surgery and repair the bone yourself or; 2) Deposit $1,000 or more at the vet. But if you have pet insurance, you can avoid costly vet bills — and have peace of mind knowing a licensed professional is operating on your pooch. Unfortunately for pet insurance provider Trupanion, even though fourth quarter revenue grew 36% year-over-year, growth in the number of pets enrolled fell sequentially to starting in the third quarter “due to COVID temporarily depressing industry leads,” the company said. With the stock plunging in double digits, investors could use anesthesia to dull the pain.
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