(Street Life is a regular feature that profiles what's playing in the stock market.)
Act I: What competition?
* The Player: Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B)
* Action: Down eight per cent in one day (to $41.71 Nov. 29), but regaining some ground
* Recent Price: $42.16
* 52-Week High/Low: $52.20/33.27 New competition is a scary thought for a business, isn't it?
Rogers Communications shareholders certainly thought so: Rogers shares dropped eight per cent, the shares' largest drop in five years, to close at $41.71 after Ottawa announced breaks to help new companies enter the cellphone market.
But was Rogers fazed?
Not in the least. Bill Linton, the company's CFO, even suggested the introduction of new players is actually good news.
More competition fuels faster growth in the industry, Linton told a New York conference.
In addition, Rogers, the only GSM (global system for mobile communications) carrier in Canada, will likely gain new roaming revenue from the new arrangement since the government is forcing existing carriers to open their networks to their competitors' customers for a roaming fee.
Act II: Big deal
* The Player: Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU)
* Action: Up six per cent, or $3.53 in a day
* Recent Price: $60.93
* 52-Week High/Low: $62.74/33.02 Sure, the United States economy is struggling. The dollar is weak and consumer spending in October was at its lowest level in four months.
But the American market is still an important one for Canadian business.
Calgary fertilizer producer Agrium Inc. recently made a US$2.65-billion deal to beef up its U.S. retail presence and become the largest agriculture retailer in North America, paying US$39 a share for Colorado's UAP Holding Corp., a distributor of crop production supplies.
Agrium stock jumped $3.53, or six per cent, to close at $60.93 the day of the announcement, adding to a year-to-date gain of 61 per cent or $23.02 (from $37.91 Jan. 2).
Act III: If the shoes fit
* The Player: Forzani Group (TSX:FGL)
* Action: Up eight per cent or $1.12 in two weeks (from $13.88 Nov. 20)
* Recent Price: $15
* 52-Week High/Low: $26.50/13.61 There's an old adage: One person's junk is another man's treasure - and it may well apply to businesses, too.
Even though the Athletes World chain of stores is under bankruptcy protection and owes creditors more than $150 million, Calgary sporting goods retailer Forzani sees potential, and is acquiring the chain for $21.5 million.
Of course, Forzani will shake things up, and has plans to close 37 Athletes World outlets, leaving 100 stores open with the warning that some may need new lease agreements.
Forzani's CEO Bob Sartor expects the chain to achieve "quite decent profitability" once restructuring is complete, and shareholders seem to share his confidence.
The stock jumped $0.77 to $14.65 the day of the announcement, and has since added another $0.35.
Act IV: Little consolation
* The Player: Reitmans (Canada) (TSX:RET.A)
* Action: Down 40 per cent or $10.69 in six months (from $26.59 June 4)
* Recent Price: $15.90
* 52-Week High/Low: $27.15/15.79 Heading into the ho-ho spending season, investors might be particularly interested in retailers that purchase private-label wear in U.S. dollars, such as Reitmans (Canada) Ltd.
The company recently announced a 17-per-cent rise in Q3 profit and a dividend boost from 16 to 18 cents.
Overall sales were up 2.7 per cent to $265.5 million for the 13 weeks ended Nov. 3 (compared to $258.6 million a year earlier), and Q3 profit was up to $27.4 million from $23.4 a year ago.
For the nine-month period, sales increased 3.6 per cent to $788 million (compared to $760 million the year before), and net earnings rose to $78 million from $60 million the year before.
The good results were enough to give the stock a little boost (to $16.72 midday at press time), but that offers only slight comfort to those shareholders who have ridden the stock down from its summer highs of more than $27.
NOTE: The above is not intended as investment advice to buy or sell any mentioned securities.
Investors should do due diligence before investing. Quotes are based on results through Dec. 3, 2007.
(Nicole Strandlund can be reached email@example.com)