Act I: Up, up and away
* The player: Stockgroup Information Systems Inc. (TSXV:SWB)
* Recent Price: $1.63
* Action: Up 262 per cent year to date (from $0.45 Jan. 3)
* 52-week high/low: $1.63/0.34 Chocolate may be sweet, but investors would have been happier if they had found shares of Stockgroup in their baskets Easter morning.
The stock has been climbing since January, when the financial media company announced its acquisition of the mobile finance division of U.S.-based wireless data provider TeleCommunication Systems Inc.
The acquisition, which closed in February, is expected to add US$6 million revenue to Stockgroup in 2007, and with a customer base that includes Citigroup, HSBC, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Bear Stearns and Credit Suisse First Boston, that may just be the beginning.
The company also got a pat on the back in February when StockHouse.ca was ranked No. 1 by comScore Media Metrix Ad Focus report - beating out Globe Finance, Yahoo! Canada Finance and Sympatico/MSN Finance - in the areas of pages per visitor and average minutes per visitor in the business/finance news and research category.
But wait - that's not all.
In March, Stockgroup announced a partnership with CanWest MediaWorks Inc. to boost the online financial resources of the Financial Post, and later in the month, reported record revenue for Q4 and fiscal 2006 (US$2.29 million Q4, US$7.8 million for the year ending Dec. 31, 2006).
So forget the tiny foil eggs, Bunny - next year stuff my basket with the good stuff.
Act II: Hungry, hungry hippo
* The player: Semcan Inc. (TSXV:STT)
* Recent Price: $1.10
* Action: Up 286 per cent year to date (from $0.285 Jan. 3)
* 52-week high/low: $1.24/0.06 If you have ever gone through an acquisition or merger, you know how much work is involved - accounting, finance, administration, personnel changes. The prospect can be daunting. But Ontario's Semcan eats that up and asks for more.
The growth company, formerly named Semco Technologies Inc., seeks out acquisition prospects in the industrial and distribution sectors, and provides the central finance and administrative functions for acquired companies so management can remain focused on their business.
Since its name change in February, Semcan has made two acquisitions: Ontario's Nucleus Financial Networks Inc. (doing business as Forward Precision Tools) for $882,000 in shares and promissory notes; and Ken-Co Industries Inc., an automotive parts manufacturer and distributor, for $7.5 million in cash and promissory notes.
In response, the stock has almost tripled (from $0.28 Feb. 6, 2007).
Act III: Cheers and jeers
* The player: Liquor Stores Income Fund (TSX:LIQ.UN)
* Recent Price: $20.20
* Action: Down five per cent on news
* 52-week high/low: $23.24/15.32 What's good for one isn't necessarily good for another. Liquor Stores Income Fund, which operates liquor stores in Alberta and B.C., offered to buy out its rival Liquor Barn Income Fund for $158 million in stock. Market reactions are mixed.
While the two Edmonton-based retailers duke it out, shareholders of Liquor Barn are looking forward to toasting the merger that would create the largest independent liquor retailer in Western Canada, with 176 outlets in the two provinces. Shares of Liquor Barn jumped 24 per cent, or $2, to $10.40 on the news.
Shareholders of Liquor Stores aren't equally thrilled. The fund was down five per cent, or $1.13, to $20.20.
The offer to purchase is open until May 17, 2007.
Act IV: Rosy rocks
* The player: Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX:POT)
* Recent Price: $194.79
* Action: Up 12 per cent year to date (from $173.65 Jan. 3)
* 52-week high/low: $198/86.79 Saskatchewan is a "have" province. Believe it. (The good news just hasn't sunk into the province's pothole-ridden roads yet.)
But the land where flat is beautiful has more to offer than mosquitoes and Bohemian beer. What's the most appealing substance of late? Fertilizer.
The price of diammonium phosphate (a fertilizer and fire retardant) has increased more than 60 per cent in 2007, and Saskatchewan's Potash Corp. is one of the world's largest phosphate and nitrogen producers. Shareholders have already seen a 12-per-cent year-to-date increase in share price due to rising global demand for grain and biofuels (which will require fertilizer for the crops.) Analysts are projecting even further gains.
Rock on, Saskatchewan.
(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 April 10, 2007.)
(Nicole Strandlund can be reached at email@example.com)