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When we were kids, all we needed was a G.I. Joe and a can of lighter fluid and we were good to go. Nowadays, kids insist on having all the latest toys - and Hasbro couldn't be happier. The maker of Transformers, Lazer Tag, Nerf and other brands said fourth-quarter profit leaped 77 per cent on strong demand for boys' toys, lighting a fire under its stock.

Sure, cigarettes cause emphysema, heart disease and cancer. But look on the bright side: If you invest in Philip Morris , you'll be able to afford the highest-quality palliative care. Shares of the company, which sells Marlboro and other brands outside the U.S., were smokin' after fourth-quarter profit rose 13 per cent. The $12-billion stock buyback didn't hurt, either.

RioCan might want to consider changing its name to RioCan't. As in, can't meet shareholder expectations. Or, can't earn enough to cover its distribution. Hurt by higher interest costs and lower gains on properties held for resale, the shopping centre operator posted fourth-quarter funds from operations of 28 cents a unit, missing the 32-cent estimate of analysts. Yes we can't!

Daddy used to take us to Canadian Tire every Saturday like clockwork, largely because he was having an affair with one of the gals in sporting goods. We probably bought more hockey sticks that year than Crappy Tire sold in the entire fourth quarter of 2009, as unseasonably warm weather and weak consumer confidence sent sales, earnings and its share price tumbling.

Slapping your name on a stadium that hosts the most-watched sporting event of the year may be great advertising. But it means jack squat to investors, as Sun Life discovered. The company - which bought the naming rights to the former Dolphins Stadium in Miami just in time for the Super Bowl - missed fourth-quarter earnings expectations, sacking its stock.

Sun Life Financial

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About the Author
Investment Reporter and Columnist

John Heinzl has been writing about business and investing since 1990. A native of Hamilton, he earned a master's degree from the University of Western Ontario's Graduate School of Journalism and completed the Canadian Securities Course with honours. More

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