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The Globe's stars and dogs for this week: Ballard Power fuels investors' hopes

A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week.

Ballard Power Systems


  April 4, 2014 close: $4.76
  up 14 cents or 3% over week

Given the 196-per-cent surge in Ballard Power’s shares this year, the company must be making buckets of money, right? Uh, no. The maker of hydrogen fuel cells hasn’t turned an annual net profit since it was founded in 1987. But investors can always hope: The shares jumped on news that the city of Aberdeen, Scotland, took delivery of the first four of 10 buses powered by Ballard’s technology. Shareholders are going along for the ride.

Canadian Tire


  April 4, 2014 close: $105.55
  up $1.73 or 1.7% over week

Things we love about Canadian Tire:

1) No pushy sales staff. In fact, no sales staff whatsoever;
2) Merchandise stacked high and out of reach, reducing impulse purchases;
3) The stock keeps hitting new highs.

The latest catalyst for the shares: Analyst Keith Howlett of Desjardins Securities predicted the retailer will find a financial partner for its credit card division within six months – a deal that could add about $6 a share to its stock price. The Tire’s on a roll.


MNKD (Nasdaq)

  April 4, 2014 close: $6.87 (U.S.)
  up $2.04 or 42.2% over week

Contrary to popular belief, what Neil Armstrong actually said was: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for MannKind.”

Boy, did he nail it: Shares of drug developer MannKind soared after a panel of advisers recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve Afrezza, the company’s inhaled diabetes treatment. With the FDA expected to finalize its decision by mid-April, shareholders are over the moon with excitement.

Intuitive Surgical

ISRG (Nasdaq)

  April 4, 2014 close: $505.52 (U.S.)
  up $70.53 or 16.2% over week

That’s what I always say when I’m doing surgery: It’s intuitive.

Of course, I’d be better at it if I had one of Intuitive Surgical’s fancy robotic devices. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration giving approval for the latest version of the company’s da Vinci system – which allows surgeons to use tiny incisions and operate with great precision – the stock has been discharged from the hospital.

Partners REIT


  April 4, 2014 close: $4.98
  down 72 cents or 12.6% over week

Real estate investment trusts are prized for their stable returns and cash flows. Hey, I didn’t say every real estate investment trust. The already beaten-up shares of Partners REIT plunged after the operator of neighbourhood shopping centres posted a 31-per-cent drop in funds from operations per unit, prompting RBC analyst Michael Smith to cut the units to “underperform.” With the REIT’s payout ratio above 100 per cent, investors are shopping elsewhere.

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