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The Globe's stars and dogs for this week: MasterCard's not-so-priceless performance

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



  Jan. 31, 2014 close: $75.68 (U.S.)
  down $2.83 or 3.6% over week

How to lose money with credit cards:

1) Read your card number over the phone to the nice man who calls about a “security problem with your account;”
2) Get a credit card for your teenager to use “only in emergencies;”
3) Invest in MasterCard Inc.’s stock.

Even as the company’s global purchase volumes swelled 11 per cent in the fourth quarter, adjusted earnings missed analyst estimates, bringing the high-flying shares down a notch.

AMZN (Nasdaq)

  Jan. 31, 2014 close: $358.69 (U.S.)
  down $28.91 or 7.5% over week

You know when you get a package delivered, and when you open it you find a rotting animal carcass and a note that says “You WILL die!”? Inc. delivered a nasty surprise of its own when fourth-quarter results missed estimates, sending the stock down sharply. Seems Amazon was hit by delivery delays during the holidays, prompting it to issue gift cards and shipping refunds that dented results. Investors are cancelling their orders.

AGF Management


  Jan. 31, 2014 close: $11.40
  down $1.20 or 9.5% over week

AGF: Agony. Gastrointestinal distress. Fear.

That about sums up how investors were feeling after the asset manager’s weak fourth-quarter results prompted a selloff. With AGF’s assets plunging because of heavy institutional redemptions, Canaccord Genuity analyst Scott Chan cut the shares to “sell” and questioned the sustainability of the dividend “unless growth initiatives materialize.”

What? You mean a 9.5-per-cent yield isn’t safe?

Air Canada


  Jan. 31, 2014 close: $7.81
  down $1.42 or 15.4% over week

Looks as if Air Canada investors have developed a sudden fear of flying. After posting a 323-per-cent advance in 2013 – the biggest gain on the S&P/TSX composite index – the shares ran into heavy turbulence amid growing worries about the sinking Canadian dollar. With many of the airline’s expenses priced in U.S. currency – including planes and fuel – a falling loonie hits the bottom line hard.


FB (Nasdaq)

  Jan. 31, 2014 close: $62.57 (U.S.)
  up $8.12 or 14.9% over week

Facebook Inc. developments you may have missed this week:

1) Jenny in Akron, Ohio, posts updated pics of her ingrown toenail;
2) Dave in Cheyenne, Wyo., “likes” a candy bar he just ate;
3) Facebook shares soar after its fourth-quarter profit rises eightfold, powered by surging mobile ads.

With mobile revenue now accounting for more than half the total and more gains expected in 2014, everyone wants to “friend” Facebook.

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