There were plenty of winners and losers this week, with a new e-commerce company soaring by better than 50 percent on its first day of trading and one of this year’s biggest losers getting slammed again after the abrupt resignation of its CEO.
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) — Winner
We’ve seen some video game companies and most mobile gaming specialists falter lately, but Take-Two Interactive was playing to win with its latest quarterly report. The company behind “Grand Theft Auto” and “Bioshock” had a blowout quarter where adjusted revenue soared 83 percent since the prior year’s period. A new game and the success of “Grand Theft Auto V” on PC helped fuel the surge in revenue.
Take-Two’s bigger surprise came on the bottom line. It came through with an adjusted profit of 49 cents a share. Analysts were settling for just 27 cents a share in earnings.
Lumber Liquidators (LL) — Loser
Things just keep getting worse for the hardwood flooring retailer. Shares of Lumber Liquidators hit a new 52-week low after its CEO stepped down. It seemed as if the chain was starting to get back on its feet after announcing that it would no longer sell China-sourced laminates earlier this month.
Lumber Liquidators has been reeling since a “60 Minutes” report in March claimed that some of the retailer’s laminates from China contained harmful levels of formaldehyde. It’s not the first time that Lumber Liquidators has drawn attention for the wrong reasons, but having its CEO unexpectedly step down now is not going to inspire the confidence of investors.
Salesforce.com (CRM) — Winner
Salesforce.com was the subject of buyout chatter earlier in the month, and if someone still wants to snap up the fast-growing provider of cloud-based enterprise software solutions, it’s going to have to pay up.
Salesforce.com posted better-than-expected quarterly results Wednesday, boosting its guidance along the way. At least seven different analysts boosted their price targets on the stock following the report. Salesforce.com is feeling pretty confident, even bragging about some of the customers it’s been winning over from rival platforms during Wednesday night’s earnings call.
Carl Icahn — Loser
It’s hard to call Icahn a “loser” without realizing that he is a winner in life. The activist trader is a billionaire, largely on savvy trades and activist positions that he has taken over his nearly eight decades of life.
However, Icahn did get caught in a rare stumble this week. He kicked off the week by publishing an open letter to Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook on why the stock will hit $240. It’s an ambitious target for the world’s most valuable consumer tech company, assuming that it will nearly double in value. He’s entitled to his opinion, and he’s already made a huge paper profit on the investment. However, part of his valuation argument is that Apple will be rolling out full-blown high-def televisions next year. The open letter was released just as a Wall Street Journal story was pointing out that Apple had quietly abandoned plans to enter the HDTV market.
Shopify (SHOP) — Winner
The IPO pipeline is still gushing. Shopify went public Thursday. The e-commerce provider priced its offering at $17, and it wasn’t enough. The stock closed 51 percent higher on its first day of trading.
A whopping 165,000 small and medium-size businesses rely on Shopify’s cloud-based platform to help them design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels. Shopify isn’t profitable, but revenue more than doubled last year. Investors will forgive red ink if it’s being sacrificed for the sake of strong growth.