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Inside the Market’s roundup of some of today’s key analyst actions

Barclays analyst John Aiken thinks a credit tailwind may once again drive stronger-than-expected third-quarter for Canada’s Big 6 banks.

However, in a research report released Friday, he warned capital markets revenues are likely to moderate in what is normally seasonally weak period.

“Heading into Q3, we believe that the ‘X factors’ of credit and CMRev that drove better-than-expected results in H1-21, will likely be more varied,” said Mr. Aiken. “While continued improvement of macro fundamentals could buoy credit loss scenarios, industry league tables suggest underwriting and M&A moderated from a strong Q2. Although home sales have ebbed from record highs, sales remain elevated and will likely continue to support positive mortgage and asset growth. Margins could be tested amidst a flattening yield curve, but buoyed by three added days in the quarter, we expect net interest income will strengthen sequentially, while NIX will likely edge higher from the longer quarter. And finally, on the capital front, with OSFI’s capital moratorium still in place, we anticipate no change to dividends and for share buybacks to remain nil in Q3.

The analyst expects the sector’s credit performance “could stay resilient and still surprise to the upside,” noting: “While we maintain that higher impaired credit losses are still forthcoming, extended government support programs, with the ongoing recovery of the economy and employment levels, we anticipate the banks’ forward-looking scenarios have likely improved. As a result, we believe credit could continue to showcase resiliency, and it remains as one of the ‘X factors’ in determining relative earnings outperformance in the quarter.

Ahead of earnings season, he made a series of target price changes to bank stocks. His changes include:

  • Bank of Montreal (BMO-T, “underweight”) to $127 from $126. The average on the Street is $133.74.
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM-T, “overweight”) to $157 from $150. Average: $152.96.
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RY-T, “overweight”) to $142 from $137. Average: $135.42.
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD-T, “equalweight”) to $91 from $90. Average: $92.30.

“While OSFI’s recent increase to the domestic stability buffer suggests the regulator is increasingly confident in its outlook, the freeze on dividend hikes and share buybacks activity remains,” said the analyst. “However, we believe the group remains poised to return capital as soon as the signal is given, potentially by the end of the fiscal year.”

“After hitting recent record highs, the ‘Big 6’ is now trading at roughly 11.0 times (vs. historical average of 11.2 times). As the economy continues to strengthen, we believe the improving macro outlook should remain supportive for banks’ valuations.”


Investors’ muted response to Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd.’s (CTC.A-T) better-than-anticipated second-quarter results was due largely to concern over same-store sales growth for the remainder of 2021, according to BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Peter Sklar.

Shares of the retailer rose a mere 0.04 per cent on Thursday following the premarket release, which saw an earnings per share beat of $3.72 (versus Mr. Sklar’s $3.06 estimate and consensus forecast of $2.84.)

“Due to the unusually high COVID-19 induced sales levels in last year’s quarters the company is now likely in a period where the Canadian Tire banner will have negative same-store sales for a number of consecutive quarters extending into 2022,” said the analyst. “For Q2/21, the Canadian Tire banner reported negative 2-per-cent same-store sales, and given the strong comps in Q3/20 (up 25 per cent), Q4/20 (up 13 per cent), and Q1/21 (up 19 per cent), it is likely that the banner will report a number of quarters of negative same-store sales for the balance of 2021 and into 2022. So, we believe [Thursday’s] stock action highlights the issue of whether the stock can appreciate during a period of negative same-store sales, notwithstanding that earnings are likely to remain at an elevated level.”

With the earnings beat, which featured strong performances in both retail and financial services, Mr. Sklar saw a positive tone emerging from the company, noting: “1) Management said that retail sales in Q3/21 to date are at same levels as last year’s comparable period. This is surprisingly strong as the core Canadian Tire banner had a very high 25-per-cent comp last year, setting a very high hurdle. We suspect that Canadian Tire is comping slightly negative and that SportChek and Mark’s are having strong positive comps. 2) No supply-chain disruptions as the company has built up big inventories in anticipation, has strong relations with suppliers, and for the first time ever chartered its own ships.”

Keeping a “market perform” rating, Mr. Sklar trimmed his target for Canadian Tire shares to $216 from $223. The average on the Street is $226.

“While we believe Canadian Tire will continue to generate operating leverage through improved merchandising efforts while controlling costs across all retail banners, we believe improvement in investor sentiment is unlikely,” he said.

Elsewhere, others making target changes include:

* Scotia Capital’s Patricia Baker to $250 from $242 with a “sector outperform” rating.

“There is no doubt that the pandemic and the consequent shift in consumer spending patterns has favoured CTC.A’s assortment. We view the share gains through COVID as sustainable for CTC.A’s retail banners, and its position now as a true omnichannel player will favour its performance in the marketplace,” said Ms. Baker.

* RBC’s Irene Nattel $251 from $232 with an “outperform” rating.

“CTC delivered exceptional Q2 performance, with results that underscore its positioning as a destination retailer of choice for Canadian consumers. We remain highly constructive on the outlook, underpinned by pentup consumer demand, dealer replenishment, strong engagement on digital platforms, ongoing penetration and maturation of Triangle Rewards, augmented by beneficial impact of a strong residential real estate market,” said Ms. Nattel.


Following a second-quarter earnings miss and lower reinstated guidance, Desjardins Securities analyst David Newman downgraded Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund (CHE.UN-T), pointing to a series of near-term headwinds.

“CHE reported 2Q EBITDA of $65-million, a slight miss vs our estimate of $67-million (consensus of $67-million), challenged by (1) the stronger C$ impacting every operating segment; (2) slow recovery in ultra-pure acid (customer loss); (3) weakness in sodium chlorate due to less paper usage; and (4) WSSC raw material pressures,” he said. “This was partially offset by (1) higher regen demand from increased driving activity leading to surging gasoline consumption; (2) CEWS and CERS benefits; and (3) lower corporate costs.”

With its earnings, Chemtrade issued EBITDA guidance for 2021 of $245-$260-million, leading Mr. Newman to reduce his estimate to $255-million from $287-million based on a series of near-term headwinds, including: the impact of a stronger Canadian dollar, the fallout from the strike at Vale’s Sudbury plan and higher raw material costs for its Water Solutions & Specialty Chemicals business.

“Despite the lower-than-expected guidance, CHE noted encouraging progress across its three growth pillars (market recovery in EC and regen acid; organic growth in ultra-pure acid, water solutions and hydrogen; and operational excellence). It is bridging the gap toward mid-cycle EBITDA of $300–350-million with the recovery in caustic soda,” he said.

Moving the stock to “hold” from “buy,” Mr. Newman cut his target to $8 from $12. The average on the Street is currently $8.69.

“We will revisit our recommendation following an expected weaker 3Q period and a strong recovery in 4Q,” he added.

Others making adjustments include:

* Scotia Capital’s Ben Isaacson to $6.25 from $7 with a “sector underperform” rating.

“In short, while CHE.un continues to recover we prefer to focus on names with better risk/reward opportunities. We suggest investors switch out of CHE.un for now,” he said.

* BMO Nesbitt Burns’ Joel Jackson to $7 from $7.50 with a “market perform” rating.


Believing Cineplex Inc. (CGX-T) has “finally turned the corner,” Scotia Capital analyst Jeff Fan upgraded its shares to “sector outperform” from “sector perform” on Friday.

“The most important data point from the results was not related to Q2 but to Q3: CGX management indicated that for the month of July, CGX did not burn any cash, even though theaters were only open at limited capacity (and limited film slate) for about half the month,” he said. “They also experienced attendance level of 55 per cent vs. the same period in 2019 and they expect 80 per cent by Q4. This compares to our prior 50-per-cent and 85-per-cent estimates, respectively.”

Getting “more comfortable” about the company’s direction heading into the second half of 2021, Mr. Fan raised his target for Cineplex shares to $20 from $12 and above the $15.64 average.

“We believe as confidence in the re-opening builds, valuation will revisit the 15 times EV/EBITDA multiple achieved in February and March of this year before the pandemic third wave caused additional lockdowns,” he said. “We do not believe the government will implement another lock-down given the high vaccination rates and the media reports of an election in September.”

Elsewhere, RBC’s Drew McReynolds raised his target to $13 from $11 with a “sector perform” rating.


Emphasizing “encouraging outlooks on both sides of the border,” Raymond James analyst Andrew Bradford raised his rating for Step Energy Services Ltd. (STEP-T) to “outperform” from “market perform.”

After the bell on Wednesday, the Calgary-based company reported adjusted EBITDA of $11.7-million, easily exceeding the Street’s $7-million forecast. Mr. Bradford also saw a “respectable” beat when the impact of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is removed, lowering the result to $9.8-milion.

“Canada was by far STEP’s most profitable segment, generating just under 95 per cent of 2Q EBITDA,” he said “2Q21 was a constructive quarter for Canadian fracturing companies from a demand perspective and in STEP’s case, it also showcased a meaningfully reduced cost structure. Of note, STEP’s 2Q Canadian fracturing revenue kept pace with its larger competitors and its fully-costed margin was among the best in class.

“The U.S. largely performed in-line with expectations, which is to say, marginally EBITDA-positive for the first time since 1Q20 (though not EBITDA-positive if we allocate corporate costs on a prorate basis). Investors may have reasonable expectations for U.S. fracturing revenue and EBITDA to continue improving as STEP converted 52,250 horsepower to dual fuel capabilities during the quarter, thus improving marketability to ESG-conscious customers. STEP also approved a $5.4-million capex increase, mostly related to the planned reactivation of a 3rd U.S. fracturing crew.”

After raising his earnings expectations, Mr. Bradford raised his target for Step shares to $2.50 from $2. The average on the Street is $2.46.

“STEP’s stock has low liquidity and can consequently cover a lot of ground in short order. STEP’s Canadian outlook is constructive in terms of both demand and pricing - both of which are consistent with our own read of the macro trends. Further, STEP’s US coil tubing and fracturing businesses turned into profitability in 2Q and demand is picking up sufficiently for STEP to reactivate a 3rd US frack crew. On this basis, we believe STEP stock will trend upward over the coming weeks and months,” he said.

Elswhere, Stifel analyst Cole Pereira raised his rating to “buy” from “hold” with a $2.25 target, up from $1.90.

“STEP’s quarterly results and recent credit facility re-negotiations reaffirm our view that: (1) its Canadian earnings power is stronger than expected; (2) a positive outlook for both its Canadian and U.S. segments should lead to improved financial results in 2H21; and (3) its improved earnings power and loosened debt covenants have sufficiently mitigated its balance sheet risk from an investment perspective,” said Mr. Pereira. “We continue to prefer TCW for exposure to pressure pumping, but STEP remains a higher-risk, higher-reward investment idea given the significant earnings power in fracturing during a recovery and its leverage profile. Longer term, if North American activity returns to full-cycle levels (i.e., 750 rigs in the U.S. and 180 on average in Canada), we believe the stock could be a multi-bagger, but acknowledge its risk profile is also more elevated.”


Citi analyst Stephen Trent thinks the market “seems to have underestimated” Bombardier Inc.’s (BBD.B-T) earnings power.

In a research note released Friday, he said an increase to the Montreal-based company’s 2021 guidance provides “a strong indication that the company can meet/exceed its operational cash flow targets.”

“The street might underappreciate the company’s potential Global 7500 production learning curve improvements, while successive debt tenders seem to have reduced the company’s debt costs and increased the average tenor of such liabilities,” he said.

“Moving forward, Citi sees significant EBITDA growth for Bombardier, on the back of the years-long business simplification that included spinoffs of the commercial aero and transportation divisions, as well as growing momentum for the company’s ultra-long-range Global 7500 business jets. In addition to Bombardier moving up the production learning curve on the latter program, management’s efforts in remarketing pre-owned aircraft have also exceeded our previous expectations. From 2020 to 2025, Citi’s estimates entail Bombardier posting an EBITDA CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 41 per cent. Even disregarding 2020s easy denominator, the 2021-2025 EBITDA CAGR still comes in at an attractive 28 per cent.”

After incorporating Bombardier’s expectation for higher jet deliveries into his financial estimates, he raised his target for the company’s shares to $2.20 from $1.20. The average is $1.62.

“Against this backdrop, the shares’ sharp, short-term rise might mean a transition into a share price consolidation period. As such, Citi maintains its Buy/High Risk rating on Bombardier,” he said.


In other analyst actions:

* National Bank Financial analyst Maxim Sytchev raised Autocanada Inc. (ACQ-T) to “outperform” from “sector perform” and increased his target to $64 from $45. Others making target changes include: CIBC’s Krista Friesen to $54 from $50 with a “neutral” rating; Stifel’s Maggie MacDougall to $64.50 from $55 with a “buy” rating, Scotia’s Michael Doumet to $65 from $55 with a “sector outperform” rating and Acumen’s Trevor Reynolds to $68 from $51.50 with a “buy” rating. The average is $61.36.

* National Bank’s Jonathan Eglio downgraded Lundin Gold Inc. (LUG-T) to “sector perform” from “outperform” with a $13.75 target, down from $14.75 and below the $14.86 average.

* National Bank Financial’s Michael Robertson cut Ag Growth International Inc. (AFN-T) to “sector perform” from “outperform” with a $35 target, down from $46. Others making changes include: RBC’s Andrew Wong to $40 from $54 with an “outperform” rating; CIBC’s Jacob Bout to $45 from $50 with an “outperformer” rating and Scotia Capital’s Michael Doumet to $40 from $48 with a “sector perform” rating. The average is $50.50.

* TD Securities analyst Aaron MacNeil cut Xebec Adsorption Inc. (XBC-T) to “hold” from “speculative buy” with a $3.50 target, down from $6 and lower than the $5.23 average, while Raymond James’ David Quezada lowered the stock to “market perform” from “outperform” with a $5 target, down from $6.

“We see much to like in XBC including : 1) Strong early uptake for the BioStream RNG unit; 2) solid performance in the company’s hydrogen, oxygen and services segments: and 3) a relatively attractive valuation vs. industrial gas and clean tech peers. That said, we are moving to a Market Perform rating until the legacy RNG contracts that have hampered results in recent quarters are firmly in the rearview and we see progress on the company’s ongoing BioStream production ramp up,” said Mr. Quezada.

* CFRA downgraded Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV-T) to “hold” from “buy” with a $209 target, down from $227 and below the $202.70 average.

* RBC’s Walter Spracklin moved his Chorus Aviation Inc. (CHR-T) target to $4.75 from $5.50. Others making changes include: BMO’s Fadi Chamoun to $5.40 from $5.75 with an “outperform” rating; CIBC’s Kevin Chiang to $5.50 from $5.75 with an “outperformer” rating; Canaccord’s Matthew Lee to $5 from $5.50 with a “buy” rating and Scotia Capital’s Konark Gupta to $4.75 from $5 with a “sector perform” rating. The average is $5.38.

“While FX, leasing headwinds, and the Controllable Cost Guardrail impacted Q2 performance, we think the key takeaway from the results and conference call was mgmt’s more cautious tone around pursuing opportunities to grow its regional leasing division. We had previously baked-in a material amount of growth under the assumption that CHR would be aggressive and meaningfully grow the segment during the next 12-18 months. However, that appears less likely now, and we have taken down our estimates as a result,” said Mr. Spracklin.

* RBC Dominion Securities analyst Geoffrey Kwan lowered Fiera Capital Corp. (FSZ-T) to “sector perform” from “outperform” with a $12 target, falling 3 cents below the consensus, while Desjardins Securities’ Gary Ho lowered his target to $12.50 from $12.75 with a “buy” rating.

“Our forecasts are largely unchanged and with the improvement in the share price in the past few months, we see the shares as fairly valued (7.8 times our 2022 EPS forecast, average vs. peers and fair given Fiera’s fundamentals relative to peers) and with an implied total return that is more in line with the average of our coverage universe, we reduce our rating to Sector Perform, but maintain our $12 target,” said Mr. Kwan. “We view the risk-reward set-up as more balanced as Fiera continues to make good progress delivering adjusted EBITDA margins of 30 per cent (or higher) which is important, but net sales performance has been a bit mixed and the recent Global Equity team departure/sub-advisory announcement adds incremental risk to the relationship with Fiera given they manage 1/3 of Fiera’s AUM. Sustained signs of positive net sales could make us more positive on the stock again and we think there could be substantial upside in the stock if meaningful EBITDA margin expansion occurred in tandem with this.”

* Mr. Kwan raised his Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (BAM.A-T, BAM-N) target to US$65 from US$59 with an “outperform” rating, while BMO’s Sohrab Movahedi bumped up his target to US$61 from US$57 with an “outperform” rating. The average is $62.37.

“The 3 key takeaways are: (1) with BPY Coming Back to BAM Now, BAM is starting its plan to grow and surface value within the portfolio; (2) the combination of a very favorable fundraising environment plus acquisitions that could significantly increase management fee revenues are positives for Fee Related Earnings (FRE) growth; and (3) despite hitting its US$1-billion realized carried interest target for 2021 already, BAM may only be 50 per cent done with its planned monetizations for this year, which could drive sustained elevated realized carried interest in the near term,” Mr. Kwan said. “While BAM’s share price has improved recently, the shares significantly underperformed U.S. peers this year and this could be a potential driver of further valuation upside in the near term by narrowing the valuation discount, particularly given BAM’s positive fundamentals.”

* Piper Sandler analyst Ian Macpherson raised his Precision Drilling Corp. (PDS-N, PD-T) to US$47.50 from US$42 with a “neutral” recommendation. The average is currently $53.93.

* RBC’s Irene Nattel bumped up her Pet Valu Holdings Ltd. (PET-T) target to $32 from $29 with a “sector perform” rating, while CIBC’s Mark Petrie raised his target to $34 from $32 with an “outperformer” recommendation.

“Pet Valu delivered strong Q2 results and provided a full-year outlook, which were both well ahead of expectations. We believe that PET is well-positioned to deliver strong growth supported by robust industry growth and multiple company-specific levers including new stores, added services, improved digital experience, leveraging loyalty program and owned brands,” said Mr. Petrie.

* Mr. Spracklin raised his Andlauer Healthcare Group Inc. (AND-T) target to $48 from $46 with an “outperform” rating, while CIBC’s Kevin Chiang raised his target to $49 from $44 with a “sector perform” rating and TD Securities’ Tim James bumped up his target to $49 from $44 with a “hold” rating. The average is $46.17.

“Q2 results were solid on the back of better than expected margins - and key in our view is that margins appear sustainable reflecting lower facility costs of recent acquisitions. Moreover, organic growth trends remain intact, and we continue to view the long-term outlook positively. However, M&A activity is expected to remain subdued in the near-term as management focuses on execution, but we highlight longer term opportunities that we expect to drive growth in 2022. Despite the recent run in the shares, we continue to like AND at these levels,” said Mr. Spracklin.

* RBC’s Sabahat Khan slashed his Mav Beauty Brands Inc. (MAV-T) target to $3 from $5 with a “sector perform” rating, while National Bank’s Vishal Shreehar cut his target to $4.50 from $6 with a “sector perform” rating. The average is $4.90.

“The lower-than-expected results reflected a shortfall on the top-line and on margins. Looking ahead, we have lowered our forecasts to reflect the continuation of some recent headwinds. We also expect the management change to lead to a transition period over the coming months whereby the new CEO/CFO will likely undertake a review of the business (which limits the potential for a material change in the outlook until the review is complete),” said Mr. Khan.

* Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley cut his target for Sierra Wireless Inc. (SWIR-Q, SW-T) to US$24 from US$26, keeping a “buy” rating, while Raymond James’ Steven Li lowered his target to US$18 from US$19 with a “market perform” rating. The average is US$20.90.

“A good 2Q but focus is on disruptions SWIR is experiencing at its contract manufacturing facility in Vietnam due to COVID-19 cases,” said Mr. Li. “Manufacturing output has been minimal thus far in the quarter, which significantly impairs SWIR’s ability to service customers. In the note, we detail our expected impact on revenues, profits and cash burn in the upcoming 3Q, as well as potential impact on 4Q.”

* Canaccord’s John Bereznicki raised his Superior Plus Corp. (SPB-T) target to $17 from $16.50 with a “hold” rating, while CIBC’s Jacob Bout bumped up his target to $16 from $15 with a “neutral” rating. The current average is $16.44.

“In its seasonally slow period, SPB reported Q2/21 results that were only slightly behind expectations and provided updated 2021 adjusted EBITDA guidance that was also slightly below the market expectations,” said Mr. Bout. “SPB has been busy on the M&A front, with $600-million spent on acquisitions this year (nearly a third of SPB’s $1.9-billion by 2026 target), bringing the pro-forma leverage ratio slightly above management’s target range. While the pipeline of potential U.S. retail acquisitions is immense, we could see a temporary pause as leverage returns to more normalized levels

* Canaccord’s Derek Dley lowered his Kits Eyecare Ltd. (KITS-T) target to $11 from $17, maintaining a “buy” rating, while Scotia Capital’s George Doumet trimmed his target to $7.50 from $10.50 with a “sector outperform” rating. The average is $10.50.

* Mr. Dley lowered his Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (CWEB-T) target to $7 from $7.75, above the $5.82 average, with a “buy” rating.

* Cannaccord’s Brendon Abrams cut his Inovalis Real Estate Investment Trust (INO.UN-T) target to $10.25 from $10.50, exceeding the $9.75 average. He kept a “hold” rating.

* CIBC’s Dean Wilkinson raised his Tricon Residential Inc. (TCN-T) target by $1 to $17 with an “outperformer” rating, while Scotia Capital’s Mario Saric bumped up his target to $17.50 from $15.25 with a “sector outperform” rating and BMO’s Stephen MacLeod increased his target to $18 from $16 with an “outperform” rating. The average is $16.72.

“We believe Tricon has multi-year growth opportunities for FFO and BVPS, while leveraging third-party capital to drive ROE. SFR demand remains strong, and Tricon sees a path to double the size of its portfolio over three years,” said Mr. MacLeod. “Complementing this is value creation opportunities in MFR and development. Tricon is well-positioned for growth following $2-billion year-to-date third-party capital raises, with sufficient liquidity, favourable tailwinds (incl. above-average employment and population growth in Sun Belt markets), and ability to leverage multi-year technology investments.”

* Mr. Wilkinson increased his SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust (SRU.UN-T) target to $33 from $31 with an “outperformer” rating. The average is $31.19.

* CIBC’s Mark Jarvi trimmed his Northland Power Inc. (NPI-T) target by $1 to $46 with an “outperformer” rating, while Credit Suisse’s Andrew Kuske cut his target to $52 from $54 with an “outperform” recommendation. The average is $49.33.

“In our view, NPI is making progress on dealing with the duration dilemma of the longer-term offshore wind projects and the backfilling of cash flows for the near-term,” said Mr. Kuske. “Beyond these actions, we continue to focus on advancements of the development pipeline along with some of the significant strategic questions regarding the organizational structure along with prospective business mix. In any event, we continue to believe rather compelling value exists with the stock.”

* CIBC’s Stephanie Price hiked her Docebo Inc. (DCBO-T) target to $95 from $83, exceeding the $89.57 average with an “outperformer” rating. Others making changes include: Scotia Capital’s Paul Steep to US$73 from US$59 with a “sector perform” rating and TD Securities’ Daniel Chan to $100 from $90 with a “buy” rating.

“Our thesis on DCBO remains that the long-term opportunity depends largely on the company’s ability to sustain or accelerate its organic growth, as it continues to invest in growing its sales resources to drive growth in North America and Europe over the medium term. We continue to see M&A as having potential to drive value as well as management’s ability to maintain the firm as a ‘Rule of 40′ SaaS company,” said Mr. Steep.

* CIBC’s Scott Fromson raised his Automotive Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (APR.UN-T) target to $14.25 from $13.50 with an “outperformer” rating, while Raymond James’ Brad Sturges increased his target to $13.50 from $13 with an “outperform” rating. The average is $13.20.

* Scotia Capital analyst Mark Neville raised his Neo Performance Materials Inc. (NEO-T) target to $28 from $27 with a “sector outperform” rating. The average is $26.75.

* Desjardins Securities analyst Frederic Tremblay raised his Savaria Corp. (SIS-T) target by $1 to $25 with a “buy” rating, while Stifel’s Justin Keywood bumped his target to $25 from $23 with a “buy” rating..The average is $24.13.

“A slight beat in 2Q, which featured a solid start for the Handicare acquisition and a nice rebound in organic growth, reinforced our constructive thesis. Savaria looks well-positioned to build on its current momentum, thanks to an impressive product portfolio, the recent game-changing acquisition of Handicare, well-targeted internal initiatives and the unabated age-at-home tailwind,” said Mr. Tremblay.

* Desjardins’ Kyle Stanley increased his Nexus Real Estate Investment Trust (NXR.UN-T) target to $13 from $11, exceeding the $12.44 average, with a “buy” rating, while Raymond James’ Brad Sturges bumped up his target to $13.50 from $12 with a “strong buy” rating.

“Despite generating a 62-per-cent year-to-date total return (vs 28 per cent for the TSX REIT index), we believe upside remains as NXR should continue benefiting from multiple re-rating toward industrial peers,” he said.

* BMO Nesbitt Burns’ John Gibson and National Bank’s Michael Robertson raised their targets for CES Energy Solutions Corp. (CEU-T) to $2.75 from $2.50 with “outperform” recommendations. The average is $2.89.

* BMO’s Stephen MacLeod raised his Altus Group Ltd. (AIF-T) target to $73 from $63 with an “outperform” rating. The average is $67.

“Momentum at Altus Analytics continues to be strong, as the company leverages its technology products to offer a robust global data and analytics platform, along with independence to global commercial real estate owners—the need for which we expect to accelerate,” he said.

* scotia’s Paul Steep bumped his target for Alithya Group Inc. (ALYA-T) shares to $3.50 from $3.25 with a “sector perform” rating. The average is $2.46.

“Alithya reported Q1 results with revenues and EBITDA ahead of SCI and Street expectations, driven by both organic revenue growth reflecting recovering activity levels and new client wins along with contributions from R3D Consulting Inc. (now Alithya IT Services Inc.), which was acquired on April 1, 2021,” said Mr. Steep. “We view these results as trending positively for the firm overall as the business environment improves and Alithya benefits from digital transformation demand.

“We view Alithya as an emerging IT services provider that is pursuing an active M&A strategy in building out a mid-market IT services firm. A key factor for the stock that we will be monitoring over the coming quarters is the firm’s progress on integrating and leveraging R3D’s operations.”

* CIBC World Markets’ Nik Priebe raised his target for Guardian Capital Group Ltd. (GCG.A-T) to $44, matching the consensus, from $40 with an “outperformer” rating.

“Guardian continues to print impressive growth from its two primary operating segments (i.e., investment management and the MGA business). Operating earnings increased 58 per cent year-over-year, and the company achieved new highs across a variety of important metrics. Despite the accelerated trajectory of earnings growth, Guardian’s stock continues to trade at a significant discount to its sum-of-the-parts value, in our view,” said Mr. Priebe.

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