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A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today

On the rise:

Microsoft Corp. stock was up about 2 per cent in early trading on Friday following the release of better-than-expected quarterly results. The software giant’s revenue and profit both topped market forecasts. Microsoft’s net income rose to US$13.19-billion or US$1.71 per share in the fourth quarter, from US$8.87-billion or US$1.14 per share a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned US$1.37 per share, topping estimates of US$1.21 per share. Total revenue rose 12 per cent to US$33.72-billion, which was above average analysts’ estimates of US$32.77-billion.

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Boeing Co. (BA-N) shares were up 3 per cent after the company said late Thursday that said it will take a US$4.9-billion charge in the second quarter due to the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max planes after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The charge amounts to US$8.74 a share. The charge would reduce revenue and pre-tax earnings by US$5.6-billion in the quarter, the company said. "While the entire estimated amount will be recognized as a charge in the second quarter, the company expects any potential concessions or other considerations to be provided over a number of years and take various forms of economic value," it stated in a release.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX-T; GOLD-N) stock was up 1 per cent in New York after the gold miner said it has struck a deal to buy out fellow shareholders in Acacia Mining plc (ACA-L) after raising its offer to end a two-month standoff between the world’s second biggest gold miner and its African unit. Acacia shares rose about 17 per cent in early trading in London. The deal was announced hours before a regulatory deadline for Barrick to make a firm bid or walk away. Barrick spun off Acacia in 2010, but still owns a 64-per-cent stake and said earlier this year it wanted to take back full control as it sought to resolve a protracted dispute between Acacia and Tanzania over valuable mining assets.

Shares of Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD-N) rose 5 per cent in early trading after the world’s largest brewer announced it's selling its Australian operations to Japan’s Asahi for US$11-billion and could revive the stalled flotation of its Asian business as it looks to cut debt. The Belgium-based brewer, weighed down with debt after its 2016 acquisition of rival SABMiller, on Friday said it had agreed to sell Australian subsidiary Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) at an enterprise value of A$16 billion (US$11.3-billion). The sale comes only a week after AB InBev shelved an initial public offering (IPO) to sell a 15 per cent stake in its Asian operations, including Australia, citing factors including unfavourable market conditions.

Shares of Canfor Corp. (CFP-T) rose nearly 3 per cent in early trading after the forestry company announced further capacity reductions at two of its B.C. sawmills, including an indefinite curtailment at its Mackenzie sawmill and the permanent elimination of one shift at its Isle Pierre sawmill. The company cited the "high cost of fibre, continued poor lumber markets and challenging operating conditions that have combined to make the mill uneconomic under these conditions."

Pure Multi-Family REIT LP (RUF-UN-T) shares were up about 4 per cent early Friday after the REIT announced it has an agreement to be purchased by Cortland Partners LLC for US$7.61 per unit in an all-cash transaction valued at US$1.2-billion including net debt. The REIT said the offer is a premium of 15 per cent to the closing price per unit on June 26, the last trading day prior to the public announcement of an unsolicited conditional proposal. The REIT said the transaction is fully financed, not subject to due diligence, and is backstopped by Cortland with a US$50-million reverse termination fee.

Shares of The Flowr Corp. (FLWR-X) surged 23 per cent after the company announced that it has decided “at this time” to withdraw its previously announced public offering. “The company is not proceeding with the offering due to prevailing market conditions, which were not conducive to the completion of the offering on terms that would be in the best interest of Flowr’s current shareholders,” the company stated. Flowr also said it “will continue to monitor market conditions as it evaluates options to drive long-term growth.”

Well Health Technologies Corp. (WELL-X) stock rose nearly 3 per cent after the Vancouver-based company announced the acquisition of 51-per-cent of SleepWorks Medical Inc., a private Canadian corporation for $1.13-million. The remaining 49 per cent will be retained by the former principal shareholders of SleepWorks who will continue to operate the company on a post-closing basis. SleepWorks provides services in connection with the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders and the sale of equipment related to sleep disorders.

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A handful of mining stocks were up in midday trading on Friday, as copper prices ticked higher, including Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN-T) which is up nearly 5 per cent and HudBay Minerals Inc. (HBM-T), First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM-T) and Trevali Mining Corp. (TV-T), which are all up 6 per cent. The September copper contract was up 4.35 cents US at US$2.75 a pound. Copper surged to a two-month high as investors ramped up bets that U.S. interest rates will fall, which could increase demand for the red metal.

On the decline:

CannTrust Holdings Inc. fell nearly 4 per cent in early trading on Friday amid reports in The Globe and Mail that the board of has hired Bay Street law firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP and appointed U.S. sporting goods executive Robert Marcovitch to lead a special committee that is investigating how the company illegally grew 12,700 kilograms of cannabis in unlicensed facilities, and who knew about it. Federal inspectors from Health Canada are auditing Toronto-based CannTrust after discovering the company grew cannabis in five unlicensed rooms over a five-month period in its greenhouse in Pelham, Ont. Sanctions could range from penalties for management to the cancellation of the company’s cannabis production licences, which would effectively shut down the business. CannTrust’s stock price has dropped about 40 per cent since it disclosed the regulatory issues on July 8.

American Express Co. (AXP-N) shares fell 3 per cent after the company reported an 8.5-per-cent rise in second-quarter profit on Friday, boosted by higher customer spending. Net income rose to US$1.76-billion, or US$2.07 per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from US$1.62-billion, or US$1.84 per share, a year earlier, the company said. Total revenue, excluding interest expense, rose 8.4 per cent to US$10.84-billion.

-with files from wire services

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