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

On the rise

Boralex Inc. (BLX-T) gained ground after saying it has signed a deal to buy the 49 per cent stake in three Quebec wind farms it does not already own from the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec.

The company will pay $121.5-million in cash plus up to an additional $4-million subject to certain conditions that need to be met.

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The wind farms are located in the Avignon RCM in Gaspesie and the Appalaches RCM in eastern Quebec.

They have long-term power purchase agreements with Hydro-Quebec Distribution, expiring between 2032 and 2033.

CDPQ’s stake represents 145 MW net installed capacity and the three wind farms represent a total capacity of 296 MW.

The deal is expected to close at the end of November, subject to standard closing conditions.

See also: Canadian renewable stocks see tailwinds from global shift to green energy

Pfizer Inc. (PFE-N) was up as the company said it has applied to U.S. health regulators for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comes just days after Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE reported final trial results that showed the vaccine was 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 with no major safety concerns.

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Pfizer’s shares rose on the news that a vaccine could soon be available, raising hopes for the end of a pandemic that has claimed more than a quarter of a million lives in the United States and over 1.3 million worldwide.

The application also includes safety data on about 100 children 12-15 years of age. The company said 45 per cent of U.S. trial participants are 56-85 years old.

“Filing in the U.S. represents a critical milestone in our journey to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to the world and we now have a more complete picture of both the efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a statement.

The companies expect the FDA to grant the EUA by mid-December and said they will begin shipping doses almost immediately. Pfizer has said it expects to have 50 million vaccine doses ready this year, enough to protect 25 million people.

See also: Gap between vaccine hopes and pandemic reality poses market hazard

Equinox Gold Corp. (EQX-T) increased despite announcing its preparations to restart mining activities at its Los Filos Mine in Mexico have been suspended due to the resumption of the blockade by members of the nearby Carrizalillo community.

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“Equinox Gold continues to communicate with these individuals and hopes to achieve a long-term solution that will allow the mine to operate effectively and continue bringing benefits to its employees, contractors, suppliers and community partners,” the company said.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU-Q) was higher after it announced the promotion of Meghan Frank to the post of chief financial officer.

Lululemon says Ms. Frank will become the company’s first female CFO when she takes over the job officially on Monday.

Ms. Frank joined Lululemon in 2016 as senior vice-president of financial planning and analysis.

She has served as interim co-CFO since April when the company announced the departure of Patrick Guido from role.

Mr. Guido left Lululemon to become chief financial officer at Asbury Automotive Group Inc., an automotive retail and service company.

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Before working at Lululemon, Ms. Frank held senior roles at Ross Stores and J.Crew.

Nike Inc. (NKE-N) increased after it said on Friday it would raise its quarterly dividend by 12 per cent, or 3 US cents per share, underscoring the financial strength of the world’s largest sportswear maker in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nike in September said it expects sales in the second half of its fiscal year ending May 2021 to be “up significantly,” as it bounces back from a slump earlier this year when retailers canceled orders and lockdowns kept people away from stores in key markets.

The company’s share price, up about 30% this year, has more than doubled since its March low as it slashed costs by cutting corporate jobs and targeted online investments.

A cash dividend of 27.5 US cents per share on Nike’s outstanding class A and class B stock is payable on Dec. 29.

2020 marks Nike’s 19th consecutive year of increasing dividend payouts, after raising quarterly payments by 11 per cent in 2019, and comes as many other companies either cut or pause shareholder returns due to the virus outbreak.

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On the decline

Cineplex Inc. (CGX-T), the country’s largest exhibitor with 1,687 screens, fell Friday after announcing a multiyear deal with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, one of Hollywood’s biggest studios, for a “new dynamic window agreement” to help both companies navigate the industry-shaking effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective immediately, Universal guarantees that its titles, as well as those of its art-house division Focus Features, will have 17 days of theatrical exclusivity at Cineplex locations, after which point Universal has the option of sending its movies directly to premium video-on-demand (PVOD) platforms, including Cineplex’s online store. However, any Universal film that earns more than US$50-million on its opening weekend in North America, including such franchise fare as the Jurassic World and Fast and Furious films, must play at least 31 days before heading to PVOD.

- Barry Hertz

See also: Cinemas vs. streaming: The war for your attention

Real Matters Inc. (REAL-T) fell after reporting its fourth-quarter financial results before the bell.

The Markham, Ont.-based online mortgage services firm said EBITDA jumped 57.5 per cent year-over-year to US$22.2-million. Adjusted earnings per share of 18 US cents fell a penny below the expectation on the Street.

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The company’s board of directors also announced that it has appointed Jason Smith as Executive Chairman and Brian Lang as Chief Executive Officer.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD-Q) was down after a World Health Organization panel said on Friday remdesivir should not be used for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, regardless of how ill they are, as there is no evidence the drug improves survival or reduces the need for ventilation.

“The ... panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients,” the guideline said.

“Especially given the costs and resource implications associated with remdesivir ... the panel felt the responsibility should be on demonstrating evidence of efficacy, which is not established by the currently available data,” it added.

The advice is another setback for the drug, which grabbed worldwide attention as a potentially effective treatment for COVID-19 in the summer after early trials showed some promise.

The antiviral, known by the brand name Veklury, is one of only two medicines currently authorized to treat COVID-19 patients across the world. But a large WHO-led trial known as the Solidarity Trial showed last month that it had little or no effect on 28-day mortality.

With files from staff and wires

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