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

On the rise

Tesla Inc. (TSLA-Q) soared almost 20 per cent to a record high on Monday after Japan’s Panasonic Corp. reported the first-ever quarterly profit in its U.S. battery business with Tesla after several years of production woes and delays.

China’s top electric vehicle battery maker CATL said on Monday it has signed a battery supply agreement with Tesla.

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Tesla will determine the battery purchase volume between July 2020 to June 2021, according to its own needs, CATL said in a stock exchange filing, adding the agreement does not impose restrictions on Tesla’s purchase volume.

Before the bell, Argus Research analyst Bill Selesky raised his target for Tesla shares to US$808 from US$556 and maintained a “buy” rating. The average target on the Street is currently US$441.10.

“Our positive view assumes continued revenue growth from the legacy Model S and Model X, as well as strong demand for the new Model 3, which accounted for more than 80% of 4Q19 production,” Mr. Selesky said.

See also: $612? $240? Bulls and bears explain their takes on Tesla

Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK-B-T) was 0.7 per cent higher after announcing it has set a goal to be carbon neutral across all of its operations by 2050, a pledge unveiled as the Canadian mining giant seeks federal government approval for its undeveloped Frontier oil sands project.

Teck largely operates in Canada and Chile and both countries have signed the Paris Agreement, which includes a goal to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to zero by around 2050, in order to limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C above preindustrial levels.

However, Teck’s plan, to be announced Monday, comes amid a political firestorm as Ottawa mulls approval of the Frontier project.Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said blocking the project would damage Alberta, and would also signal that the federal government is intent on shutting down the oil sands. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must weigh whether approval of the project would go against his government’s climate agenda.

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- Tim Kiladze

See also: Trudeau faces a no-win decision on proposed Teck oil sands mine in northern Alberta

Oracle Corp. (ORCL-N) increased 1.2 per cent after revealing on Monday it had added new cloud computing data centers in five countries and aims to have them in 36 locations by the end of 2020, as it races with Amazon.com and Microsoft Corp for market share.

After a rocky start in the cloud business, Oracle, a longtime business software provider, is rolling out its second generation of cloud systems, in which it operates data centers and customers rent capacity from it.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are the two top players with more than two-thirds of the global market in 2019, according to Forrester Research, but Oracle is trying to win customers by extending its geographical reach.

Aecon Group Inc. (ARE-T) was up 0.9 per cent after announcing it has signed a deal to acquire Voltage Power, an electrical transmission and substation contractor based in Winnipeg.

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Under deal, Aecon will pay $30-million in cash, with additional payments possible based on achieving minimum financial targets over the next three years.

In a research note, Desjardins Securities analyst Benoit Poirier said: "e are pleased with the tuck-in acquisition of Voltage Power as it should enable ARE to solidify its electrical transmission offering with medium- to high-voltage power transmission and distribution capabilities. We also like the strong EBITDA margins (13.3 per cent vs ARE’s 6.7-per-cent last 12-month [LTM] margin) and attractive valuation multiple (3.75 times average three-year EBITDA vs ARE’s 5.7 times EV/LTM EBITDA).

We do not expect this transaction to materially affect ARE’s balance sheet (net debt to EBITDA of 1.7 times including convertible debentures as of 3Q19) and believe that management will continue looking for attractive M&A opportunities."

Brookfield Property Partners LP (BPY-UN-T) was 0.9 per cent higher amid news it is part of a consortium of buyers, including mall owners Simon Property Group, that are bidding US $81-million for Forever 21, the ubiquitous mall staple that filed for bankruptcy protection in September.

Simon and Brookfield are Forever 21’s biggest landlords. The other bidder is Authentic Brands Group, which has acquired the licensing rights to other troubled retailers like Barneys New York.

Forever 21, based in Los Angeles, is a privately held company founded by the Chang family. It joined a rapidly growing list of retailers that have fallen victim to changing shopping behaviours and preferences among teens who have increasingly turned away from malls in favour of online brands, or thrift stores.

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Forever 21’s bankruptcy marked a dramatic fall for the retailer. The company was founded in 1984 and, along with other fast-fashion chains like H&M and Zara, rode a wave of popularity among young shoppers that took off in the mid-1990s. It had the market heft to win over customers from traditional stalwarts like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD-Q) shares jumped 5 per cent after the drugmaker said it has provided its experimental Ebola therapy for use in a small number of patients affected by the coronavirus in China.

Late Friday, the California-based company said: “Gilead is working closely with global health authorities to respond to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak through the appropriate experimental use of our investigational compound remdesivir. Together with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the China CDC and National Medical Product Administration (NMPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and along with individual researchers and clinicians, Gilead is focused on contributing our antiviral expertise and resources to help patients and communities fighting 2019-nCoV.”

On the decline

Cineplex Inc. (CGX-T) finished narrowly lower after it announced that it didn’t receive a superior proposal to the $34-per-share offer from Cineworld Group PLC during the “go-shop” period.

During the seven-week go-shop period, Cineplex said its financial advisor, Scotiabank, contacted 52 potential buyers. It said three of the potential buyers entered into confidentiality agreements and were granted access to non-public information about Cineplex, but the company said it didn't receive a superior proposal.

See also: U.K.'s Cineworld acquires Cineplex in $2-2-billion deal

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With files from Brenda Bouw, staff and wires

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