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

On the rise

Hexo Corp. (HEXO-T) jumped over 9 per cent after announcing before the bell it has received its Health Canada licence amendment for sales for its manufacturing and processing facility in Belleville, Ont.

The licensing also includes the beverage production area dedicated to the Truss/HEXO beverage division.

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“Receiving the sales license for our Belleville facility is extremely positive news for HEXO and Truss, our joint-venture with Molson Coors Canada,” said HEXO CEO Sebastien St-Louis. “This license allows us to increase our processing capability significantly, achieve greater economies of scale, and continue to roll out more innovative 2.0 products across all of our brands Powered by HEXO, including hash, vapes, cannabis beverages, and other edible cannabis products.”

Blackberry Ltd. (BB-T) increased nearly 4.5 per cent after reported Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has held talks on acquiring the remaining shares of the Waterloo, Ont.-based tech company it doesn’t currently control.

According to the report, BlackBerry has responded by forming a special committee and hired bankers to assist.

See also: Fairfax Financial Holdings left behind amid market rebound

Richards Packaging Income Fund (RPI.UN-T) was 1.4 per cent higher after announcing the $64.4-million acquisition of Clarion Medical Technologies.

The deal for all of the outstanding shares of the Canadian provider of medical, aesthetic, vision care and surgical equipment and consumables was financed by a $35.0-million increase to the term credit, a $2.9-million draw down on the revolving credit, $16.0-million of cash on hand and a $10.5-million holdback from the vendors.

In a research note, Acumen Capital analyst Jim Byrne said: "We view the deal as positive for RPI given the strong growth in the medical/aesthetic clinic sector in the past. Clearly, COVID-19 has had an impact with most of the clinics closed, but we believe over the course of 2020 we should see the majority of these clinics return to operation.

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“The deal fits well within the company’s stated strategy of acquisitions to augment their revenue growth, and we anticipate the company will continue to look for further deals over the near to medium term.”

Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND-Q) rose 8.1 per cent after Yum China Holdings Inc. (YUMC-N) said on Monday it will introduce its plant-based burgers at its fast-food restaurants in mainland China starting June 3.

Beyond Burgers will be introduced as a limited-time offering at select KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations in mainland China, Yum China said in a statement.

The launch is an important step for Beyond Meat which is looking to tap the Chinese market.

The company in April partnered with Starbucks, marking an important step to expand into Asia, where meat alternative products still have not experienced the popularity boom seen in the United States and parts of Europe.

KFC will offer the burger as a three-day limited offer at five locations across the cities of Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai, Yum China said.

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Yum shares were up 1.4 per cent.

Osisko Mining Inc. (OSK-T) gained 0.8 per cent after announcing a $150-million bought deal private placement of units.

Before the bell, Osisko said it has entered into an agreement with Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Eight Capital to act as co-lead underwriters. They have agreed to purchase 41.1 million units at $3.65 each.

The net proceeds received will be used to advance its projects in Quebec, as well as for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Cosmetics maker Coty Inc. (COTY-N) increased 20.9 per cent after announcing it has appointed its Chairman Peter Harf as the chief executive officer of the company, replacing Pierre Laubies, who stepped down after less than two years in the job.

It also said it had signed a deal with investment firm KKR for a majority stake in its professional and retail hair business, including Wella, Clairol and OPI brands.

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Jimmy Choo boss Pierre Denis, who was set to replace Laubies after his departure in May, will not take up an executive position, and has also resigned from the company’s board, Coty said.

The appointment of Harf, who is also the managing partner and founder of JAB Investors, marks the company’s fourth chief executive change in less than four years.

Coty has been struggling to integrate Procter & Gamble’s beauty business, which it purchased in 2016 for about US$12-billion.

U.S. mobile game maker Zynga Inc. (ZNGA-Q) increased 5.6 per cent after revealing it will acquire Istanbul-based gaming company Peak for US$1.8-billion, the company said on Monday, in a deal that would mark the largest purchase of a Turkish startup.

The purchase includes about US$900-million in cash and about US$900-million in stock. It would boost Zynga’s daily active users by more than 60 per cent and was expected to close in the third quarter, Zynga said in a statement.

Peak’s signature games, Toy Blast and Toon Blast, are among the most popular in the United States.

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On the decline

Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED-T) plummeted over 8 per cent after a group of equity analysts downgraded its stock in response to weaker-than-anticipated quarterly results.

“We believe the stock lacks positive catalysts in the near future, and expect more attractive entry points following expected progress on significant operational initiatives,” said CIBC’s John Zamparo.

BCE Inc. (BCE-T) slipped 0.2 per cent after it announced it has agreed to sell 25 data centres at 13 locations across Canada to Equinix Inc. for $1.04-billion in cash.

The Montreal-based telecommunications company will also retain five other data centres in various cities.

Bell says the deal includes a partnership with the Equinix platform of global data centre services

Cineplex Inc. (CGX-T) was down 3.9 per cent in the wake of saying the Investment Canada Act review of its deal to be acquired by Cineworld Group has been extended to June 15.

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The review period had been set to end today.

The deadline to complete the $2.8-billion sale of the company to Cineworld is June 30.

The deal is subject to several conditions including approval under the Investment Canada Act.

Cineplex says if the conditions are not satisfied or waived by the deadline the deal will not be completed.

Lundin Gold Inc. (LUG-T) lost 3.4 per cent in the wake of saying it is moving to restart operations at its Fruta del Norte project in Ecuador after suspending operations on March 22 due to the pandemic.

The company says it has started moving supplies to the mine.

It has also instituted a strict protocol for personnel movement.

The company says a seven-day quarantine period followed by a negative test for the virus is required before an employee or contractor will be allowed to enter Fruta del Norte.

Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY-N) was down 0.3 per cent after it said on Monday first set of patients have been dosed in an early-stage trial to test its potential treatment for COVID-19, in the world’s first study of an antibody treatment against the disease.

Lilly is one of several healthcare companies looking to develop a treatment for COVID-19, which has no approved treatment or vaccine and has caused over 370,000 deaths worldwide.

The study will assess safety and tolerability in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and results are anticipated by the end of June, the company said in a statement.

The experimental treatment, LY-CoV555, has been developed through collaboration with privately held AbCellera Biologics, which Lilly partnered with in March to test antibodies to treat and prevent COVID-19.

Lilly said the antibody treatment was developed after it was identified from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from the lung illness, caused by the new coronavirus.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD-Q) was down 3.4 per cent after it said on Monday results from a study showed its antiviral drug remdesivir demonstrated significantly greater clinical improvement in patients with moderate COVID-19.

Remdesivir is being closely watched after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization on May 1, citing results from another study run by the National Institutes of Health that showed the drug reduced hospitalization stays by 31%, or about four days, compared to a placebo.

The new results announced by Gilead are from a study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of 5- and 10-day treatment with remdesivir in addition to standard of care for patients with moderate COVID-19, compared with standard care alone.

See also: Gilead trades that made millions on COVID-19 drug news raise eyebrows

Pfizer Inc. (PFE-N) fell 7.2 per cent after an independent data monitoring committee determined the drugmaker’s breast cancer treatment was unlikely to meet the main goal of a late-stage study.

The treatment, Ibrance, was being tested along with the standard of care for early breast cancer in men and women, against standard of care alone, the company said on Friday.

The study was broadly seen to have a high probability of success readout, but the early failure represents a meaningful setback for Pfizer, JP Morgan analysts said in a note, cutting its price target on the stock by US$1 to US$37.

At least three other brokerages cut their price targets on the stock.

Ibrance, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015 for metastatic breast cancer, brought in sales of US$4.96-billion in 2019.

With files from staff and wires

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