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

On the rise

AGF Management Ltd. (AGF-B-T) jumped 6 per cent in the wake of scoring a $320-million windfall early Thursday from the planned merger of two large British money managers.

London-based Smith & Williamson, which is 33.6-per-cent owned by AGF, announced early Thursday that it will join forces with rival Tilney Group Ltd. in an transaction that will create one of Britain’s largest independent wealth managers, with £45-billion ($74-billion) in assets.

Desjardins Securities analyst Gary Ho said: “We view the transaction favourably for the following reasons: (1) Execution on monetization of non-core asset, especially after 2017’s failed merger between S&W and Rathbone, (2) gross proceeds of C$320m are above our estimate (and likely Street consensus), (3) simplifies AGF’s sum-of-the-parts valuation argument—investors had struggled with the S&W valuation, and (4) provides AGF with financial flexibility for buybacks and debt repayment, and to fund future growth which serves as a future catalyst for the stock.”

A day after its stock dropped as much as 7 per cent in the wake of Tim Hortons announcing it’s dropping the alternative protein products at thousands of Canadian locations, just three months after introducing them., Beyond Meat Inc. (BYND-Q) increased 0.6 per cent after an equity analyst initiated coverage of its stock with an “overweight” rating, seeing it well positioned to capture “a significant share of the alternative meat market."

See also: Selling the sizzle: Are high-tech veggie burgers the start of a huge new industry, or a fake-beef bubble?

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT-Q) was up 1.8 per cent in reaction to a Wednesday announcement that its board had approved a new share repurchase program of up to US$40-billion and raised its quarterly dividend.

Microsoft, which said it would hold its annual shareholders meeting on Dec. 4, also declared a quarterly dividend of 51 cents per share, 11 per cent higher than the preceding quarter.

Canfor Corp. (CFP-T) sat 0.7 per cent higher after an investment management company that controls about 4.8 per cent of its shares said it will vote against the proposal by a Jim Pattison Group company to take the lumber company private.

Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. charges in a news release the offer by Great Pacific Capital Corp. is “opportunistic and significantly undervalues the company.”

The $16 per share bid to buy the 49 per cent of Canfor that Great Pacific doesn’t already own represented an 81.8 per cent premium to the prior closing price when made in August.

Newmont Goldcorp Corp. (NGT-T), the world’s top gold producer, was up 0.7 per cent after it said on Wednesday it had offered US$25-million in community investments and land rental fees to resolve a conflict at its Penasquito gold mine in Mexico, but activists said they are unsatisfied.

Operations at the open-pit mine located in northern Zacatecas state, which produced 272,000 ounces of gold last year, have been suspended since last weekend because of a blockade by protesters.

“We have made a very generous offer of social investment, but the blockade leaders are demanding hundreds of millions of dollars in cash for themselves,” said Michael Harvey, director of external relations for Newmont Goldcorp Mexico.

See also: Newmont CEO says Goldcorp mines need three years of development, exploration work

Transcontinental Inc. (TCL-A-T) increased 0.3 per cent after announcing the sale of the majority of its specialty media assets and event planning activities to Contex Group Inc. and Newcom Media Inc.

Contex Group becomes the owner of Les Affaires, Les Affaires Plus, Les Événements Les Affaires,, Benefits Canada, Avantages, Canadian Investment Review, Canadian Institutional Investment Network and Contech, while Newcom Media is acquiring Finance et Investissement, Investment Executive, Advisor’s Edge and Conseiller.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. (TRST-T) sat 5.2 per cent higher despite the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) saying it will return products worth $1.3-million.

On Tuesday, the company’s stock plummeted almost 15 per cent Health Canada announced the suspension of its cannabis growing and processing licences, which is considered a major blow to what was once one of the most prominent and highly regarded marijuana growers in Canada.

See also: CannTrust license suspensions leave analysts puzzled over grower’s value

Dollarama Inc. (DOL-T) increased 0.5 per cent after a Wednesday after-market announcement that two insiders, GRI Investments Inc., a private corporation controlled by the Rossy family, and Neil Rossy, president and chief executive officer of the corporation, have agreed to sell 2,054,164 common shares of the discount retailer in block trades to a financial institution.

With files from staff and wires

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