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

On the decline

Carnival Corp. (CCL-N) dropped almost 32 per cent after its Princess Cruises, the operator of two coronavirus-stricken ships, said on Thursday it would suspend global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months due to the outbreak.

The cruise line said the suspension was out of abundance of caution.

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Leisure airline Transat AT (TRZ-T) plummeted 16.9 per cent after saying a slump in holiday bookings that began in late February amid the Covid-19 outbreak has become much worse in recent days.

Montreal-based Transat said it has consolidated flights and taken other measures to cut costs and preserve cash flow but cannot provide a financial outlook for the second quarter or summer travel season.

Airlines around the world have cancelled routes and parked planes as governments order quarantines and tell people to avoid large gatherings and travel to stricken regions as they wrestle to contain Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the current situation, it is impossible to predict the effect on future bookings,” Transat said in a statement on Thursday morning accompanying its first-quarter financial results.

Transat’s loss narrowed to $33-million, or 90 cents a share, in the three months ending Jan. 31, compared with $53-million ($1.41) in the same period a year ago. Revenues were $690-million, up by 7 per cent.

Air Canada (AC-T) shares were down 9.1 per cent.

- Eric Atkins

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Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B-T) was down 22.9 per cent after a major shakeup of leadership positions, including Alain Bellemare’s departure as chief executive.

Five years after being hired to pull the ailing plane and train maker out of its slide, Mr. Bellemare will be replaced by Hydro-Québec CEO Éric Martel as of April 6, Bombardier said in a news release late Wednesday. Bombardier said its board unanimously concluded that it was the appropriate time for a new leader to take the helm.

“Éric is the right leader at the right time for Bombardier as the company is completing its turnaround plan and focusing on growing its leading business aviation franchise,” Bombardier chairman Pierre Beaudoin said in the release. “He is an engaging builder with a deep understanding of our organization and product portfolio as well as of the global business aircraft industry.”

- Nicolas Van Praet

Quebecor Inc. (QBR.B-T) was 10.6 per cent lower after it raised its dividend alongside higher fourth-quarter profit.

The company says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, up from 11.25 cents. For the fourth quarter, Quebecor reported net income attributable to shareholders of $145.1-million or 57 cents per share, up from $117.5-million or 46 cents per share in the same period in 2018. Revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 totalled nearly $1.14-billion, up from nearly $1.09-billion in the same period a year earlier.

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Empire Co. Ltd. (EMP-A-T) lost 16 per cent in the wake of reporting it earned $120.5-million in its latest quarter, up from $65.8-million in the same period a year earlier.

The parent company of Sobeys and Safeway grocery stores says the profit amounted to 45 cents per diluted share for the 13-week period ended Feb. 1 compared with 24 cents per share a year earlier.

Dorel Industries Inc. (DII.B-T) slid 24.7 per cent after saying its suppliers based in China delayed re-opening following the Chinese New Year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with production delayed by two weeks in most cases.

It says the temporary lack of workers disrupted its supply chain for several weeks and, while most factories in the country are now back in operation and are shipping, they are not yet at normal levels.

Dorel made the comments as it reported a fourth-quarter loss of US$639,000 compared with a loss of US$443.9 million in the same quarter last year.

The company says the loss amounted to two US cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 30 compared with a loss of US$13.68 per diluted share a year earlier.

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Canadian Tire Corp Ltd. (CTC.A-T) was down 19.8 per cent after it said on Thursday Greg Hicks would succeed chief executive officer Stephen Wetmore.

Mr. Hicks most recently served as president of Canadian Tire’s retail unit, the company’s largest business with about 500 stores across Canada.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL-Q) slid 25 per cent after it said on Thursday it had borrowed US$2-billion to cope with an unprecedented disruption to the travel industry as the coronavirus pandemic leads to widescale flight cancellations and global travel bans.

U.S. President Donald Trump stunned an already battered airline sector late on Wednesday with a 30-day ban on flights from continental Europe, deepening the sector’s misery and piling pressure on governments to offer emergency support.

United Airlines said it had borrowed the full amount of the term loan facility on March 9, with proceeds used to pay transaction fees and expenses and for other capital needs.

The principal amount of the loan needs to be repaid in a single installment by March 8, 2021.

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Dollar General Corp. (DG-N) was down 9.8 per cent despite beating quarterly same-store sales and profit expectations on Thursday, as it pulled in more bargain-hungry shoppers to its stores, but warned of uncertainty around its business due to the coronavirus outbreak.

To compete with Dollar Tree Inc as well as low-priced groceries at Walmart Inc and Amazon, Dollar General has added more higher-margin non-consumable products such as home decorations and party supplies to its shelves to attract more customers.

Same-store sales rose 3.2 per cent in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, above analysts’ average estimate of a 2.8-per-cent increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company forecast fiscal 2020 same-store sales growth of 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent, compared to analysts’ expectations of 3.1 per cent.

Apache Corp. (APA-N) lost 5.7 per cent after cutting its spending forecast for the year and slashed its quarterly dividend by 90 per cent as oil drillers rush to shore up cash amid a plunge in oil prices.

Over the next few weeks, Apache will stop all drilling activity in the Permian basin and scale back some of its international operations in Egypt and the North Sea, the company said.

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Apache now expects its 2020 capital investments between US$1-billion and US$1.2-billion, down from an earlier forecast of US$1.6-billion to US$1.9-billion.

With files from staff and wires

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