A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today
On the rise
HEXO Corp. (HEXO-T) jumped 5.3 per cent in mid-afternoon trading on Thursday after announcing it has launched medical cannabis products in Israel through a 24-month agreement with leading Israeli medical cannabis company Breath of Life International Ltd.
“For the first time, HEXO’s high-quality medical cannabis is available to medical patients outside of Canada,” said CEO Sebastien St-Louis. “Launching the HEXO brand in Israel is a testament to the continued work we are doing to expand our international footprint and find new markets for our award-winning products.”
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.B-T) increased 3 per cent in reaction to a New York Post story that it is looking sell 1,250 gas stations to alleviate possible antitrust concerns as it considers acquiring Marathon Petroleum Corp.‘s (MPC-N) Speedway gas station chain.
According to the report, the Montreal-based company is aiming to raise about US$4-billion from the sale, which would be contingent on a deal to buy Speedway’s 3,800 locations.
U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. (TSLA-Q) was up 0.8 per cent after Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Thursday it is “very close” to achieving level 5 autonomous driving technology, referring to the capability to navigate roads without any driver input.
“I’m extremely confident that level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly,” Mr. Musk said in remarks made via a video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC).
“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year.”
Automakers and tech companies including Alphabet Inc Waymo and Uber Technologies are investing billions in the autonomous driving industry.
However industry insiders have said it would take time for the technology to get ready and public to trust autonomous vehicles fully.
The California-based automaker currently builds cars with an Autopilot driver-assistance system.
On the decline
Delta Air Lines (DAL-N) is cautious about adding more flights to its schedule due to spikes in coronavirus cases through the southeast and southwest of the United States, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in an employee memo on Thursday.
United Airlines flagged this week a hit on bookings from new outbreaks and quarantine restrictions and said it was sending notifications of potential furloughs to about 45 per cent of its frontline employees.
Delta shares were down 4.3 per cent.
“The continued growth of the virus through the Sun Belt, coupled with quarantine restrictions being implemented in large markets in the northern part of the country, give us renewed caution about further schedule additions at this time,” Mr. Bastian said.
His comments raised questions as to whether Delta may pull back some of its summer flying. It has added 1,000 flights in July and another 1,000 this August, but had already said it was unlikely to add many more for the rest of the year.
Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. (AQN-T) slid 3 per cent in the wake of announcing after the bell on Wednesday that it has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters that have agreed to buy, on a bought deal basis, 32.17 million common shares at a price of $17.10 each for gross proceeds of $550-million.
APUC also announced an agreement with an institutional investor for 20.47 million common shares at a price of $17.10 for gross proceeds of $350-million.
Net proceeds from the offerings are expected to be used to partially finance APUC’s previously announced renewable development growth projects and for general corporate purposes.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA-Q) swung to a third-quarter loss on Thursday, hammered by impairment charges of US$2-billion as the coronavirus crisis took a toll on its Boots UK division.
Shares of the Deerfield, Illinois-based company fell almost 9 per cent after Walgreens said customer traffic at Boots UK was down 85 per cent in April as it temporarily shut more than 100 stores in key areas as well as nearly all of its 600 Boots Opticians stores.
That resulted in a hit of US$700-million to US$750-million to sales and weighed the most on its Retail Pharmacy International unit.
Net loss attributable to Walgreens was US$1.71-billion, or US$1.95 per share, in the quarter ended May 31, versus a profit of US$1.03-billion, or US$1.13 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose marginally to US$34.63-billion.
Carnival Corp. (CCL-N) was down 2.4 per cent after its AIDA Cruises said on Thursday it would resume sailing operations in August, months after cruise operators were forced to pause voyages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Germany-based cruise line said it has introduced a variety of coronavirus preventive measures to complement existing health and hygiene standards, as it restarts operations.
Cruise operators have suspended most of their operations since March as the rapid spread of the coronavirus outbreak has forced several countries to mandate lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Earlier this week, rivals Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd had announced a joint task force to help develop safety standards for restarting their businesses during the pandemic.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY-Q) dropped 24.5 per cent after reporting weaker-than-anticipated first-quarter results, including a drop in net sales of 49 per cent, and revealing a plan to close 200 stores over the next two years after the bell on Wednesday.
Credit Suisse analyst Seth Sigman said: “The key for us was confirmation that Q2 has started off better in stores as we detail, likely enough to keep the story moving along, and that there is an opportunity right now for this new team to start to prove that it can deliver change, with the supportive home furnishings backdrop that exists at the moment. That’s part of the optionality, as we move past the worst of the store closings, in addition to the strategic update ahead and potential asset sales. That said, we remain concerned about BBBY’s underperformance, the potential need for more investments, uncertainty on the GM, and the need for a stable consumer environment to support this turnaround which is difficult to see past the short-term.”
Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG-N) lost 0.3 per cent after it said on Thursday its Chief Financial Officer John Olin will leave the company effective immediately as part of a restructuring strategy that will lead to 500 layoffs this year.
The restructuring is part of new Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz’s efforts to turn around the struggling motorcycle maker’s fortunes.
In all, the restructuring will eliminate 700 positions globally. It will result in a US$50-million restructuring charge in 2020, including US$42-million in the second quarter.
Mr. Zeitz said the overhaul is aimed at eliminating complexity and getting the company on “a path to winning.”
“Our new operating model is simpler, more focused and enables faster decisions across the entire company,” he said in a statement.
With files from staff and wires