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

On the rise

Norbord Inc. (OSB-T) soared after Canadian forestry company West Fraser Timber Co. (WFT-T) said it would acquire the Toronto-based wood-based panels maker in an all-stock deal valued at about $4-billion.

Shareholders of Norbord, the world’s largest producer of oriented-strand board (OSB), will receive 0.675 of a West Fraser share for each share held, or $49.35 per share based on West Fraser’s closing price on Nov. 18.

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The offer represents a premium of 13.6 per cent to Norbord stock’s Wednesday close, and West Fraser shareholders will own about 56 per cent of the combined company on closing.

The deal comes when lumber manufacturers are recovering after the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to shut their facilities and as demand for new homes and renovations boosts demand.

Oriented-strand boards are used for flooring, wall and roof sheathing, and Norbord has a presence in the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

Exchange operator Nasdaq Inc. (NDAQ-Q) was higher after it said on Thursday it would buy St. John’s-based anti-financial crime management products firm Verafin for US$2.75-billion in cash.

Verafin, founded in 2003, provides more than 2,000 financial institutions in North America a cloud-based platform to help detect, investigate, and report money laundering and financial fraud.

The deal will strengthen Nasdaq’s existing regulatory technology and anti-financial crime solutions, bringing Verafin’s products to 250 banks, exchanges, broker-dealers and buy-side organizations, and regulatory authorities, the company said.

Nasdaq will finance the transaction, which will add to its earnings per share beginning in 2022, with a combination of US$2.5-billion of debt and cash on hand.

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L Brands Inc. (LB-N) jumped after it reported better-than-expected quarterly sales on Wednesday after the bell, as it benefited from a surge in demand for Bath & Body Works’ products, sending shares of the Victoria’s Secret parent higher.

A sharper focus on hygiene standards during the pandemic has boosted sales of soaps, lotions and sanitizers at Bath & Body Works, helping L Brands offset continued weakness at its Victoria’s Secret unit.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Meslow said the results were driven by “continued strength at Bath & Body Works, and a significant improvement in performance at Victoria’s Secret.”

Comparable sales at Bath & Body Works surged 56 per cent in the third quarter, while they rose 4 per cent at Victoria’s Secret.

The company reported a net income of US$330.6-million, or US$1.17 per share, compared with a loss of US$252-million, or 91 US cents per share, a year earlier, when it recorded some impairment charges.

Net sales rose 14 per cent to US$3.06-billion, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of US$2.67=billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

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Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO-T) was narrowly higher after it said on Thursday it would raise capital spending and production next year as a volatile recovery of energy demand continues.

The company, majority owned by U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp, said it would also aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 10 per cent by the end of 2023 from 2016 levels.

Macy’s Inc. (M-N) reported a more than 20-per-cent drop in quarterly comparable on Thursday and said it expects that to continue into the fall season, signaling a tough holiday season for the coronavirus-battered department store chain.

The retailer’s shares rose on Thursday. Its stock has lost nearly half its value in a tumultuous year in which it has had to lay off thousands of workers and suffer through plunging sales due to outlet closures.

Macy’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gennette said the company was keeping an eye on a new wave of COVID-19 cases across the United States and the potential impact on its business.

The country has been regularly recording over 100,000 daily COVID-19 infections over the last two weeks, raising fears that the spiking numbers will keep people away from already sales-battered retail stores heading into the holidays.

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Macy’s said it expects its comparable sales of owned and licensed stores to fall by a low- to mid-20s percentage in the fall season.

Net sales fell to US$3.99-billion from US$5.17-billion in the third quarter ended Oct. 31, but beat analysts’ estimates of US$3.86-billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company posted an adjusted net loss of US$60-million, or 19 US cents per share, compared with earnings of US$21-million, or 7 US cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a loss of 79 US cents per share.

Nvidia Corp. (NVDA-Q) finished narrowly after company executives said data center chip sales would fall slightly in the fourth quarter.

The dip came after the Santa Clara, California company forecast overall fourth-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations, betting on robust demand for its graphic chips for gaming devices and data centers.

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The chipmaker said it expects current-quarter revenue of US$4.80 -billion, plus or minus 2 per cent, compared with analysts’ average estimate of US$4.42-billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Nvidia also beat revenue expectations for the third quarter as gaming business revenue jumped 37 per cent to US$2.27-billion from a year earlier, beating FactSet estimates of US$2.06-billion. But Chief Financial Officer Colette Kress said that “industry-wide capacity constraints” meant it could be months before supplies of Nvidia’s newest line of gaming chips could catch up with demand.

Besides high-end gaming devices, Nvidia’s graphics chips are used in data centers to speed up computing for artificial intelligence work such as image recognition, which helped it eclipse rival Intel Corp’s market capitalization earlier this year.

Revenue from the data center segment more than doubled to US$1.9-billion, compared with FactSet estimates of $1.84 billion.

The company said revenue from Mellanox, the Israeli networking chip firm it acquired last year, contributed “approximately a third” of data center segment revenue in the third quarter, but that some of the growth came from sales to an unnamed Chinese customer that would not repeat in the fourth quarter.

In September, U.S. officials put into effect new restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd that blocked it from buying chips from U.S. companies indefinitely, prompting the Chinese firm to stockpile chips.

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In an interview, Nvidia Chief Executive Jensen Huang did not name the Chinese customer that made the “unusually large” third-quarter purchase but said there was no legal barrier to the customer resuming purchases in the future.

“It has nothing to do with regulatory issues,” Huang told Reuters.

Earnings per share were US$2.91, above analyst estimates of US$2.57, according to Refinitiv data.

On the decline

Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ-Q) slid on Thursday in the wake of the premarket release of better-than-expected third-quarter results.

The Guelph, Ont.-based reported revenue and earnings per share of US$914-million and 15 US cents, respectively, topping the Street’s forecast of US$861.9-million and a 5-US-cent loss.

“During the third quarter, we took a major step forward with the successful pre-IPO equity raising of CSI Solar Co., Ltd. (”CSI Solar”), Canadian Solar’s MSS subsidiary, which received overwhelming support and participation from strategic partners as we secured the capital required to expand our capacity with the latest technology. We are well on track to achieve our target of submitting the official IPO application by the second quarter of next year,” said CEO Shawn Qu in a release.

With files from staff and wires

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