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

On the rise

Shares of TransAlta Corp. (TA-T) was up 0.9 per cent a day after announcing a $750-million investment from Brookfield Renewable Partners LP (BEP.UN-T).

A pair of equity analysts raised their rating for TransAlta shares in reaction to the deal.

“Ultimately, we see BEP’s strategic investment as a vote of confidence in the future value of TA’s hydro assets, even if this value remains partially obscured by the structural weaknesses of TA’s thermal assets, and by political/market uncertainty in Alberta (reasons for our Speculative qualifier). Over time, the value of TA’s hydro and renewable assets (RNW) are expected to improve, which bodes well for the stock’s valuation, regardless of valuation methodology,” said Industrial Alliance Securities analyst Jeremy Rosenfield.

Meanwhile, activist investors who’ve bought into TransAlta are nominating five directors to the company’s board in an effort to kill Brookfield’s investment.

Stuart Olson Inc. (SOX-T) rose 1.9 per cent after revealing it has been awarded approximately $120-million in new contracts across its Industrial and Consumer Systems segments.

"These new contract awards represent important wins for our Industrial and Commercial Systems Groups," said CEO David LeMay in a statement. "They highlight the strength of our relationships with repeat clients and our focus on executing our geographic and sector diversification strategies."

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY-Q) jumped 21.9 per cent after three activist investors disclosed a combined 5-per-cent stake in the retailer on Tuesday and sought to replace the entire board and the company’s long-time chief executive officer, Steven Temares.

The investor group, Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Ancora Advisors LLC, said it was also seeking to get the company to review options for all of its non-core brands.

“The board’s self-enriching mindset as evidenced by its excessive pay packages and failure to hold itself and management accountable, necessitate a change in a majority of the board at the annual meeting,” the trio of investors said in a statement.

WPT Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust (WIR.U-T) rose 0.1 per cent after announcing a plan to acquire a portfolio of 13 industrial buildings and three land parcels located in multiple markets in the U.S. for approximately US$226-million.

“The Acquisition Portfolio increases the REIT’s scale in Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis and adds properties in three new markets for the REIT, including the high-barrier coastal markets of Los Angeles and Miami. The Acquisition Portfolio also features well-located, highly functional distribution properties with a balanced blend of eight single-tenant and five multi-tenant buildings, which add scale and diversification to the REIT’s portfolio and tenant base,” the Toronto-based REIT said in a release.

On the decline

Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q) fell 1 per cent as the Street gave a mixed reaction to its Monday’s launch of several new offerings, including its steaming TV services and subscription news app.

“We believe the primary takeaway from [Monday’s] event is that Apple is increasingly looking for ways to leverage the massive (almost 1.4 billion) base of active installed devices by layering on more services per user/device,” said Piper Jaffray’s Michael Olson.

Shares of Cronos Group Inc. (CRON-T) fell 1.1 per cent in the wake of the premarket release of its fourth quarter results.

The Toronto-based cannabis producer reported net revenues of $5.6-million in the quarter rising from $1.6-million during the same period a year ago. The Street had been expecting $10.8-million.

It announced a gross profit before fair value adjustments was $2.5-million, but it did not reveal a net profit or loss result.

Superior Plus Corp. (SPB-T) was down 0.4 per cent after announcing an agreement to acquire the propane distribution assets of Phelps Sungas, Inc. and BMK of Geneva, Inc., an independent propane distributor in upstate New York, for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition is expected to add approximately 8,600 residential and commercial customers and 8.5 million gallons (32 million litres) of retail propane and distillate sales to its Energy Distribution operations,

“The acquisition of the propane distribution assets of Phelps will be Superior’s first tuck-in acquisition in 2019 and demonstrates our continued commitment to grow our footprint in the Northeast U.S.” said president and CEO Luc Desjardins in a statement.

Carnival Corp. (CCL-N) dropped 8.7 per cent after cutting its annual profit forecast on Tuesday, blaming higher fuel prices and the impact of a strong U.S. dollar.

The company said it now expects adjusted earnings of US$4.35 to US $4.55 per share in 2019, compared with US $4.50 to US $4.80 estimated previously.

“Operationally, we continue to expect revenues and adjusted earnings per share improvements in line with our December guidance, said president and CEO Arnold Donald in a release. “We expect adjusted earnings per share to be higher than the prior year, despite a $45 million, or $0.06 per share, year over year drag from currency and the price of fuel."

With files from staff and wires

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