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

On the rise

Blackberry Ltd. (BB-T) jumped 8.6 per cent after it said Tuesday that Thomas Eacobacci has been named president.

Mr. Eacobacci comes to BlackBerry from Citrix, where he most recently served as senior vice president and general manager for the Americas.

He will join the company on June 15.

On Monday, BlackBerry shares increased nearly 4.5 per cent after reported Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has held talks on acquiring the remaining shares of the Waterloo, Ont.-based tech company it doesn’t currently control.

Fairfax denied the report on Tuesday.

“Fairfax is not currently making a bid, or engaged in making a bid, for BlackBerry,” said general counsel Derek Bulas in an email to BNN Bloomberg.

Air Canada (AC-T) increased 1.7 per cent after it said on Tuesday it raised nearly $1.6-billion through an offering of shares and convertible senior notes to strengthen its cash flow amid the coronavirus crisis.

Airlines, including Air Canada, have been among the worst hit as coronavirus-led travel bans resulted in thousands of flight cancellations, forcing carriers to cut jobs and costs as sales dried up.

“This important financing will allow us to keep our strong relative position and better manage debt leverage and risk as government restrictions are lifted and the market recovers,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Rousseau said in a statement.

Mr. Rousseau said last month Air Canada was seeing fewer cancellations and an improvement in demand for air travel as lockdowns eased.

Bird Construction Inc. (BDT-T) was 8.7 per cent higher after it announced a contract for an undisclosed amount for construction at an LNG Liquefaction Export Terminal Facility in northwestern B.C.

It said the contract is for the construction of concrete foundations and paving "inside the battery limits of the LNG trains process area and is one of the largest concrete foundation packages ever awarded to Bird."

It said the contract will start immediately and continue into 2022.

In a research note, Raymond James analyst Frederic Bastien said: “Our Best Pick for 2020 scooped up one of its largest civil works packages ever at an LNG liquefaction export terminal facility located along the Pacific Northwest’s rugged coastline. The contract, for an undisclosed sum, will see BDT draw on its self-perform capabilities to lay concrete foundations and paving inside the battery limits of the LNG trains. To us, this project underscores three important points. First, it cements Bird’s status as a go-to contractor for extensive early-cycle industrial activities. Second, it shows that the firm’s strategy to both promote collaboration and mobilize top talent for targeted opportunities is having the desired effect. Third, it adds further resiliency to BDT’s backlog at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is clouding the outlook of many other stocks we follow.”

Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV-N) gained 2.5 per cent after it extended buyout packages and temporary paid leaves to employees in what its chief executive said was an effort to “ensure survival” as the carrier braces for a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents detailing the packages that were seen by Reuters.

Southwest, which has not imposed any layoffs or furloughs in its 49-year history, said its flying capacity would probably be down about 30 per cent in the fall.

“While overstaffing isn’t tied 100 per cent to capacity levels, it would be fair to assume that we are overstaffed in many areas by a similar percentage,” Southwest said in the documents.

Southwest is offering leaves of a minimum of six months with benefits and 50-per-cent pay for most employees, excluding pilots, who would receive about 61-per-cent pay. The maximum leave period varies, and the airline said it “may return employees to work earlier if needed for operational needs.”

Embraer S.A. (ERJ-N), the world’s No. 3 planemaker, was up almost 15 per cent in the wake of its chief executive telling it is open to new business partners after Boeing Co. (BA-N) ditched a $4.2 billion deal that was years in the making.

But Francisco Gomes Neto said any new agreement would be smaller in scope than the failed venture with Boeing.

“We are not looking for a partnership of the size that the company had with Boeing,” he said. “We think that it would be faster and more efficient to have partnerships by project.”

To do so, Mr. Gomes Neto will undo the costly separation process that readied Embraer’s profitable commercial jet division for Boeing’s takeover and bring all of its employees back under the same corporate roof.

The two companies are now engaged in competing arbitration proceedings, having each filed claims against the other separately over whether the necessary conditions for the Embraer-Boeing deal were met.

San Francisco-based apparel maker Stitch Fix Inc. (SFIX-Q) gained 2.5 per cent after it said late Monday it plans to cut up to 1,400 jobs in California and invest in other U.S. states where it would offer new roles to all those affected.

The company said it was getting increasingly expensive to operate in California and plans to hire about 2,000 stylists in other lower-cost locations such as Dallas, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Austin, Texas.

The strategic move is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company added.

Stitch Fix, which uses algorithms and experts to ship personalized clothing selections to clients, currently employs about 5,100 stylists.

Chief Executive Officer Katrina Lake said in a statement that the decision was “the right thing to do” for the business.

“All of our California-based stylists will be offered the opportunity to relocate to the new roles in other states,” Lake said, adding that the apparel seller would provide financial help to the stylists, including severance payments, bonuses, and extended healthcare.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU-Q) was up 1.2 per cent in the wake of an equity analyst at Wells Fargo downgraded its stock in reaction to recent share price appreciation.

U.S. drugmaker Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMY-N) gained 0.6 per cent after it said on Tuesday its treatment Zeposia, which it gained through its US$74-billion buyout of Celgene last year, met the main goals of a late-stage study testing it in patients with an inflammatory bowel disease.

Zeposia was approved by U.S. regulators for treating multiple sclerosis patients in March, but the drug became commercially available only on Monday as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its launch.

Bristol Myers said patients taking the drug, also known as ozanimod, achieved clinical remission of ulcerative colitis when compared to a placebo.

Ulcerative colitis can lead to frequent stomach pain, cause bloody stools and affects an estimated 12.6 million people globally, the company said.

On the decline

Real Matters Inc. (REAL-T) lost 2.1 per cent after announcing Chief Executive Officer Jason Smith has established an Automatic Securities Disposition Plan.

He plans to sell 750,000 common shares under the ASDP, which represent approximately 15 per cent of his outstanding security holdings in Real Matters. The shares will be sold over the course of 12 months commencing Aug. 4, concurrent with the expiry of the Company’s trading blackout period following the release of its third-quarter financial results.

Mr. Smith also said he intends complete his pledge to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation and Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation, by donating the remaining $2.9-million of his pledge in the form of shares in the company. These shares will be in addition to the shares being sold under the ASDP.

With files from staff and wires

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