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

On the rise

Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. (MG-T) rose on Tuesday after announcing before the bell President Seetarama Kotagiri would take over as chief executive officer in January.

Mr. Kotagiri, a 21-year veteran of the company, will succeed Don Walker, who will retire at end of 2020 after holding the top job for 15 years.

Laurentian Bank of Canada (LB-T) increased after it chose Rania Llewellyn as its next chief executive officer, making her the first woman to lead a major Canadian-based bank.

Ms. Llewellyn formally starts her role on Oct. 30 after a 26-year career at Bank of Nova Scotia, where she most recently served as executive vice-president of global business payments.

She takes over at a tumultuous time for Montreal-based Laurentian Bank, which is grappling with the fallout from the novel coronavirus after posting a series of weak financial results. The bank abruptly parted ways with previous CEO Francois Desjardins in June, with board chair Michael Mueller saying it was time to “reinvigorate” the bank’s plans.

- James Bradshaw

Kinross Gold Corp. (K-T) increased after it said on Tuesday it expects to produce about 2.5 million gold equivalent ounces annually from 2020–2029, citing growing output across its mines and declining costs.

Kinross in September said it expected to increase production by 20% from 2021–2023, with an estimated output of 2.4 million gold equivalent ounces in 2021, 2.7 million gold equivalent ounces in 2022 and 2.9 million gold equivalent ounces in 2023.

“Our growing production profile and declining cost trend over the next three years are expected to drive strong free cash flow performance, placing Kinross in an excellent position to generate substantial value for our shareholders,” Chief Executive Officer J. Paul Rollinson said in a statement.

Kinross is also considering moving its primary stock listing to London and selling its North and South American gold mines, according to a Globe and Mail report last week, citing three sources familiar with the discussions.

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. (PG-N) raised its annual sales forecast on Tuesday, as it benefitted from a coronavirus-driven surge in demand which has driven sales of cleaning products as much as 30 per cent higher.

The company’s shares, already up 14 per cent this year, rose after it released numbers that also showed strong gains in sales across most of its divisions.

Overall net sales in the unit which houses brands like Mr Clean and Tide rose 14 per cent in the first quarter, as consumers stocked up on anything they could get their hands on to clean their homes and potentially slow the spread of the virus.

The company said “personal cleansing” grew 30 per cent with double digit sales in every region, while its Home Care organic sales were up more than 30 per cent.

It also reported a 12-per-cent increase in volumes in its Health Care segment, which sells Oral-B toothbrushes and Crest toothpaste.

Full-year sales should now rise by 3 per cent to 4 per cent, compared with a prior forecast of a 1-per-cent to 3-per-cent increase, the company said.

the quarter, the British consumer goods maker said. Cincinnati-based P&G also raised and narrowed its fiscal 2021 core earnings per share forecast. It now expects it to be up 5 per cent to 8 per cent, compared with a prior forecast of a 3-per-cent to 7-per-cent increase. Organic sales growth outlook was also increased to 4 per cent to 5 per cent from an earlier range of 2 per cent to 4 per cent.

Albertsons Cos Inc. (ACI-N) soared on Tuesday forecast fiscal 2020 profit above estimates after posting better-than-expected quarterly numbers, as the U.S. grocer benefited from consumers shopping for daily essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shares of Albertsons were up, as the grocer posted a 243-per-cent growth in digital sales in the second quarter.

Demand for groceries and fresh produce has remained strong, as people working from home due to the outbreak are eating more at home even as restaurants have reopened their dine-in areas and introduced outdoor dining.

Albertsons, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, forecast fiscal 2020 adjusted profit per share in a range of US$2.75 to US$2.85, higher than estimates of US$2.23.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons also forecast same-store sales to increase at least 15.5 per cent after posting a 13.8-per-cent quarterly jump.

Net sales and other revenue rose to US$15.76-billion for the second quarter, from US$14.18-billion a year earlier, beating Wall Street expectations of about US$15.60-billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Property and casualty insurer Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV-N), a Dow component, gained after it reported third-quarter profit on Tuesday that more than doubled, helped by higher premiums, lower costs and an increase in returns from non-fixed income investments.

Travelers also recorded a one-time gain of about US$403-million from Pacific Gas & Electric’s emergence from bankruptcy. The gain, which stemmed from payments Travelers made for claims on wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018, had been flagged last quarter at an anticipated US$400-million.

The company’s profit rose to US$827-million, or US$3.23 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from US$396-million, or US$1.50 per share, a year earlier. Total revenue rose 3 per cent to US$8.28-billion.

New York-based Travelers, seen as a bellwether for the insurance sector as it typically reports before its industry peers, said net written premiums rose 3 per cent to US$7.77-billion in the quarter.

The rise in profit was despite catastrophe losses that were well above the 10-year average for the third quarter, Chief Executive Officer Alan Schnitzer said in a statement.

On the decline

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP-T) fell after it missed Street estimates for quarterly profit on Tuesday, as the railroad operator was hurt by lower freight volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s operating ratio, a measure of operating expenses as a percentage of revenue and a key metric for Wall Street, rose to 58.2 per cent from 56.1 per cent a year earlier. A lower operating ratio signals improved profitability.

Canadian Pacific, however, said it expects at least mid-single-digit adjusted earnings growth in 2020.

The pandemic compounded woes for rail operators, which moved record amounts of Canadian oil at the start of this year but witnessed a plunge in crude volumes later due to production cuts by energy companies.

Canadian Pacific’s energy, chemicals and plastic shipments dropped 30 per cent during the third quarter.

Its total carloads, the amount of freight loaded into cars during a specified period, fell 7 per cent.

Net income fell 3.2 per cent to $598-million, or $4.41 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30. Revenue declined by about 6 per cent to $1.86-billion.

On an adjusted basis, Canadian Pacific earned $4.12 per share, missing an average Street estimate of $4.23, according to Refinitiv data.

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM-N) edged past estimates for quarterly revenue, bolstered by higher demand for its cloud services. IBM shares, however, fell after the company stayed away from issuing a current-quarter forecast, citing economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a research note, Citi analyst Jim Suva said: “The reported Q3 results were inline with IBM’s preannouncement. From both an operational and financial perspective things are getting even more complex as IBM did not provide a Q4 outlook (unlike peers) and the company is going to have significant charges in Q4 and in 2021 as the company realigns its cost structure. This will make modeling IBM’s financials even more difficult. In the short term we believe consensus will move lower and there is risk that the seasonal Q4 budget spend may not materialize. With EPS and cash flow estimates moving lower and our view that IBM is shifting to more organic and M&A investments rather than stock buy backs we believe a Neutral rating is appropriate. We maintain our $140 target price (as we roll forward and adjust for higher market multiples).”

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (BAM-A-T) was down after Bloomberg reported it is exploring a sale of its life-sciences real estate portfolio for approximately US$3-billion.

See also: Investors flee Brookfield’s new insurance partner as takeover is thwarted

Brookfield buys 19.9-per-cent stake in American Equity Investment Life

U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin (LMT-N) fell after it reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit, helped by higher sales in its aeronautics unit which makes the F-35 fighter jet, and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

The U.S. defence sector has fared better compared with other industries amid a slump in demand due to the coronavirus crisis, as the government has continued to purchase weapons while also providing support to defense contractors to pay the salaries of highly skilled workers.

Lockheed said deliveries of F-35 jets rose to 31 aircraft in the quarter ended Sept. 27, from 28 a year earlier.

The company said it now expects 2020 earnings per share of about US$24.45, compared with its previous forecast of between US$23.75 and US$24.05 per share.

Lockheed also raised it full-year net sales outlook to US$65.25-billion, from US$63.5-billion to US$65-billion previously.

Toronto-based VIVO Cannabis Inc. (VIVO-T) was lower after announcing “immediate steps to streamline operations,” including an 18-per-cent reduction in its headcount (approximately 45 positions).

“After completing a strategic review of VIVO’s overall Canadian cannabis operations, the Napanee-based organization has been re-purposed to focus on low-cost cultivation (airhouse-grown) and the extraction and manufacturing of VIVO’s growing line of Cannabis 2.0 concentrates. To allow the Company to capitalize on economies of scale and reduce costs, certain other activities (i.e. packaging and distribution) will be centralized at the Canna Farms facility in Hope B.C,” it said.

With files from staff and wires

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