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

On the rise

Shares of Bank of Montreal (BMO-T) were up after the premarket announcement it has signed a deal to sell its private banking business in Hong Kong and Singapore to J. Safra Sarasin Group.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

BMO says J. Safra Sarasin has a strong reputation for client service and it is confident that they are well positioned to service its private banking clients in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Canadian bank says the Hong Kong and Singapore markets remain important and it looks forward to continuing its service to corporate and institutional clients in Asia.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition is expected to close during the first half of 2021.

See also: BMO denies wrongdoing in investor lawsuit over losses

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU-T) was higher after saying it will take a $425-million impairment charge related to its stake in the White Rose offshore oilfield and West White Rose expansion project.

While White Rose is currently producing, the $2.2-billion West White Rose Project was intended to access 200 million barrels of crude oil and extend the life of the White Rose field by about 14 years.

However, Suncor says the recent acquisition of Husky Energy, the project’s operator, by Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE-T) has cast doubt on the future of the West White Rose project which has been under review since September.

Cenovus completed its deal to buy Husky on Monday.

Suncor says talks are ongoing with Cenovus and various levels of government to determine the future of the project and that the Newfoundland and Labrador government has agreed to provide some support for the West White Rose project.

Cenovus holds a 72.5-per-cent stake in White Rose, while Suncor owns 27.5 per cent. The West White Rose expansion owners are Cenovus with 69 per cent, Suncor with 26 per cent and Nalcor with five per cent.

U.S.-listed shares of China Telecom Corp Ltd. (CHA-N), China Mobile Ltd. (CHL-N), China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. (CHU-N) advanced after the NYSE reversed its decision to delist the stocks.

The U-turn comes in the waning days of the Trump administration and against a backdrop of tension within Washington on China policy. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has long been seen as taking a dovish view on China, seeking to thwart attempts by hardliners in the administration - many within the State Department - to crack down on Chinese companies.

The bourse, which had planned to delist the companies before Jan. 11, said in a brief statement it had made the decision “in light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities in connection with (the U.S. Treasury) Office of Foreign Assets Control.”

“For years, Treasury has led a rear guard action to soften some of the harsher policies related to Chinese companies,” said Leland Miller, the CEO of the U.S.-based consultancy China Beige Book. “It is apparent this is continuing to happen.”

Chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. (MU-Q) rose after Citigroup raised its rating on the stock to “buy” on expectations of a recovery in demand and pricing for DRAM chips.

“Although the stock has appreciated a whopping 40 per cent in the last two months and is trading at a higher valuation than at any time during the previous upturn, we believe there is still plenty of upside as DRAM upturns usually last two years and supply/demand looks favorable over at least the next year,” said analyst Christopher Danely in a note.

Apache Corp. (APA-Q) was up after it said on Monday it plans to create a new holding company called APA Corp, that would replace the oil and gas producer as the public company trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Apache will become a unit of APA and continue to hold assets in the United States, subsidiaries in Egypt and the UK, and its current economic interests in Altus Midstream Co and Altus Midstream LP.

A holding company structure allows a firm to lower its tax bill, protect patents and diversify its unit’s businesses efficiently. In 2015, Google formed a holding company, Alphabet Inc, with distinct units under it.

The existing shares of Apache will be converted, on a one-for-one basis, into shares of common stock of APA, which will retain the ticker symbol “APA.”

Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ-Q) reverse early losses after it said on Tuesday it had acquired Hu Master Holdings that makes healthy snacks as demand for it rises among consumers working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deal follows a minority investment by Mondelez in April 2019 in Hu, which would now operate as part of the North American Ventures business model.

Mondelez did not disclose the value of the deal. The Wall Street Journal said on Monday the deal values Hu at more than US$250-million.

The company has been investing in healthy brands as consumers’ eating habit shifts, adding brands like Tate’s and Perfect Snacks to its portfolio.

Hu, founded in 2012, makes vegan, paleo-friendly chocolate bars made with organic cacao and has a devoted following among consumers.

On the decline

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM-T) slipped after reaching a friendly agreement to buy TMAC Resources Inc. (TMR-T) for $286.6-million mere weeks after the Canadian government rejected Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd.’s attempts to buy the struggling Arctic miner.

In late December, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development turned down the deal because of security concerns in selling TMAC to a Chinese state-controlled company. Toronto-based TMAC operates in Hope Bay in Nunavut, near tidewater in the Northwest Passage, a highly strategic shipping route connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

Agnico has agreed to pay $2.20 a share, a 44 per cent premium compared to its Monday closing price. The offer is also 26 per cent higher than the $1.75 a share Shandong was willing to pay.

- Niall McGee

With files from staff and wires

Follow David Leeder on Twitter: @daveleederOpens in a new window

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