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

On the rise

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (WFG-T) rose after saying it has begun producing and shipping building panels from the Chambord, Que., oriented strand board (OSB) mill it inherited with its recent $4-billion all-stock takeover of rival Norbord Inc.

The start of production from the mill shut down in 2008 comes as OSB prices reach record high levels thanks to strong housing and home renovation markets fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic’s work-from-home trend.

Norbord announced in December it would reopen the mill in response to customer demand and to offset the permanent closure of its mill at 100 Mile House, B.C.

It said it had invested about $71-million to prepare the mill for eventual restart since buying it in 2016 and would spend about $94-million more to finish the project.

The stock slipped in early trading after Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (BAM.A-T) reported in a regulatory filing it has reduced its stake in the company to 13.4 per cent as of March 26 from 14.7 per cent previously.

Winnipeg-based New Group Inc. (NFI-T) was up after saying subsidiary Alexander Dennis Ltd. has taken firm orders from Stagecoach for 46 zero emission buses.

These vehicles are part of its March 22 announcement that the BYD ADL partnership is the intended supplier on 172 successful zero-emission bus proposals part-funded by the Scottish Government through the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEB).

Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. (GLXY-T) rose after announcing it is “actively” preparing for a U.S. listing in the second half of 2021.

Before the bell, the New York-based firm reported net comprehensive income rose 1,175 per cent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $335.7-million (from a loss of $31.2-million), due largely to gains on digital assets and investments.

“I am proud to share the results of Galaxy Digital’s transformational fourth quarter, as net comprehensive income increased over 1,100 per cent, AUM increased over 98 per cent, and counterparty trading volumes increased over 80 per cent,” said Founder and CEO Michael Novogratz. “That dramatic growth accelerated further into the first quarter, which we expect to be another record quarter.”

Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP.UN-T) was higher on plans to build a green hydrogen production plant in south-central Pennsylvania with U.S. hydrogen specialist Plug Power Inc. (PLUG-Q).

Hydrogen has taken off this year as the future green fuel of choice, with governments and businesses betting big that the universe’s most abundant element can help fight climate change, worsened by the use of fossil fuels.

Green hydrogen is hydrogen extracted from water using electrolysis powered by renewable energy. It is being touted as a way to decarbonize emissions from heavy industries and transport sectors.

Plug Power’s Pennsylvania plant, which will use renewable energy from Brookfield’s hydroelectric facility in Holtwood in the same state, is projected to produce about 15 metric-tons of emissions-free liquid hydrogen per day.

Plug Power’s plant is expected to be online by late 2022, with construction slated to begin by the first quarter of 2022.

Tesla Inc. (TSLA-Q) reversed early losses and sat higher after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted on Tuesday that a cell supply shortage is making it difficult to scale up production of its long-delayed Tesla Semi commercial truck.

Mr. Musk’s statement was in response to a tweet which referred to a news report about the electric carmaker receiving an order for ten Semi trucks from MHX Leasing LLC.

Major automakers such as Ford Motor, Honda Motor , General Motors and Volkswagen were caught off guard by the chip shortage, forcing many to hold back production even as car demand picked up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shortage has cost the global auto industry 130,000 vehicles in lost production, research firm AutoForecast Solutions estimates.

Mr. Musk even said last month that the Tesla Fremont, California plant was shut down for two days due to “parts shortages.”

On the decline

Obsidian Energy Ltd. (OBE-T) dropped in the wake of ending its hostile takeover attempt for Bonterra Energy Corp. (BNE-T).

The company allowed its offer to buy Bonterra to expire on Monday.

Obsidian interim CEO Stephen Loukas said the economic environment has changed substantially since the company launched its offer last year.

Loukas said combining at the proposed exchange ratio is no longer in the best interests of Obsidian Energy or its shareholders.

Obsidian had offered two of its shares for each Bonterra share.

Bonterra had repeatedly recommended shareholders reject the bid.

Miner Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ-T) finished flat after it said on Tuesday its Oyu Tolgoi mining unit in Mongolia has declared force majeure on customer contracts for concentrate after shipments to China were suspended due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

The force majeure compounds problems at one of the world’s largest copper-gold-silver mine Oyu Tolgoi, which is already at the center of a protracted dispute between Turquoise and its top shareholder, Rio Tinto, over funding for the underground expansion of the mine.

Force majeure refers to unexpected external circumstances that prevent a party to a contract from meeting its obligations.

Rio owns 51 per cent of Turquoise Hill, which owns 66 per cent of the Oyu Tolgoi mine. The rest of the mine is owned by the government of Mongolia.

The force majeure is related to coronavirus-related restrictions at the Chinese-Mongolian border crossings, Turquoise Hill said on Tuesday, adding that it was working with Chinese officials to resume the shipments of copper concentrates to its Chinese customers.

Vancouver’s Equinox Gold Corp. (EQX-T) dipped with the premarket announcement of the sale of 10 million of its shares in Solaris Resources Inc. (SLS-T) to Augusta Investments Inc. and a strategic shareholder for gross proceeds of approximately $82.5-million.

Equinox will also grant warrants to purchase an additional 5 million Solaris shares at $10.00 each with potential total gross proceeds growing to $132.5-million.

Endeavour Silver Corp. (EDR-T) dropped on the premarket announcement that Bradford Cooke plans to step down as the CEO immediately following the company’s May 12 annual general meeting.

Mr. Cooke will assumed the role of Chair of the Board of Directors in the wake of resignation of Geoff Handley, who will remain a Director.

Chief Financial Officer Dan Dickson has been nominated to assume the role of CEO and Christine West, Vice President Controller, has been nominated to assume the role of CFO

With files from staff and wires

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