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

On the rise

Gibson Energy Inc. (GEI-T) jumped 2.1 per cent after confirming after the bell on Tuesday the sanctioning of its diluent recovery unit near Hardisty, Alta.

The Calgary-based company and partner US Development Group LLC announced an agreement to construct and operate the facility. ConocoPhillips Canada has contracted to process 50,000 barrels per day of inlet bitumen blend through the DRU.

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In reaction to the deal, an equity analyst RBC Dominion Securities upgraded Gibson shares.

National Bank of Canada (NA-T) rose 2 per cent after it increased its fiscal fourth-quarter profit by 7 per cent and raised its quarterly dividend.

The Montreal-based bank reported higher profits from each of its four divisions, as it continues to benefit from a buoyant economy in Quebec, where its business is heavily concentrated.

For the three months that ended Oct. 31, National Bank earned $604-million, or $1.67 per share, compared with $566-million, or $1.52 a share a year earlier.

- James Bradshaw

Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL-Q) rose 1.8 per cent in the wake of the news the co-founders of Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin are stepping down as executives of its parent company.

Sundar Pichai, who has been leading Google as CEO for more than four years, will stay in his role and also become CEO of Alphabet.

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The change of leadership should simplify its unorthodox management structure without creating unwanted turbulence in strategy at one of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, Wall Street analysts said on Wednesday.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ-T) was 0.1 per cent higher after it said on Wednesday it expects to spend $4.05-billion in 2020, $250-million more than last year, after Alberta lifted some curtailments on new oil wells last month.

The oil and gas producer also said it expects production of 1,137 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) to 1,207 boepd next year, higher than the 1,087-1,146 boepd it estimates for 2019.

Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK-B-T) was up 5 per cent after announcing a long-term rail agreement with Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR-T) for shipping of steelmaking coal from Teck’s four B.C. operations between Kamloops and Neptune Terminals, and other west coast ports.

Teck said the deal, which runs from April 2021 to December 2026, will “significantly” increase shipment volumes through an expanded Neptune Terminals.

It also provides for investments by CN of more than $125-million to enhance rail infrastructure and support increased shipment volumes to Neptune

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CN shares were up 0.1 per cent.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ-N) rose 1.6 per cent on its late Tuesday announcement that recent tests showed that Johnson’s Baby Powder was free of asbestos, after U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigations reported trace amounts of the material in the product earlier this year.

A total of 155 tests were conducted by two different third-party labs using four different testing methods on samples from the same bottle tested by the FDA’s contracted lab, the company said.

The tests are the latest effort by J&J to prove the safety of its widely used consumer product after the test by the FDA prompted J&J to undertake a nationwide recall of one lot of Johnson’s Baby Powder in October.

Campbell Soup Co. (CPB-N) was up 1.9 per cent on Wednesday despite lowering its net sales forecast for fiscal 2020, taking a hit from the sale of its European chips business earlier this year.

The soup maker now expects 2020 net sales in the range of a 1-per-cent fall to a 1-per-cent gain, compared with its prior forecast of a 1-per-cent to 3-per-cent rise.

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The company said the impact from the divestiture of the chips business would be a fall of 2 per cent.

Expedia Group Inc. (EXPE-Q) jumped 6.2 per cent after announcing on Wednesday its chief executive officer, Mark Okerstrom, and chief financial officer, Alan Pickerill, would be leaving the online travel company, effective immediately.

“Ultimately, senior management and the board disagreed on strategy,” Chairman Barry Diller said in a statement, adding that the company’s reorganization plan undertaken earlier this year had led to disappointing third-quarter results and a “lackluster” near-term outlook.

Expedia had reported a lower-than-expected profit for the first time in seven quarters last month.

Diller also said he would be purchasing additional shares in the company as a “tangible sign” of his “faith in and commitment to Expedia’s long-term future”.

On the decline

Royal Bank of Canada (RY-T) slid 2.1 per cent after its profit slipped 1 per cent lower in the fiscal fourth quarter, hobbled by weak returns from capital markets and insurance.

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Canada's largest bank by assets also reported a spike in provisions for credit losses, or the money banks set aside to cover bad loans, to $499-million. Provisions increased 41 per cent from a year earlier, when they were unusually low, rising in each of the bank's three largest divisions.

RBC said it earned $3.21-billion, or $2.18 per share, compared with $3.25-billion, or $2.20 a share in the same quarter a year earlier.

- James Bradshaw

See also: BMO to trim work force as restructuring charge hits bank’s profit

Laurentian Bank of Canada (LB-T) dropped 2.9 per cent as it reported that its fourth-quarter profit fell compared with year ago.

The bank increased its quarterly payment to shareholders by a penny to 67 cents per share.

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The higher payment to shareholders came as Laurentian reported a fourth-quarter profit of $41.3 million or 90 cents per diluted share.

Shares of Dollarama Inc. (DOL-T) slid 8.9 per cent after the retailer missed analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit by a narrow margin on Wednesday, bruised by higher costs from store openings.

The company has been pouring money into expanding its stores as well as its online business for bulk ordering while adding new items, particularly household goods and food items, to boost sales.

At the same time, Dollarama has kept price rises to a minimum to better fight competition from Canadian and U.S. retailers.

These efforts boosted sales at Dollarama stores open for at least 13 months, growing 5.3 per cent in the third quarter ended Nov. 3, well ahead of the estimated rise of 3.84 per cent, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

With files from staff and wires

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