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Inside the Market’s roundup of some of today’s key analyst actions

Though its fourth-quarter financial results fell narrowly below his expectations, ia Capital Markets’ Neil Linsdell thinks the outlook for Dollarama Inc. (DOL-T) is “quite bright” with a “good” start to fiscal 2022, however he warned about the potential impact of further COVID-related disruptions and inflation costs.

On Thursday before the bell, several equity analysts on the Street raised their financial expectations and target prices for shares of the Montreal-based discount retailer a day after its quarterly earnings release.

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“Despite the potential of more pandemic-related disruptions, Dollarama has demonstrated great resiliency and ability to maintain profitability improvements and expansion efforts under the most difficult of circumstances,” Mr. Linsdell said. “It remains a solid retailer with a great mix of products and value proposition. DOL should be a core retail holding. We remain cautiously optimistic in the short term and even more positive over the long-term.”

The analyst said lockdowns and public health restrictions “broke the momentum in the usually strong December” in the wake of a strong start to the fourth quarter, which included 7-per-cent same-store sales (SSS) growth in the first five weeks of the quarter.

Dollarama finished with 3.6-per-cent sales growth on an same-store sales decline of 0.2 per cent, which excludes temporarily closed stores). That resulted in revenue of $1.04-billion, falling short of both Mr. Linsdell’s $1.16-billion projection and the Street’s estimate of $1.13-billion Earnings per share of 56 cents was 2 cents lower than the analyst’s forecast and in line with the consensus.

“As the restrictions that caused the break in momentum eased in February, same-store sales so far in Q1 were in the low to mid-teens, and gross margin improvement should be comparable to Q4,” said Mr. Linsdell. “The Company is still withholding most financial guidance given the unpredictable environment. Rising raw material prices and shipping costs could put more pressure on year-over-year improvements with more challenging comps in H2/F2.”

With the company raising its dividend and increasing its store opening projections, he raised his fiscal 2022 and 2023 financial expectations. He’s now forecasting EPS of $2.35 and $2.75, respectively, from $2.28 and $2.69.

Maintaining a “buy” rating for Dollarama shares, he hiked his target to $62 from $59. The average on the Street is $60.86, according to Refinitiv data.

Other analysts making target price adjustments include:

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* Canaccord Genuity’s Derek Dley to $55 from $54 with a “hold” rating.

“While we still believe in Dollarama’s long-term growth profile, a result of its lack of meaningful competition, industry-leading profitability and free cash flow generation, and healthy ROIC, we believe the softer near-term outlook is likely to leave the stock range-bound over the coming quarters,” said Mr. Dley.

* CIBC World Markets’ Mark Petrie to $62 from $58 with a “hold” rating.

“We believe the business is well-positioned to navigate an inflationary environment with agile category management and fast-following competitive price moves,” he said.

* RBC Dominion Securities’ Irene Nattel to $68 from $66 with an “outperform” rating.

* TD Securities’ Brian Morrison to $65 from $64 with a “buy” rating.

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* National Bank Securities’ Vishal Shreehar to $63 from $61 with an “outperform” rating.

* Barclays’ Karen Short to $62 from $60 with an “overweight” rating.

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A “strong capex acceleration plan” and $1.3-billion equity raise position Telus Corp. (T-T) for growth, according to CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Bek upgraded Telus Corp. (T-T).

Upon resuming coverage of the stock, he raised his rating to “outperformer” to “neutral.”

“We view the company’s decision to bring forward capex as a strong move to advance reach, improve efficiencies, and to take advantage of material potential changes in the competitive dynamic in the West,” he said.

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“We continue to view TELUS as very well positioned relative to its peers, with strong non-traditional assets complementing the story. Further visibility on these assets, such as TELUS Health, would be incremental positives, in our view. We encourage investors to use recent weakness in the shares as an entry point.”

Mr. Beck kept a $28 target, which falls 83 cents below the average on the Street.

“We remain positively inclined to TELUS’ strategy and asset mix, and have no qualms around execution,” he said. “We now turn bullish on the expectation of a further acceleration in EBITDA on the back of acceleration of infrastructure capex. Non-telecom assets owned by the company not only complement the core assets with cross-selling opportunities, but also present a NAV upside, following better visibility into segments’ performance.”

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Citi analyst Alexander Hacking continues to have a “positive view” on Barrick Gold Corp.’s (ABX-T, GOLD-N) “ongoing dynamic turnaround” of its underperforming legacy assets.

However, taking a more conservative view on gold, he now prefers industrial metals “at this point in the cycle.”

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In a research note, he lowered his 2021 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) estimate by 18 per cent to US$7-billion based on a gold price average of US$1,785 per ounce after Citi’s global commodity team updated its forecast.

“Citi views gold having peaked for the current cycle and falling to $1,550 per ounce in 2023,” Mr. Hacking said.

With the reduction, he lowered his target for Barrick shares to US$22 from US$30 with a “neutral” recommendation (unchanged). The average on the Street is US$31.02.

“Positive factors include low operating costs, a stable balance sheet, new management with a strong operating track record, potential upside from synergies at the new Nevada JV,” he said. “Negative factors include some challenging legacy assets, geopolitical risk, challenges to grow production from such a large base and limited FCF. On balance we see equal upside and downside at current levels.”

In a separate note, Mr. Hacking also trimmed his financial estimates and target price for shares of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM-N, AEM-T) with the “more conservative” gold price view.

With a “neutral” rating, his target slid to US$60 from US$72. The average is US$84.87.

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“We continue to rate AEM as Neutral viewing the company possessing good assets and a strong management team with long-term track record of success. That said, we struggle to see value in AEM versus large cap peers,” the analyst said.

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Canaccord Genuity analyst Luke Hannan expects Goodfood Market Corp. (FOOD-T) to display the presence of “transitory headwinds” when it releases its second-quarter financial results on April 9 before the bell.

The analyst is projecting new revenue for the meal kit company of $85-million, up 44 per cent year-over-year but below the $94-million consensus on the Street. He’s forecasting an EBITDA loss of $4.4 million, falling from a $3-million deficit a year ago and well below the Street’s break-even estimate.

“Despite finishing the quarter with 319,000 active subscribers, representing a 4-per-cent sequential increase from Q1/F21 and a 30-per-cent year-over-year increase from Q2/F20, we expect Goodfood’s top-line momentum has taken a slight pause during Q2/F21,” said Mr. Hannan. “The company implemented a 50-per-cent discount on its grocery items for orders in January in honour of its sixth year of operations, resulting in overwhelming demand for Goodfood grocery items that created a temporary operational backlog.

“While all non-meal kit related SKUs (including grocery items) account for only approximately 10 per cent of Goodfood’s overall sales, we nonetheless expect this limited-time offer will modestly weigh on top-line growth (net of incentives and credits) during the quarter. Compounding this effect is our expectation of elevated incentives associated with the rollout of Goodfood WOW in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which when coupled with unfavourable mix associated with grocery products, leads us to believe that margins will be somewhat challenged during Q2/F21.”

After reducing his full-year 2021 and 2022 revenue and earnings estimates, Mr. Hannan trimmed his target for the Montreal-based company’s shares to $12 from $14, maintaining a “buy” rating. The average is $14.59.

“Although we expect several headwinds this quarter, our long-term thesis remains unchanged,” he said. “We believe Goodfood is in the early innings of its growth playbook and remains well capitalized to continue execution, having recently completed a $60-million equity financing and a $21-million expansion of its credit facilities, leaving the company with estimated pro forma net cash of $104-million. As it continues to invest this capital in production facility automation and drive efficiencies out of its current operating footprint, we remain of the view that ample growth opportunities exist for Goodfood over the long term.”

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Seeing its shares in a more appropriate position following recent share price depreciation, Raymond James analyst Michael Shaw raised his rating for Questor Technology Inc. (QST-X) to “market perform” from “underperform” previously.

“Questor’s equity clearly got caught up in the optimism around clean tech and the recovery in oilfield activity in late 2020/early 2021,” he said. “At the time, we believed the move in QST’s share price was misplaced given its concentration in slower-to-recover plays in the U.S. and lower growth outlook versus clean tech peers. It appears the market has come around to our position with the equity trading down from a high of $3.40 on Jan-19 to a close of $1.93 yesterday 43 per cent lower versus the TSX Comp up 4 per cent.”

Despite “general optimism” around oilfield activity and a share price more in line with his view, Mr. Shaw warned investors to “remain cautious” on the Calgary-based environmental cleantech company.

“First, Questor started to implement a new sales process in 4Q, with the ultimate objective of creating more structure and consistency. It’s important to note this is not the first time QST has implemented a new sales program,” he said. “The past process did not result in a durable sales approach, and we’d like to see tangible results before we deem this transition a success.

“Second, while oil prices above US$60 is encouraging for North American activity as a whole, QST’s historical concentration in the slow-to-recover basins means it is not participating in the broader recovery. Until QST is able to break into the busier U.S. plays, its core cash flow generator, its U.S. rental business, will see a slow recovery.”

Mr. Shaw cut his target to $1.85 from $1.90, which sits below the $2.55 average.

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Possessing a “reloaded” balance sheet after its recent $25-million equity issuance and $10-million secondary offering, Titanium Transportation Group Inc. (TTR-X) possesses multiple catalysts for value creation, according to Desjardins Securities analyst Benoit Poirier.

Upon resuming coverage of the Bolton, Ont.-based company, he emphasized the integration of International Truckload Services (ITS) is “well underway” with the financing now enabling it to consider further M&A moves. He also expects further growth from its U.S. Logistics segment, which he sees “running at full speed.”

“TTR ended 4Q with net debt to EBITDA of 0.8 times (we expected 1.1 times), down sequentially from 1.1 times, thanks to its strong operational results,” said Mr. Poirier. “Moving forward, we expect net debt to EBITDA to increase to 1.6 times at the end of 1Q21 (pro forma the acquisition of ITS), down from our previous expectations of 2.9x, due to the equity financing (we assume net proceeds of $24-million). Despite the equity financing, we expect TTR to focus on deleveraging the balance sheet so as to be able to rapidly seize attractive M&A opportunities (management reiterated that its pipeline remains strong). Depending on the pace of integration, we believe TTR could be ready to revisit M&A at the end of 2021 or in early 2022. We expect TTR to end 2021 with net debt to EBITDA of 1.3 times (down from our previous expectations of 2.3 times), well below management’s comfort range of 2.5–3.0 times.”

Mr. Poirier called the company’s fourth-quarter results, released on March 9, “impressive” and its 2021 guidance “conservative considering the strong tailwinds supporting TTR’s businesses.”

“For 2021, management still expects revenue of $330-million (we expected $326-million vs consensus of $332-million) and EBITDA of $33-million (we expected $34-million vs consensus of $32-million),” he said. “We believe management’s guidance is conservative given the improving market conditions across both divisions, continued expansion of the U.S. Logistics segment and ongoing integration of ITS. As a result, we are comfortable with our revenue forecast of $344-million in 2021 and adjusted EBITDA forecast of $36-million (implied margin of 10.5 per cent),”

In the wake of the “solid” results and equity issuance, he raised his revenue and earnings estimates for 2021 and 2022, leading him to raise his target to $6 from $5.50 with a “buy” recommendation. The average on the Street is $5.75.

“We encourage investors to revisit the name as we believe the stock could be worth up to $8.25 per share by 2023,” said Mr. Poirier.

Elsewhere, Cormark Securities analyst David Ocampo resumed coverage with a “buy” rating and $5.50 target, rising from $5.25.

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A group of equity analysts on the Street raising their target prices for shares of Park Lawn Corp. (PLC-T) following the release of better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday.

Those making changes include:

* RBC Dominion Securities’ Irene Nattel to $39 from $36 with an “outperform” rating. The average target on the Street is $38.11.

* Scotia Capital’s George Doumet to $38 from $33 with a “sector outperform” rating.

* TD Securities’ Paul Bilenki to $38 from $34 with a “buy” rating.

* National Bank Financial’s Zachary Evershed to $43 from $40 with an “outperform” recommendation.

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In other analyst actions:

* CIBC’s Nik Priebe raised his AGF Management Ltd. (AGF.B-T) target by a loonie to $8 with a “neutral” rating. The average is $8.29.

“AGF reported a headline earnings miss on higher-than-expected SG&A expenses, which was driven by a combination of factors including exceptionally strong sales in the quarter,” said Mr. Priebe. “We would characterize this as a ‘high quality’ earnings miss, and have become increasingly encouraged by the improving trajectory of net flows. We have adjusted our earnings estimates and revised our price target upward. We continue to view AGF as an effective vehicle to obtain high-beta exposure to equity markets given the above-average operating leverage, high proportion of equity AUM and improving net flows outlook.”

* TD Securities analyst Sam Damiani lowered CT Real Estate Investment Trust (CRT.UN-T) to “hold” from “buy” with a $17 target, exceeding the $16.64 average on the Street.

* After better-than-anticipated quarterly results, Research Capital analyst Greg McLeish upgraded MediPharm Lab Corp. (LABS-T) to “hold” from “sell” with a 50-cent target. The average is $1.14.

* Though its quarterly results missed her projections, Canaccord Genuity analyst Tania Gonsalves raised her Greenbrook TMS Inc. (GTMS-T) target to $20 from $16.25 with a “buy” rating. The average is $22.70.

“Given rising depression rates caused by the pandemic, demand for new innovative treatments like TMS and psychedelic therapy is now greater than ever,” she said. “We continue to believe that over the next 15-20 years, GTMS has the potential to reach 600 centres generating up to $500.0-million in sales at 18-20-per-cent EBITDA margins.

* Canaccord’s Matt Bottomley lowered his Medipharm Labs Corp. (LABS-T) target to $1 from $1.75 with a “speculative buy” recommendation. The average is $1.14.

“In our view, MediPharm’s long-term outlook remains centred on its international optionality LABS continues to double-down on its wellness-focused product breadth that, although favourable to the company’s international aspirations, could present challenges as it looks to grow its Canadian presence,” said Mr. Bottomley.

* Following a “lacklustre” fourth quarter, Canaccord’s Robert Young cut his target for Pivotree Inc. (PVT-X) to $10.75 from $15.50 with a “buy” recommendation. The average is $13.40.

“Higher value recurring elements of the business had a setback with an increase in churn and a more challenging quarter for new wins, all a result of lingering COVID-19 impact,” he said. “Recurring managed services revenue suffered a quarter-over-quarter decline despite the high degree of activity in Q4 due to a customer non-renewal near end of quarter. This timing is likely to carry the impact to managed services, ARR and gross margins into Q1 exacerbating seasonality. Looking longer term, management remained bullish given a strong pipeline and very strong bookings in Q1/21. Bookings typically convert to professional services at the front end of larger engagements, which pushes a managed services rebound to H2, although a 2021 exit at a 20-per-cent-plus topline growth pace is expected but still behind plan. As well, continued investment to build sales capacity and capabilities will pressure EBITDA margins near term. IPO funds are largely earmarked for M&A, which may provide some upside. Stepping back from a more challenging quarter, the momentum in bookings and ecommerce tailwind give us confidence in the target model of 20-25-per-cent top-line growth coupled with EBITDA margin expansion toward 20-per-cent-plus in the medium term.”

* Evercore ISI analyst Jonathan Chappell raised his Canadian National Railway Co. (CNI-N, CNR-T) target to US$124 from US$120 with an “in line” recommendation. The average is US$115.67.

* TD Securities’ Steven Green raised his Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (KL-T) target to $77 from $75 with a “buy” rating. The average is $71.80.

* Scotia’s Mario Saric raised his Artis Real Estate Investment Trust target (AX.UN-T) target to $11.75 from $11, maintaining a “sector perform” recommendation. The current average is $11.93.

* BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Joel Jackson raised his target for Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund (CHE.UN-T) to $7.50 from $7 with a “market perform” rating. The average is $7.93.

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