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

Though he thinks its US$1.68-billion acquisition of TC Pipelines LP (TCP-N) “does not move the needle in terms of upside,” Industrial Alliance Securities analyst Elias Foscolos raised his rating for TC Energy Corp. (TRP-T) to “strong buy” from “buy” based on its recent trading price.

“We view the stock as one of the most attractively priced in our coverage universe due to its excellent suite of capital projects that excludes the Keystone XL Pipeline, which we believe is priced out of the market and now only provides upside,” he said. “Based on a current projected one-year return of 29 per cent we are upgrading TRP.”

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Mr. Foscolos said he sees the updated deal, announced Tuesday, as “attractive” for TC Energy, despite being only mildly accretive, noting: “Our analysis indicates that TRP is offering 8.5 times EV/EBITDA2021 for TCP. Compared to its current trading multiple, which is also below its historical average, we consider the acquisition attractive. We believe that this acquisition has the potential to bring a very modest increase in comparable earnings per share and funds flow per share. TCP’s current asset base, which consists of 90-per-cent long-term contracted revenue streams, has an imbedded $700-million in growth projects in progress with the largest being the Gas Transmission Network (GTN) Xpress pipeline expansion. The GTN Xpress will enhance market access and reliability for growing WCSB supplies and allow additional market penetration along GTN’s system in the Pacific Northwest.”

The analyst thinks the integration of TCP should allow TC Energy to “shift towards a greater weighting in Natural Gas and become less reliant on crude oil transmission.”

“We forecast that the Company’s EBITDA will be 75 per cent comprised of natural gas transmission in 2024 compared to 70 per cent in 2018,” said Mr. Foscolos. “If the KXL is in service by 2023, it is projected to add $1.4-billion in EBITDA and would increase TRP’s exposure to crude oil transmission. Either way, we view this as having positive implications to its share price.”

He maintained a target price of $70 per share. The current average on the Street is $70.48.

“TC has a robust suite of capital projects that will support per share cash flow growth, leading to either dividend increases or alternative energy investments,” said Mr. Foscolos. “The Keystone XL pipeline, which faces opposition on many fronts, is priced out of our model and in our opinion priced out of its current share price. As the Company will not risk shareholder capital until certainty is established, this project only offers further upside.”

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Seeing it as a “market and loyalty leader,” ATB Capital Markets analyst Kenric Tyghe thinks Loblaw Companies Ltd. (L-T) is looking to leverage that advantage to win the escalating battle for online customers.

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“We believe that Loblaw’s leading loyalty program and online market share, underpinned by a well-balanced footprint from coast-to-coast, represents a compelling proposition at current levels,” he said. “Loblaw has jumped to a material early lead in online grocery in Canada on 2020 sales of an estimated more than $2.5-billion, which gives it a healthy lead over both conventional grocer and mass merchant competitors. We believe that that the breadth, depth and (data) tail of Loblaw’s market leading PC Optimum program has never been of greater value to the Company than it is today as consumers look to navigate their new normal and Loblaw looks to leverage it loyalty analytics driven consumer insights into further accretive share gains.”

Seeing the “pandemic hangover as panacea for Canada’s leading grocer,” Mr. Tyghe initiated coverage with an “outperform” recommendation on Wednesday.

“While food sales in Canada have been rising steadily, increasing at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 4.1 per cent from $100.7-billion in 2017 to $109.1-billion in 2019, growth has accelerated through 2020 to date reflecting an increase of 10.4 per cent compared with the year-ago period,” he said. “We expect elevated 2020 grocery spend of $117.3-billion for imputed growth of 7.6 per cent, versus the three-year CAGR between 2017 and 2019 of 4.1 per cent, and our conservative expectations of a CAGR through 2022 of 4.3 per cent.”

“In Canada, 2019 online sales as a percentage of total retail were a relatively paltry 6.3 per cent and online grocery was roughly 4.2 per cent of food from stores sales. While Loblaw has gained significant traction with its online business, more than doubling expected sales to more than $2.5-billion, their success makes it a big target for conventional grocer and mass merchant competitors, and will need continued strong execution and loyalty analytics driven insights to keep the lead.”

Mr. Tyghe set a target of $83 per share, which implies a total return of 27.3 per cent based on Tuesday’s close. The average is $79.91.

“The execution upside for the Company is, in our opinion, material and our applied target multiples could prove conservative should the Company continue to grow its leadership position online,” he said.

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Concurrently, Mr. Tyghe initiated coverage of Empire Company Ltd. (EMP.A-T) with an “outperform” recommendation and $44 target, exceeding the $42.89 average.

“In July 2020, following the successful completion of Project Sunrise, Empire unveiled Project Horizon, which is a three-year strategic plan designed to increase market share, while improving operating leverage in order to generate an incremental $500-million in EBITDA through 2023,” he said. “Its key initiatives include, investments in physical assets through store renovations and conversions, further advancement of the Company’s e-commerce platform, and the optimization of its private label offering.

“While the Empire of today is not the Empire of yesterday, and the Company is successfully driving change at an unprecedented pace, the strategy is not without risk and the team will have to continue executing near flawlessly to assume the ascendency in Canadian grocery.”

He also gave Metro Inc. (MRU-T) a “sector perform” rating and $61 target, which falls below the $63.50 average:

“While the team has long been regarded as one of the best in the business, they need to put in a good run, or two to get the Company in contention in online grocery,” he said. “The measured execution for which Metro is renowned was wrong footed by the pandemic, which drove a step change in consumer preference for online grocery overnight. Metro, in our opinion was the least well positioned of the big three grocers to manage the pace of the change, and while the Company is hurrying hard and accelerating various online related initiatives, the loyalty that its banners enjoy in its home province of Quebec will only buy the Company so much time.”

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After its results exceeded expectations on the Street for a second consecutive quarter, ATB Capital Markets analyst David Kideckel upgraded Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (FAF-T), citing its “profitability, capital position, sophisticated management expertise and credibility, as well as its increased revenue base.”

On Tuesday before the bell, the Edmonton-based cannabis retailer reported revenue of $33.1-million for the third quarter, exceeding the projections of both Mr. Kideckel ($28.8-million) and the consensus on the Street ($29.7-million). Adjusted EBITDA of $1.2-million also topped estimates (losses of $1.3-million and $0.6-million, respectively).

“Despite positive Q3/FY20 results, we maintain a cautious near-term outlook given COVID-related store closures,” the analyst said. “In addition, we expect FAF to incur acquisition integration costs over the next few quarters, temporarily impacting the Company’s adj. EBITDA margin.”

“We view market fragmentation and industry growth to leave FAF with a long runway for growth. With a robust capital position and the partnership with Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B-T), we believe FAF is well-positioned to continue expanding its retail footprint and seize international expansion opportunities should they become available, especially in the U.S.. FAF can also leverage Hifyre to advance its retail operations as well as explore high-margin monetization options. Moreover, we believe that FAF’s product mix will continue to evolve from 1.0 products (e.g. flower was 50 per cent of sales this Q) to 2.0 products (e.g. vapes continue to be the number 1 selling 2.0 product, system-wide).”

Though he lowered his estimates to account for COVID-19-related lockdown restrictions as well as increased competition, Mr. Kideckel raised his rating to “outperform” from “speculative buy” with a $2 target, up from $1.80. The average is $1.78.

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CIBC World Markets analyst Bryce Adams initiated coverage a quarter of TSX-listed mining stocks on Wednesday.

“Concurrently, we have revised our commodity price deck, which is more positive on copper versus metallurgical coal and zinc. The revised price deck has been applied across our existing coverage (de Souza: Capstone, Copper Mountain, Ero, and Sierra), and we have introduced a sustaining free cash flow metric for price target generation across our base metals coverage,” he said.

Citing “their exposure to our preferred commodity (copper) as well as near-term free cash flow generation,” Mr. Adams initiated coverage of these stocks with “outperformer” ratings:

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM-T) with a $24 target. The average on the Street is $21.

“FM offers investors growing exposure to copper, through the ramp-up and potential expansion at Cobre Panama, and possible growth for the company’s Zambian assets (i.e., S3 project), at an improving financial position,” he said. “We acknowledge potential risks from further COVID-19 disruptions (i.e., CP, Zambian operations), CP’s stability agreement, and Zambia’s unpredictable fiscal policies; however, we believe FM’s cost/benefit over the next 18 months remains attractive.”

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Hudbay Minerals Inc. (HBM-T) with a $10.75 target. Average: $8.71.

“HBM offers investors growing exposure to gold, through the ramp-up of the gold zone at its Manitoba operations, and potential growth opportunities in copper, through brownfield prospects at Constancia (i.e., Maria Reyna, Caballito deposits) and greenfield projects in the U.S. (i.e., Rosemont and Ann Mason),” he said. “While we forecast Rosemont would be constructed, we assume first production only in 2026. We currently estimate a significant improvement in FCF generation over the next two years, from negative 7 per cent in 2020E to 13 per cent in 2022E. We acknowledge potential risks from further COVID-19 disruptions (i.e., Constancia stoppages), but believe that HBM’s current financial position could support its business through additional disruptions.”

Pointing to “less favourable near-term free cash flow generation, a lack of near-term catalysts, and slightly less favourable commodity exposures,” Mr. Adamsgave “neutral” recommendations to:

Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK.B-T) with a 25 target. The average on the Street is $23.98.

“TECK offers investors diversified exposure mainly to hard coking coal (HCC), copper, zinc and energy, through established operating assets, and a major copper development project (Quebrada Blanca 2),” he said. “We expect TECK’s cost-saving and operating efficiency initiatives (i.e., CRP, RACE21), plus strong liquidity, to continue supporting the company’s financial flexibility, growth initiatives and cash distribution to shareholders. However, our analysis suggests that potential future stock returns are well balanced with the risk of project execution at QB2, of a challenging price environment for HCC, and of limited/negative cash flow contributions from the energy business.”

Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN-T) with an $11 target. Average: $11.55.

“LUN offers investors exposure mainly to copper, but also to zinc, nickel and precious metals through established operating assets,” he said. “However, the company is currently expanding its zinc business through the Neves Corvo Zinc Expansion Project and has guided to the possibility of adding new assets to its portfolio, which could further enhance cash flow generation. LUN currently has the strongest financial position in our coverage, which suggests an acquisitive strategy wouldn’t materially compromise financial flexibility. In our view, LUN remains well positioned to navigate a still uncertain macro environment, through a disciplined capital allocation and strong execution. However, our analysis suggests potential stock returns are currently well balanced, especially in light of some operating issues in 2020, with limited upside to our price target, and a lack of near-term catalysts.”

In the same note, Mr. Adams upgraded Copper Mountain Mining Corp. (CMMC-T) to “outperformer” from “neutral” with a $2 target, up from $1.80.

He also made these target changes:

  • Capstone Mining Corp. (CS-T, “outperformer”) to $2.20 from $1.90. Average: $2.25.
  • Ero Copper Corp. (ERO-T, “neutral”) to $21 from $23.50. Average: $23.65.
  • Sierra Metals Inc. (SMT-T, “outperformer”) to $4.80 from $3.50. Average: $4.44.

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Equity analysts at CIBC World Markets expect to see the demand for oil and consumer confidence increase with the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Though the firm cautions that the macro backdrop for the energy industry remains “wrought with uncertainty,” it sees a “glimmers of optimism” for 2021.

“This year was extraordinarily difficult for the energy sector following the unprecedented impact of pandemic-related demand destruction and a brief OPEC+ price war,” CIBC said. “Given its relative performance vs. the broader index, we understand why investors have been quick to shy away from the sub-sector.

“Looking forward to 2021, we believe that: 1) pandemic-related demand recovery; 2) OPEC+ supply restraint; and, 3) continued draws of OECD inventory towards historical norms will, in combination, render the sector a lot harder to ignore as fundamental momentum should continue. We believe strengthening prices will drive compelling free cash flow valuations in the space relative to other industries. Despite the strength in natural gas fundamentals, we carry an increasing bias towards oil-weighted companies in 2021. We remain biased towards companies with solid fundamentals, including strong balance sheets, low sustaining capital requirements, and above-average free cash flow (FCF) generation. Our top picks for the next year include ARX, CNQ, CPG, SU, WCP, and VII.”

In a research report released Wednesday previewing 2021, the firm made four rating changes.

Analyst Dennis Fong upgraded Ovintiv Inc. (OVV-N, OVV-T) to “neutral” from “underperformer” with a US$19 target, up from US$12. The average on the Street is US$13.32.

Analyst David Popowich raised Crescent Point Corp. (CPG-T) to “outperformer” from “neutral” with a $4.50 target, rising from $31. Average:

Mr. Popowich also raised Yangarra Resources Ltd. (YGR-T) to “neutral” from “underperformer” with a 75-cent target (unchanged). The current average is 91 cents.

Conversely, analyst Jamie Kubik lowered PrairieSky Royalty Ltd. (PSK-T) to “neutral” from “outperformer” with a $13.50 target, up from $12.50. The average is $11.83.

“On the back of the improving oil price expectations we also upgrade YGR and OVV to Neutral (from Underperformer) and CPG to Outperformer (from Neutral). We have increased our price target on PSK, but downgrade the shares to Neutral (from Outperformer) due to a lower relative return compared to some of its peers at this juncture,” the firm said.

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Calling it a “platform ready for growth,” Acumen Capital analyst Nick Corcoran initiated coverage of MAV Beauty Brands Inc. (MAV-T) with a “buy” recommendation on Wednesday.

“We believe MAV offers a compelling investment with an attractive valuation compared to larger peers and a platform ready to ‘clean up’ in the fragmented global personal care industry,” he said.

Mr. Corcoran thinks its “asset light” model generates “significant” free cash flow to scale its business, which already includes a “diversified” portfolio of four complementary personal care brands (Marc Anthony True Professional, Renpure, Cake Beauty, and The Mane Choice.)

“MAV has built an operating platform that utilizes a supply chain of co-packers and distributors to get products to point of sale,” he said. “This allows MAV to generate a significant amount of free cash flow that the Company can use to acquire additional brands. The platform is built out for $500-million in revenue and multiple brands.”

The analyst set a $8 target. The average on the Street is $6.

“MAV trades at 6.6 times 2021 estimated EBITDA, compared to the global personal care peer group of 17.5 times, consumer packaged goods peer group of 15.1 times, and branded Canadian consumer products peer group of 12.1 times,” he said. “We believe that as MAV grows in scale through organic growth and acquisitions that it will trade in line with the overall peer group.”

“We believe catalysts for the story include acquisitions and a re-rating of the stock in line with its larger peers with demonstrated generation of free cash flow. While the near-term focus is on using free cash flow to reduce debt, the Company may be in a position to execute an acquisition as early as H1/21.”

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Leede Jones Gable analyst Douglas Loe initiated coverage of a group of Canadian companies, including several pharmaceutical firms, on Wednesday.

They include:

IMV Inc. (IMV-T) with a “speculative buy” rating and $10.50 target. The average on the Street is $9.05.

“The firm’s flagship technology platform is the lipid-based water-free injectable DPX platform, which is currently led by the survivin peptide-based formulation DPX-Survivac that is still targeting several high-profile oncology markets in ongoing Phase II testing,” he said.

“DPX-COVID-19 ranks among the top three most advanced Canadian COVID-19 vaccine developers: The company was among the earliest of Canadian biotech firms selected by the Canadian Government for funding as it relates to the firm’s preclinical stage SARS-COV-2 vaccine DPX-COVID-19. To date the firm has received $10-million from the government for efforts relating to this vaccine candidate. IMV expects to advance the asset into formal Phase I/II trials before end-2020. ... IMV’s DPX-COVID-19 vaccine addresses several pain points over its other homegrown peers, notably as it relates to rapid scale up of its manufacturing capabilities in order to meet pandemic-related demand.”

Liminal BioSciences Inc. (LMNL-Q) with a “hold” rating and US$4 target. The average is US$10.25

“We are initiating coverage ... on Liminal BioSciences, a QB-based plasma products and anti-fibrotic small molecule drug developer with two flagship products in clinical testing, one a plasma-derived plasminogen formulation branded as Ryplazim for which Phase III data targeting congenital plasminogen deficiency was highly-positive and approvable in our view, and a second Phase I-stage phenylacetate-based small molecule drug called fezagepras (legacy name was PBI-4050) for which efficacy has been documented for at least one dosage strength in lung fibrosis and Alstrom syndrome,” said Mr. Loe. “A secondary program based on collecting convalescent plasma from COVID-19-infected individuals seems to us to be of modest market value based on recent published data (in the New England Journal of Medicine and elsewhere, as we will describe) and on the likelihood in our view that alternative antiviral and immune therapies are likely to dominate this market in the medium-term.”

IntelGenx Technologies Corp. (IGX-X) with a “speculative buy” rating and $1 target. The average is $1.20.

“To date, the firm has secured two cannabis-related agreements. The first was with BC-based medical cannabis manufacturer/ marketer Tilray (TLRY-Q) signed in Nov/18 for the development of oral cannabis films targeting the recreational use and medical cannabis markets,” he said. “The second and more recent was signed with Heritage Cannabis (CANN-CN) in Oct/20 for the supply of CBD film strips targeting Canadian and Australian markets, and for which IGX will receive both a manufacturing margin and royalties based on gross margin.

“But owing to the lack of visibility for now on the Heritage deal, our forecasts for now are centered on the existing Tilray agreement, which we anticipate could generate revenue in the upcoming year. The firm has a cannabis micro-processing license accorded by Health Canada since Jun/20, and so we anticipate timelines to commercial launch for Tilray-partnered products should be forthcoming by F2021. Oral CBD/THC strip formulations have so far commanded premium pricing, and subsequent revenue generation from product launches should be considered an inflection point for IGX.”

Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (ONC-T) with a “speculative buy” rating and $8.50 target. The average is $8.93.

“Oncolytics Biotech is a cancer-focused virus-based therapy developer,” he said. “The firm’s lead is the oncolytic virus therapy is pelareorep, a strain of the RNA enteric/respiratory pathogen reovirus for which anti-cancer activity was long-ago documented. Oncolytics is singularly focused on exploring plausible paths to approval and clinical use in one or more cancer forms. On that theme, Phase II clinical studies are already ongoing in three flagship cancer indications – metastatic breast cancer, advanced pancreatic cancer, and multiple myeloma (the first two of which are embedded into our model). Impressive survival benefit data has already been generated for one of these indications (metastatic breast cancer) in a 74-patient Phase II trial completed back in FQ117. Survival/tumor response/biomarker data in all three of these indications are expected during FH121.”

Extendicare Inc. (EXE-T) with a “buy” rating and $8 target. The average is $7.13.

“Extendicare operates multiple healthcare services silos in several Canadian provinces (though mostly in ON/AB), with particular emphasis on nursing home and home healthcare operations. In parallel, the firm operates more modest but highly profitable retirement residences facilities in ON/SK. Extendicare’s legacy nursing home operations in the US have long ago been divested (in FQ414, to Formation Capital) and indeed, cash proceeds from that transaction were substantially deployed to acquire many of its foundational retirement residence assets. Accordingly, our EXE investment thesis and valuation have long been focused on Canadian eldercare services, with even greater emphasis on home healthcare generated through the acquisition of Revera’s (private) home healthcare operations back in F2015. We provide supplemental commentary on all three of Extendicare’s EBITDA-contributing business units below, while providing retrospective emphasis specifically on FQ320 financial data just reported.”

K-Bro Linen Inc. (KBL-T) with a “buy” rating and $42 target. The average is $40.

“At present, K-Bro remains relatively undervalued to its direct peer group,” he said. “The firm presently trades at 13.7 times FY1 EV/EBITDA and 12.7 times FY2 EV/EBITDA, which is lower than its own peer group at 18.4 times/16.7 times respectively. Even at a conservative multiple of 10 times 2022 EV/EBITDA, this implies a share price of $43.68 or a 13-per-cent premium from current price levels. Loyal followers of our KBL research will recall that we were cautious on valuation during the early days of COVID-19 pandemic logistics, but FQ320 data and commentary as we describe below, gives us confidence in K-Bro’s operational excellence and leadership in the niche healthcare/hospitality linen/laundry processing industry.”

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TD Securities analyst Greg Barnes downgraded Cameco Corp. (CCO-T) on Wednesday to “hold” from “buy” with an $18 target, up from $16. The average is $17.68.

Mr. Barnes also made the following target price changes:

  • Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN-T) to $12 from $10 with a “hold” rating. The average is $11.15.
  • First Quantum Minerals (FM-T) to $26 from $20 with a “buy” rating. Average: $21.
  • Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK.B-T) to $30 from $24 with an “action list buy” rating. Average: $23.98.
  • Hudbay Minerals Inc. (HBM-T) to $12 from $8.50 with a “buy” rating. Average: $8.71.
  • Sherritt International Corp. (S-T) to 45 cents from 35 cents with a “hold” rating. Average: 38 cents.
  • Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (IVN-T) to $8 from $7.50 with a “buy” rating. Average: $7.29.

Colleague Craig Hutchison raised Copper Mountain Mining Corp. (CMMC-T) to “buy” from “hold” with a $2.25 target, rising from $1.45. The average is $1.88.

Mr. Hutchison also upgraded Taseko Mines Ltd. (TKO-T) to “buy” from “hold” with a $1.90 target, up from $1.65. The average is $1.59.

He also made several target changes including:

  • Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Corp. (LIF-T) to $38 from $32 with a “buy” rating. Average: $33.57.
  • Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ-T) to $24 from $21 with a “speculative buy” rating. Average $16.66.
  • Capstone Mining Corp. (CS-T) to $3 from $2 with a “buy” rating. Average: $2.25.
  • Trevali Mining Corp. (TV-T) to 25 cents from 20 cents with a “hold” rating. Average: 21 cents.
  • Trilogy Metals Inc. (TMQ-T) to $3.25 from $3 with a “hold” rating. Average: $3.75.
  • Altius Minerals Corp. (ALS-T) to $16 from $14.50 with a “buy” rating. Average: $15.38.

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Beyond its success with its COVID-19 vaccine, it’s hard to see further upside for Pfizer Inc. (PFE-N), according to RBC Dominion Securities analyst Randall Stanicky, who downgraded its stock to “sector perform” from “outperform” on Wednesday.

“What PFE has accomplished in getting a vaccine to market in record time, without taking government money, is nothing short of remarkable,” he said. “But we believe the ‘stock’ reflects the vaccine DCF opportunity, making it harder for us to argue for more meaningful upside to our price target. There is still much we don’t know, but that also includes the level of vaccine competition that could catch up in 2021.”

In justifying his move during a period in which Pfizer’s vaccine approval has been celebrated, Mr. Stanicky pointed the following factors: “(i) We think a bull case vaccine scenario is largely in the stock, with PFE first to market and getting credit for much of 2021 capacity of 1.3 billion doses (we now model $0.90 in 2021 EPS). (ii) Sustainable opportunity in 2022 and beyond still far from clear, but competitive vaccine updates, possibly with superior dosing/logistics, could add headwinds (MRNA Adcom tomorrow, approval imminent); and durability via booster demand remains an unknown. (iii) The stock has had a meaningful move off late-June (post PALLAS) lows of $30, rising 27 per cent through the VTRS distribution versus DRG up 7 per cent. That move compares to the vaccine DCF we currently model at $1.50, recognizing that not all of that move is vaccine-related.”

Expecting the stock to remain rangebound in the near-term, he trimmed his target to US$42 from US$43. The average is US$41.95.

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In other analyst actions:

* Stifel analyst W. Andrew Carter upgraded Hexo Corp. (HEXO-T) to “hold” from “sell” with a $1.40 target, rising from 60 cents. The average is $1.20.

* In response to the latest update on Phase II of the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, Scotia Capital analyst Orest Wowkodaw raised his target for shares of Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ-T) to $22.50 from $20 with a “sector outperform” rating. The average is $16.66.

“Overall, we view the update as positive for TRQ shares given the slightly lower capex. We rate TRQ shares SO based on relative valuation and the scarcity of high-quality Cu projects,” said Mr. Wowkodaw.

* Stifel analyst Christopher O’Cull increased its target for Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR-N, QSR-T) to US$70 from US$65 with a “buy” recommendation. The average is $64.69.

* Desjardins Securities analyst Gary Ho raised his target for shares of goeasy Ltd. (GSY-T) to $99 from $89 with a “buy” rating. The average is $98.67.

“Our investment thesis is predicated on: (1) GSY has been able to successfully weather the pandemic and remains well-insulated with its loan protection insurance program; (2) management has shifted its focus more toward offence, suggesting growth through organic initiatives and M&A is likely near-term; and (3) with scale, the business could consistently generate mid-20-per-cent ROE,” he said.

* BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Joel Jackson raised his target for Lithium Americas Corp. (LAC-T) to $11 from $10 with a “market perform” rating. The average is $13.69.

* TD Securities analyst Sam Damiani raised his target for Dream Industrial REIT (DIR.UN-T) to $14.50 from $13.50 with a “buy” rating. The average is $13.56.

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