A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today
On the rise
Shares of Aphria Inc. (APHA-T) jumped 6 per cent on Wednesday after a pair of equity analysts raised their ratings for its stock a day after it reduced its 2020 outlook.
CIBC World Markets’ John Zamparo said: "There will be issues to contend with, such as ongoing elevated capex spend and substantial working capital investments. But the balance sheet is relatively strong and market share gains are encouraging. With the stock having breached our previous $6.50 price target [Tuesday] and in recent weeks, ... we upgrade Aphria.”
The beat led an equity analyst at Raymond James to raise his rating for the Moncton-based company’s stock.
BlackRock Inc. (BLK-N), the world’s largest asset manager, was 2.3 per cent higher after it beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by strong flows into its exchange-traded fund business that boosted overall assets under management to a record US$7.43-trillion.
A rally in global equity markets and strong inflows across business segments helped the company lure US$128.84-billion in new money during the fourth quarter through Dec. 31.
“I think it’s quite evident from our flows in the fourth quarter that we are winning more of our clients’ share of wallet,” Chief Executive Larry Fink said in an interview with Reuters.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH-N), the largest U.S. health insurer, increased 2.8 per cent after it reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as it managed to control medical costs and made gains with the unit that houses its pharmacy benefits management business.
The industry bellwether affirmed its full-year forecast for 2020 adjusted earnings of $16.25 to $16.55 per share, compared to analysts’ average estimates of $16.46.
Analysts said the company was again being conservative in its forecast at the start of a new financial year, encouraging investors to take profits on a 40% rise in its stock, which has crept near record highs of around $300 since October.
Fears of drastic policy changes in the run-up to the 2020 U.S. presidential elections weighed on health insurer stocks for much of last year.
On the decline
Cogeco Communications Inc. (CCA-T) slid 9.4 per cent after the cable and internet provider missed expectations despite a 20 per cent increase in net income in its most recent quarter.
The Montreal-based company’s shares were down $7.62 or 6.7 per cent at $105.30 in late morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Cogeco says it earned $84.2 million for the period ended Nov. 30, up from $70.2 million a year earlier.
That translated into $1.70 per diluted share, compared with $1.41 per share in the first quarter of 2019.
Revenue grew 1.8 per cent to $586.8 million from $576.7 million, driven by growth in its U.S. broadband services segment.
Meanwhile, Cogeco Inc. (CGO-T) was 9.9 per cent lower after it also reported its latest results after Tuesday’s close.
The company said first-quarter revenue rose by 1.8 per cent to $618.5-million. Earnings per share diluted rose to $1.94 from $1.60 a year earlier. Cogeco also maintained its current fiscal guidance.
Shares of FedEx Corp. (FDX-N) was down 1.8 per cent on Wednesday following an announcement from Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN-Q) that it will allow its third-party sellers to start using FedEx’s ground service again after banning them from using it for about a month during the busy holiday shopping season because FedEx purportedly wasn’t delivering on time.
FedEx jumped 1.8 per cent on Tuesday as rumours of the move trickled out.
U.S. retailer Target Corp. (TGT-N) slumped 6.6 per cent after it missed its own expectations for holiday season sales, citing weak demand for toys and electronics for growth of just 1.4 per cent and dragging shares across the retail sector lower.
The industry bellwether’s strategy of improved merchandise, loyalty program, store layout, which resulted in three strong quarters this year and a record-breaking 2018 holiday period, fell short during the shorter-than-usual holiday season.
Comparable sales growth a year ago was 5.7 per cent.
Rival Walmart Inc. (WMT-N) fell 0.7 per cent.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS-N) lost 0.1 per cent after it reported quarterly profit that missed analysts’ estimates by a wide margin before the bell, hurt by weakness in its investment banking business and higher operating costs.
The bank’s net earnings applicable to common shareholders fell to US$1.72-billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from US$2.32-billion a year earlier. Earnings per share fell to US$4.69 from US$6.04.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of US$5.47 per share, according to the IBES estimate from Refinitiv.
Revenue from investment banking fell 6 per cent to US$2.06-billion, hurt by lower M&A advisory fees, as well as a slowdown in corporate lending.
Total net revenue, however, jumped 23 per cent to US$9.96-billion as three of its four main reporting lines performed strongly.
With files from staff and wires