Ballard Power Systems Inc. (BLDP.TO)
Investors in the world’s biggest maker of fuel cells for transforming hydrogen into energy have seen a 60 per cent surge in the value of their shares since the election of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden. Biden’s proposed attack on climate crisis, priced at about $ 3 trillion (U.S.), includes heavy investments in clean-energy alternatives to fossil fuels, including hydrogen, a technology that Burnaby, B.C.-based Ballard has been developing for decades. Ballard stock got another boost this week with the certification of Biden’s victory on Capitol Hill. And Ottawa is expected to soon unveil a national hydrogen strategy that, among other features, sees a national network of hydrogen fuelling stations by 2050.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP.TO)
CPR stock popped this week on Jan. 4 news of record grain shipments by the railway for the quarter and for calendar 2020. As an essential link in the food supply chain, CPR has been more insulated from pandemic economic damage than most sectors, though it also ships vehicles and consumer durables that are vulnerable to the recession. That said, CPR and Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR.TO) have been pandemic winners, posting stock gains of 42 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, in the past year. The strong financial performance of these two proxies for the Canadian economy point to a decent economic recovery in 2021.
Precision Drilling Corp. (PD.TO)
The leading oil services company, based in Calgary, posted stock gains this week on expectations of increased oil and gas drilling activity in its principal Canadian and U.S. markets. Even in a dismal 2020, Precision was able to exceed analysts’ expectations with lower than anticipated losses despite much of its drilling activity and rig-equipment rentals diminished due to the oil-price slump.
Despite signs of an industry upturn in 2021, CEO Kevin Neveu remains committed to cutting annual fixed costs by 35 per cent. Neveu has described that campaign of cost reduction, already underway, as “simply grinding through the toughest downturn in the history of the oil and gas industry.”
Dye & Durham Ltd. (DND.TO)
The Toronto-based consolidator of legal-services software lost a bit of favour with investors this week with the news that six significant shareholders, including the firm’s CEO and architect of its growth-by-acquisition strategy, are selling $ 175-million worth of their shares in the company. The sellers include the private equity arm of Manulife Financial Corp., which cashed in handsomely on a portion of its three-year-old investment in D&D.
But the fundamentals of D&D’s strategy haven’t changed: the firm is still on the lookout for acquisitions, even after its $ 530-million takeover earlier this month of DoProcess LP, the largest Canadian provider of management software for real estate practices.
Sienna Senior Living Inc. (SIA.TO)
Shares of the long-term care (LTC) provider slipped this week on continued crisis conditions in Ontario long-term care facilities. As of Jan. 2, the Ontario government reports that there are 188 ongoing pandemic outbreaks in the province’s LTC sector. Shares of Sienna and publicly traded rival Extendicare Inc. have each lost close to one-third of their value over the past year. A further decline in Sienna share value this week follows a York Region Public Health reprimand of Sienna’s Villa Leonardo Gambin LTC home in Vaughan, which has not been able to end a COVID-19 outbreak that began Nov. 10, and where York Region alleges “inadequate senior leadership.”
Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (BAM-A.TO)
Investors reacted cautiously to BAM’s announcement this week of a $ 5.9-billion offer to buy out minority shares in Brookfield Property Partners (BPP), in which BAM already holds a stake of about 60 per cent. Shares in Toronto-based BAM lost some value this week as investors worried that BAM might be forced to raise its bid for BPP, which trades at a discount to asset value; and because the deal increases BAM’s exposure to a commercial real estate sector that has been hard hit in the pandemic recession. Long-term projects like BPP’s Manhattan West, part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment in New York, take years to generate investor returns.