Laurentian Bank (LB) +7.9%
There’s been plenty of news for Laurentian investors to react to lately. This past week, a union representing roughly 20 per cent of the bank’s employees was dissolved. April 16, the bank announced that two ratings agencies — S&P and DBRS Morningstar — had upgraded its ratings on the bank’s debt. That upgrade also helped pave the way for Laurentian to get permission from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to issue $ 2 billion in covered bonds. Covered bonds are backed by other loans issued by the bank.
Martinrea International Inc (MRE) +4.5%
Martinrea, a Vaughan-based auto parts manufacturer, recently announced a deal with Quebec’s NanoXplore to develop and produce electric vehicle batteries using graphene. Graphene is the thinnest material on earth; the man-made substance is carbon-based, and is just one atom thick. It conducts heat and electricity more efficiently than other materials. The joint venture between the two companies is called Volta Xplore Inc. If a demonstration facility to be built in Montreal is successful, the companies hope to roll out a full production facility.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI) +3.0%
While food manufacturing companies have been allowed to remain open throughout COVID, they have sometimes struggled with outbreaks in some of their facilities. This past week, Maple Leaf announced that it would be helping set up on-site vaccination clinics for employees at its four facilities in Peel Region. Peel has been one of the hardest-hit regions in Ontario during the third wave of the COVID pandemic.
CN Railway Co. (CNR) -8.6%
Is CN Rail’s $ 29.9 billion (U.S.) bid for Kansas City Southern too rich, or are investors betting it gets stopped by U.S. regulators? Either way, the company’s shares have dropped since it announced a bid that would beat (at least financially) CP Rail’s $ 25.2 billion bid for the U.S. operator. CP slammed its rival’s bid, saying it would substantially reduce competition in the North American freight rail market. Analysts have noted that there’s some overlap between CN’s and KSU’s rail network, while there’s virtually none between CP’s and KSU’s.
Methanex Corp. (MX) -5.0%
The world’s largest supplier of methanol — typically used as a fuel additive, solvent or in antifreeze — has seen its shares drop this past week, even though the price of methanol is at its highest in two and a half years. Methanol has gone from $ 276 (U.S.) per metric tonne last summer, is now selling for $ 519. One possible reason for Methanex’s drop? It’s likely paying more for raw materials: Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is produced on an industrial scale from natural gas. Another possibility is profit-taking by investors who’ve seen Methanex shares rise as high as $ 60 this year.
Ovintiv Inc. (OVV) -4.6%
Ovintiv, the oil and gas company formerly known as Encana, has seen its shares go on a bit of a roller-coaster ride lately. Perhaps not surprising, given that the price of crude oil has ranged anywhere from $ 44 to $ 66 (U.S.) per barrel this year. Natural gas prices have also been all over the place, partly driven by the cold snap in the U.S. which saw snow even in Texas. Ovintiv reports its fourth quarter earnings on April 29.