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3 Canadian Stocks That Can Deliver Superior Returns in 2021 – The Motley Fool Canada

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Despite the rising COVID-19 cases worldwide, the Canadian equity markets continue to rise, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index standing just 0.5% lower from its all-time high. The expectation of more economic stimulus appears to be driving the equity markets higher. Amid investors’ optimism, here are the three Canadian stocks that could deliver superior returns this year.

TransAlta Renewables

The world is moving toward renewable energy resources to meet its energy requirements amid concerns over the rising pollution levels. This shift has created an enormous growth potential for renewable energy stocks, such as TransAlta Renewables (TSX:RNW). After delivering impressive returns of over 40% last year, the company has continued its upward momentum this year. Its stock price rose over 10% in the first three days of trading.

Yesterday, Democratic candidates won the two seats in Georgia, which shifted the Senate’s control towards Democrats. Joe Biden is a staunch supporter of clean energy and had provided a US$2 trillion plan to accelerate investments in clean energy during his election campaign. Investors hope that this power shift would allow Biden to implement his progressive initiatives.

Meanwhile, the company has also planned to invest $890 million to $960 million over the next couple of years on high-returning projects, which could support its earnings growth in the coming years. Last month, TransAlta Renewables acquired three of TransAlta Corporation’s assets for $359 million, which could increase its power-generating capacity by 303 megawatts. Also, these acquisitions could bring in $45 million of adjusted EBITDA annually. So, given its healthy growth prospects, I am bullish on TransAlta Renewables.

The company has been rewarding its shareholders with monthly dividends. It currently pays monthly dividends of $0.0783, with its dividend yield standing at 3.9%.

Suncor Energy

Since the beginning of November, Suncor Energy’s (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) stock price has increased by 56.6%. The multiple rollouts of vaccines have increased investors’ expectations of life and businesses returning to pre-pandemic ways, leading to a rise in oil prices. Despite the recent increase in its stock price, Suncor Energy still trades 47.8% lower from its 52-week high. The company’s valuation looks attractive, with a forward price-to-sales multiple of 1.2 and a price-to-book multiple of one.

Suncor Energy’s management has stated that its business could sustain and also pay dividends, even with WTI crude oil trading slightly lower than US$40 per barrel. With WTI crude oil trading around $50 per barrel, I expect its financials to improve in the coming quarters.

Further, the company’s management expects its operating metrics to improve this year. Its production to increase by 10%, while its operating expenses could go down by 8%. Further, the company’s downstream utilization rate to improve by 6% to 93%. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has also given an optimistic short-term outlook for the energy sector.

Lightspeed POS

After bottoming out in March, Lightspeed POS’s (TSX:LSPD)(NYSE:LSPD) stock price has rallied by over 685%. Amid the pandemic-infused shutdown, many small- and medium-scale retailers and restaurant operators shifted from legacy point-of-sale to omnichannel solutions, driving the demand for Lightspeed POS’s products and services. Its customer base grew to over 80,000 locations at the end of the recently reported second quarter, while its gross transaction value came in at $8.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the demand for the company’s services and products could sustain, given the large addressable market, a structural shift towards online shopping, and a wide array of the company’s innovative products. Also, Lightspeed POS is focusing on acquisitions to expand its footprint geographically. In the December-ending quarter, the company completed the acquisitions of Upserve and ShopKeep.

Meanwhile, check out the following report for the top 10 stocks to buy this month.

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The Motley Fool owns shares of Lightspeed POS Inc. Fool contributor Rajiv Nanjapla has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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BlackBerry shares soar 40% to highest level since 2011 – CBC.ca

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Shares in Canadian technology company BlackBerry are changing hands at their highest level in almost a decade on Monday, as investor enthusiasm for the once high-flying stock has mysteriously returned.

BlackBerry shares were trading at almost $25 a share when the Toronto Stock Exchange opened on Monday, up more than $7 or more than 40 per cent from Friday’s level.

The stock has been quietly rallying for several days now, before taking off on Monday. When 2021 began, the company was worth just over $8 a share. It’s now worth about three times that.

The company has had a number of small pieces of good news in recent weeks, but nothing that would explain Monday’s rise in share price.

Last month, the company signed a deal with Amazon to work on a connected cloud software program for cars, and then in mid-January BlackBerry favourably settled a patent fight with Facebook, but Morningstar analyst William Kerwin says neither development is enough to explain Monday’s surge.

“BlackBerry’s stock movement doesn’t appear to be rooted in any fundamental firm changes, in our view,” he said in an email to CBC News.

Instead, the company has seemingly become one of many recent firms to benefit from a groundswell of retail investor enthusiasm on popular online message boards such as Reddit, regardless of whatever the Wall Street community thinks. Of the 11 analysts who cover the company, nine have a “hold” rating on the company’s shares, and two have “sell” recommendations.

None suggest buying. But that’s not stopping retail investors from doing exactly that.

“BB is moving on Reddit boards,” said Ophir Gottlieb, CEO of trading firm Capital Market Labs. “Not much else to say.”

More than 14 million of the company’s shares changed hands in Toronto on Monday. That’s more than three times the usual volume, and half the trading day is still to come.

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist with SIA Wealth Management in Toronto, says BlackBerry is just the latest in a series of companies that have seen unexpected rises in share prices in recent weeks.

The current stock market rally has driven up the valuation of huge companies, and now investors are moving down the food chain looking for bargains.

“Smaller stocks don’t have as much liquidity or stock available to trade so a sudden stampede of cash chasing into a smaller cap stock can swamp supply and cause the kind of massive spikes on no news that have started to really pop up in the last week or so,” he said in an email to CBC News. 

“So to me, these moves are more about market sentiment, relative performance, and supply/demand issues rather than fundamental news.”

Kerwin agrees that there are no fundamental changes to BlackBerry’s business that properly explain the price surge.

“We think there’s likely a shift in market sentiment about BlackBerry, perhaps with investors getting more bullish about [their] prospects after the fact. There’s above average trading volume this morning, which might also point to [a] retail investor swell.”

Gottlieb notes that BlackBerry isn’t the only company being pushed up by the sudden trend. “This is not a single stock story, it is a behavioural story.”

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These 2 oil companies say they've reached 'net-negative' emissions through carbon capture – CBC.ca

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Banks, grocery stores, pop makers — it seems like every day, another company is pledging to become a “net-zero” emitter of greenhouse gases — at some point years or decades in the future.  

But a pair of Alberta companies say they’ve not only achieved the mark but are actually storing more emissions underground than they are producing from their operations.

Enhance Energy and Whitecap Resources both use carbon capture technology to stash emissions far below the surface.

For Enhance, the company buys the CO2 from a refinery and a fertilizer plant in central Alberta. The CO2 is transported through a pipeline to its facility north of Red Deer, where it is pumped into an old oil reservoir. The CO2 helps to free up more oil and increase the amount of crude produced at the site, a process known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). 

The private Calgary-based firm began operations last fall. So far, executives say about 4,000 tonnes of CO2 is stored underground every day, which they say is the equivalent of taking 350,000 vehicles off the road — a point of pride for the company. 

Because they’re getting the CO2 from the two large plants but only extracting a small amount of oil at this point, on balance, they say they’re burying more CO2 than their oil will produce.

“I get a warm feeling when I come on site and see that injection well,” said chief executive Kevin Jabusch. “That’s very rewarding. It makes the 10-year effort to put this project together worth it.”

Federal goal is net zero by 2050

Many in the industry, as well as some environmental groups, support the development of carbon capture technology, although there are concerns about how emission reductions are calculated and whether capturing carbon disincentivizes industries from taking action to produce fewer emissions in the first place.

The federal government has set a target of reaching net zero by 2050 and released a blueprint to achieve that goal in December, including hiking the carbon tax from the current price of $30 per tonne to $170 by 2030.

The world should be looking for the cheapest, lowest-carbon source of energy.– Kevin Jabusch, Enhance Energy

Instead of calling Enhance an oil company, Jabusch describes it as a “carbon mitigation company” and said if the carbon tax rises as expected, the day might come when Enhance no longer will need to produce oil anymore to be profitable.

Currently, the company generates revenue from oil production and from selling the carbon credits it gets for sequestering emissions. Alberta charges a carbon tax on heavy industrial emitters, but the province also has a system for companies to earn credits by reducing or storing emissions.

Jabusch said the Alberta government’s carbon tax program for large industrial emitters measures and monitors the carbon they sequester, but that data is not available publicly.

Injecting CO2 to increase output

Production from Enhance’s Clive field is around 200 barrels of oil per day, but with CO2 injection, the company expects output to gradually grow to between 4,000 and 5,000 barrels per day over the next five years.

“We’re very negative today over the full cycle of our of our operation,” said Jabusch, “and in the long term, we think it would be very close to zero.

“Where carbon pricing is headed, we think there’s going to be a strong incentive to maximize the amount of CO2 we put in the ground.”

Enhance Energy is part of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line project, which takes emissions from the Nutrien Redwater fertilizer factory and the North West Redwater Sturgeon refinery northeast of Edmonton to Enhance’s oil reservoirs near Clive. (CBC News Graphics)

Whitecap has a similar, but much larger, carbon capture project in Saskatchewan. Emissions from a coal power plant in the province and from a coal gasification facility in neighbouring North Dakota are transported to an oilfield near Weyburn, south of Regina.

In each of the last two years, about two million tonnes of CO2 were injected and stored, executives said. The figures are currently being audited. 

The Weyburn facility has operated since 2000 and was acquired by Whitecap in 2017. With growing focus on sustainability and climate change, investor interest in the project has intensified over the last year, said chief executive Grant Fagerheim.

“We’re starting to get some of the bigger funds, not just from Canada, but in the U.S. for sure, and around the world,” he said.

Unlike Enhance, Whitecap does not account for the emissions that will be generated from the eventual use of its oil, saying it has no control over how it is used, making it difficult to calculate.

Enhance Energy says it currently produces about 200 barrels of oil per day, but with the help of carbon capture technology, plans to expand to 4,000 or 5,000 barrels a day. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Varying definitions of ‘negative’ emissions

How a company determines whether it claims net-zero or net-negative status varies across the industry and can depend on the emissions that a given company is counting, which are often broken into three groups, or scopes:

  • Scope 1 includes direct emissions from the activities of an organization, such as its industrial operations or the heating of its buildings.
  • Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions, such as if the company uses electricity from a CO2-generating source, such as a gas-fired power plant.
  • Scope 3 also includes indirect emissions, but ones that are out of the organization’s control. For an oil company, Scope 3 includes tailpipe emissions from vehicles or when oil is converted into plastics. The combustion of fuel is often the largest source of emissions from a barrel of oil, compared to production, transportation and refinery activity.

For Enhance, the company said it is net negative on Scope 1, 2 and 3 while Whitecap said it’s net negative on Scope 1 and 2.

By that definition, Whitecap expects to remain net negative even as its oil production increases by an estimated 65 per cent this year following deals to acquire Torc Oil & Gas and NAL Resources Management.

“We will still be a net-negative emitter,” he said. “It is nice to be in this position at this particular time.”

Projects can carry hefty price tag

Fagerheim says he would like to build new carbon capture facilities but that they can be complex projects requiring a large capital investment and new infrastructure, including pipelines.

“I believe that people will see the light of day, but ultimately, we’re doing what’s best for ourselves, and carbon capture utilization and storage is potentially a way into the future,” he said.

The two largest carbon capture projects in Alberta, including the Carbon Trunk Line that Enhance is part of, cost more than $1 billion to develop, and both required hundreds of millions of dollars in government support.

There’s growing interest in carbon capture projects. Last week, Tesla chief and billionaire Elon Musk promised a $100 million US prize for development of the “best” technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

In Canada, one of the challenges with investing in a carbon capture project is the uncertainty about the level of carbon tax in the future since the approach to carbon pricing varies by political party.

WATCH | Is carbon capture a solution for the oil industry and climate change?

There are differing viewpoints on the technique to capture carbon emissions and use the CO2 to produce more oil from aging reservoirs. 2:50

Environmental concerns 

Environmental leaders have often had mixed feelings about carbon capture facilities because while harmful emissions are stored underground, the technology may just be enabling industries to maintain the status quo and not focus enough on reducing the use of fossil fuels.

“The science is fairly clear: we are going to need carbon capture in order to tackle the climate crisis,” Jan Gorski, an analyst with the Pembina Institute, a non-profit organization that produces research, analysis and recommendations on policies related to Canadian energy.

“Enhanced oil recovery is a way to ramp up carbon capture and drive down the costs and improve the technology as we work to eventually deploy that to tackling these more challenging sources where we really don’t have a great way to deal with the emissions right now.”

Knowledge gained from carbon capture projects operating now could eventually help reduce emissions in tougher-to-tackle industries such as cement plants and steel production, he said.

Jan Gorski with the Pembina Institute sees developing carbon capture and storage technology as beneficial, especially to eventually help with hard-to-decarbonize industries such as cement and steel production. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Some environmental groups suggest the investment in carbon capture facilities would be better spent elsewhere, such as building renewable energy projects. For example, a company could slash emissions in producing the oil, but consumers would still pump out emissions when they use it as a fuel for transportation or heating.

‘The devil is really in the details’

There is also the issue of double counting. Experts say it’s important for any action toward reducing emissions to be properly assessed. For instance, if the emissions from a power plant are used by an oil company to increase the production of an oilfield, both companies can’t take credit for the carbon-capture project.

“I think the key thing is to be clear-eyed about the end goal,” said David Keith, a Harvard University professor of applied physics and public policy based in Canmore, Alta.

Keith also founded and sits on the board of Carbon Engineering, which aims to capture emissions directly from the atmosphere. 

“For me anyway, the end goal has to be driving emissions down to zero to protect us from climate disaster and also doing it in a way that does the least damage to our economy and, in Alberta, trying to find a way forward to provide good jobs for people,” he said.

“Enhanced oil recovery can play some role, but I doubt if it’s going to be very big.”

If oil can actually be entirely net neutral or net negative from its production all the way to its end use, such as powering a vehicle, that would truly be fantastic, said Keith, but “whether or not those companies are doing it, I don’t know. The devil is really in the details.” 

Both companies see a strong future for carbon capture and EOR technologies, especially as demand for oil remains robust around the globe.

“The world should be looking for the cheapest, lowest-carbon source of energy, and we believe we compete very well with that,” said Jabusch, with Enhance.

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Ontario Premier, COVID-19 vaccine team to speak as Pfizer dose deliveries slow to halt – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford and members of his cabinet and vaccine distribution task force will speak Monday as the province enters the week without any new deliveries of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer, the larger of two suppliers of two approved COVID-19 vaccines to Canada, said last week it would drastically reduce deliveries to the EU and Canada in February as it retools a manufacturing plant in order to boost its annual output by 700 million doses.

As a result, Canada will receive no Pfizer vaccine doses this week and between 66- 80 per cent fewer than expected doses for much of February.

However, the federal government says Ontario will receive more than 81,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by Feb. 7.

News of the delivery slowdown has prompted the province to narrow its vaccination effort to long-term care homes and high risk retirement residences.

It has also prompted federal officials to allow a doubling of the gap between doses of the vaccine in certain circumstances.

Ford will be joined by Ret. Gen. Rick Hillier, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones at Queen’s Park this afternoon.

Ford has taken to assorted insults and threats to vent his frustration over the Pfizer delivery slowdown, calling the company’s official excuse about retooling a Belgian manufacturing plant “crap.”

When speaking about the delays last week, Ford, in reference to an unnamed Pfizer executive, said that he’d be “up that guy’s ying-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn’t know what hit him.”

He has repeatedly publicly appealed to U.S. President Joe Biden to send Ontario one million of its Pfizer doses as a stop gap measure.

CP24 will broadcast Ford’s comments live at 1 p.m.

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