Today’s top headlines
Market close: TSX down 100 points, U.S. stock markets also lower
Canada’s main stock index lost 100 points today, led lower by metals, utilities and financials, while U.S. markets also declined.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 101.89 points at 19,348.81.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 250.91 points at 33,414.17. The S&P 500 index was down 36.60 points at 4,278.00, while the Nasdaq composite was down 128.13 points at 13,186.13.
The Canadian dollar traded for 72.91 cents U.S. compared with 73.07 cents U.S. on Wednesday.
The December crude contract was up US$1.10 at US$88.37 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down 10 cents at US$2.96 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was up US$12.20 at US$1,980.50 an ounce and the December copper contract was up a penny at US$3.60 a pound.
The Canadian Press
NexGen looks to Australia’s equity market as it sets up financing for Canadian uranium mine
Canada’s NexGen Energy Ltd. is looking to Australia’s equity market as it sets up financing for its first-ever uranium mine back home, a project with a US$1 billion price tag.
That’s partly because its co-founder heralds from Down Under and the market has a depth of experience with mining stocks. But more important is Australia’s US$2.2 trillion pensions industry, creating what NexGen’s chief commercial officer Travis McPherson termed “unrelenting” demand for assets.
So, while the Vancouver-based firm had crews preparing grounds to drill a shaft in Saskatchewan this summer, its executives were in Sydney and Melbourne to drum up interest in its stock as the company pursues inclusion in benchmark indexes to better access retirement funds. Read the full story here.
Canadian firms hit with 25 cyberattacks on average over past year, survey says
A survey by EY shows 81 per cent Canadian companies experienced at least 25 cybersecurity incidents over the past year, compared to 73 per cent of respondents globally.
The EY 2023 Global Cybersecurity Leadership Insights study also shows the global median cost of a breach jumped 12 per cent to US$2.5 million this year.
In Canada, 44 per cent of businesses reported they collectively spent US$50 million annually on cybersecurity.
Yogen Appalraju, a cybersecurity leader at EY Canada, says the country is now starting to experience more costly and high-profile breaches, in line with a trend south of the border.
The study suggests despite higher spending by companies, detection and response times appear to be slow, with more than half of respondents saying their business took an average of six months or longer to detect a breach.
The survey shows almost half of respondents find it difficult to balance security and innovation, and view cloud and internet of things technologies as big risks in the next five years.
The Canadian Press
Carbon capture key to net-zero, but Ottawa’s timeline too tight, report says
Carbon capture and storage is key to greening Canada’s electricity grid, but meeting the proposed time frame laid out by the federal government will be extremely difficult based on the current state of the technology, a new report says.
Ottawa has proposed clean electricity regulations aimed at getting Canada’s electricity grid to net-zero by 2035.
This will likely require large-scale deployment of carbon capture and storage technology at natural gas and coal-fired power plants in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, due to a lack of availability of hydroelectric power in those provinces.
In a new report, the Regina-based International CCUS Knowledge Centre says in order to be compliant with the federal regulations, natural gas-fired power plants would need to achieve a nearly 95 per cent CO2 capture rate.
But the organization points out that no carbon capture facility in the world is currently achieving that level of performance.
The only large-scale carbon capture facility in Canada currently operating on a power plant is at SaskPower’s Boundary Dam and it has a CO2 capture rate of 65 to 70 per cent.
The Canadian Press
Jerome Powell says Federal Reserve ‘proceeding carefully,’ leaves door open to interest rate hike
United States Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell suggested the U.S. central bank is inclined to hold interest rates steady again at its next meeting while leaving open the possibility of another hike later if policymakers see further signs of resilient economic growth.
“Given the uncertainties and risks, and how far we have come, the committee is proceeding carefully,” Powell said in prepared remarks to the Economic Club of New York. “We will make decisions about the extent of additional policy firming and how long policy will remain restrictive based on the totality of the incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks.”
Powell also pointed to tightening financial conditions, driven by a rise in longer-term bond yields, and said “persistent changes in financial conditions can have implications for the path of monetary policy.”
Powell’s comments will likely affirm market expectations for the Federal Open Market Committee to hold interest rates steady for a second straight meeting when policymakers meet on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. That would be the first consecutive skip in their 19-month campaign to tame inflation.
Yields on 2-year Treasuries declined after Powell spoke, while the dollar fell against a basket of major currencies. The S&P 500 index of stocks rose. Read the full story here.
Tourmaline-backed LNG group files for environmental approval of gas-export project
A group of Canada’s largest natural gas producers including Tourmaline Oil Corp. and Ovintiv Inc. is pushing forward with a gas-export project called Ksi Lisims LNG and has filed for environmental approval for the 12 million-metric-ton-a-year facility on the West Coast.
The facility would be located near British Columbia’s border with Alaska and would prepare super-chilled gas for export by tanker to markets in Asia, according to the application filed with the coastal province’s government. The project is backed by the Indigenous Nisga’a Nation, Houston-based Western LNG and Rockies LNG Partners, which includes nine Canadian gas producers, including Tourmaline, Birchcliff Energy Ltd. and Paramount Resources Ltd.
The Rockies group, which accounts for a third of Canada’s natural gas output, began work on the project after other liquefied natural gas proposals in the region were scrapped, including the Pacific NorthWest LNG project near Prince Rupert, led by Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. Frustrated by delays to accessing overseas markets, some Canadian gas producers have also started shipping their gas from Western Canada all the way to LNG facilities on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“These are large projects, and it takes a lot of shoulders behind it to get it to the finish line,” Rockies LNG president Charlotte Raggett said of the effort for multiple producers to work together. Rockies LNG has offices inside Birchcliff Energy’s headquarters in Calgary. Read the full story here.
Canada Goose plunges to all-time low amid analyst downgrades
Canada Goose Holdings Inc. shares plummeted to a record low for the second day in a row as economic and consumer pressures prompted a pair of analyst downgrades.
The parka retailer’s stock fell as much as 9.8 per cent to US$11.48 in New York trading after analysts from Wells Fargo & Company and TD Cowen recommended investors move to the sidelines as the economic outlook for key markets sours. Warmer than usual fall weather and weak customer trends are also expected to weigh on sales.
TD Cowen analysts led by Oliver Chen pointed to cautious economic news out of China and Europe in a note downgrading the company to market perform from outperform and lowering the price target to US$15 from US$22.
They fear the outlook for China is poised to grow worse before it improves given the nation’s shaky real estate market, higher savings rate as consumers tighten purse strings and elevated youth unemployment rate. The analysts estimate that China makes up a quarter of Canada Goose’s sales, but tourism means Chinese clientele could make up a much larger portion.
Wells Fargo & Co. analyst Ike Boruchow also downgraded the stock Thursday, reducing his team’s recommendation to equalweight from overweight and trimming the price target to $20 from $25.
Boruchow pointed to a weakening economic outlook in the U.S. and China.
He also noted that the warmer-than-usual Black Friday and Christmas holiday forecasts are a poor setup for Canada Goose, which posted the biggest observed sales decline among apparel retailers in August.
The downgrades leave Canada Goose with three analysts who still recommend buying the stock, eight who say hold and two who recommend selling, according to Bloomberg compiled data. Canadian shares were the worst performing on the S&P/TSX Composite Index.
Midday markets: TSX down in late-morning trading, U.S. stock markets also lower
Canada’s main stock index was down in late-morning trading as losses in base metal stocks helped lead the way lower, while U.S. stock markets also pulled back.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 41.25 points at 19,409.45.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 103.29 points at 33,561.79. The S&P 500 index was down 17.43 points at 4,297.17, while the Nasdaq composite was down 50.52 points at 13,263.78.
The Canadian dollar traded for 72.88 cents U.S. compared with 73.07 cents U.S. on Wednesday.
The December crude contract was up seven cents at US$87.34 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down seven cents at US$2.99 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was down US$5.00 at US$1,963.30 an ounce and the December copper contract was down a penny at US$3.58 a pound.
The Canadian Press
Elon Musk’s wealth shrinks by $16 billion after Tesla earnings miss
Elon Musk’s fortune slumped by US$15.9 billion Thursday after Tesla Inc.’s weak third-quarter earnings weighed on shares.
Musk, who is the richest person on the planet with a fortune of US$209.8 billion, owns 13 per cent of Tesla and derives the majority of his wealth from the auto company. Tesla’s shares fell by 8.8 per cent as of 10:47 a.m. New York time after it missed both earnings and sales expectations for the quarter.
In a conference call following the earnings release Wednesday, Musk repeatedly mentioned the toll of high interest rates on consumer confidence. The electric-vehicle juggernaut reported its first quarterly fall in sales this year, delivering 435,059 vehicles, while margins fell to the lowest in over four years after the company repeatedly cut prices for its cars.
Still, Musk’s wealth is up by more than US$70 billion in 2023 alongside a rebound in Tesla shares despite the deteriorating fundamentals. After briefly being overtaken by LVMH’s Bernard Arnault, he’s once again the world’s wealthiest person by a wide margin.
Despite its struggles, Tesla maintains that it will put 1.8 million customers into new vehicles by the year-end. Tesla remains the most valuable vehicle producer in the world and said it will deliver its first long-awaited Cybertrucks in November, about two years behind schedule.
Jordan Fitzgerald, Bloomberg
Metro sues Loblaw, George Weston for ‘falsely’ implicating it in bread-price fixing scandal
Metro Inc. says Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and its parent company George Weston Ltd. misled federal regulators and “falsely implicated” Metro and other grocers in a national bread price-fixing plot.
In court documents, Metro accused Loblaw and Weston of dragging innocent competitors into the scandal so that it didn’t have to face “severe public backlash” alone.
“Instead of having customers walk away from Loblaw as a result of its betrayal of their trust, customers were left with the misleading impression that they had practically no choice but to buy bread from retailers that were involved in the price-fixing conspiracy,” Metro said in a statement of defence and crossclaim as part of an ongoing class action suit in Ontario Superior Court.
In an email, Loblaw spokesperson Catherine Thomas said Metro’s allegations are “simply ridiculous and utterly untrue, as will be made clear in court.”
Metro wants Loblaw and Weston to pay damages in an amount “to be determined at trial.” The Montreal-based grocer also accused Loblaw and Weston of public mischief for making false statements about Metro to the Competition Bureau, a federal law enforcement agency.
In 2017, Loblaw and Weston — which at the time controlled one of the largest commercial bakeries in Canada — announced they were giving the Competition Bureau information on an “industry-wide price-fixing arrangement” in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
In its latest statement on the price-fixing conspiracy, the bureau this summer said it continues to “investigate alleged price fixing” by other companies, including Metro, Sobeys’ parent Empire Co. Ltd., Wal-Mart Canada Corp., Giant Tiger Stores Ltd. and Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Jake Edmiston, Financial Post
Competition is declining in Canada, pushing up prices, study finds
Competition has fallen in Canada with industries becoming more concentrated, leading to higher prices for consumers, says a new report.
The study by the Competition Bureau of Canada that spans the competitive landscape from 2000 to 2020 found that the most concentrated industries — where a few big players hold most of the market share — have become more concentrated. Also more industries have become highly concentrated.
The dominant players are becoming less and less challenged by smaller rivals and fewer new companies are entering industries overall, it said. With less competition, profits and markups have risen.
“The result of this decline in competitive intensity is that both consumers and businesses have seen fewer of the benefits that a more competitive economy has to offer, such as lower prices, greater choice and more innovation,” said the study.
Read more: Competition in Canada has declined, pushing up prices and profits: Competition Bureau
Stock markets are open: Traders await Powell speech
North American stocks fluctuated as traders waded through corporate earnings and awaited United States Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s speech for clues on the central bank’s outlook. Treasuries trimmed losses after the 10-year yield approached five per cent.
The S&P 500 was little changed. Netflix Inc. surged as much as 18 per cent after posting its best quarter for subscriber growth in years. Tesla Inc. slumped six per cent after missing both earnings and sales estimates for the quarter. Ten-year U.S. government bond rates advanced three basis points to 4.94 per cent — after earlier approaching five per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 0.3 per cent in early morning trading.
Powell is set to deliver his remarks at the Economic Club of New York at 12 p.m., leading a busy schedule of Fed speakers Thursday. Regional presidents Austan Goolsbee (Chicago), Raphael Bostic (Atlanta), Patrick Harker (Philadelphia) and Lorie Logan (Dallas) were also due to speak at different events. Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level since January last week as the labour market kept powering ahead.
“The new information has failed to materially shift the broader tone as we continue to monitor five per cent in 10-year yields,” said Ben Jeffery, a U.S. rates strategist at BMO Capital Markets. “We suspect investors will be reluctant to press the trade in either direction until Powell delivers his comments.”
Honda to produce Civic Hybrid car in Ontario
Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. Ltd. says it will start producing the Civic Hybrid next year at its plant in Alliston, Ont.
The company says the Ontario plant will produce the sedan version of the car.
The hatchback version of the Civic Hybrid will be manufactured at a plant in Indiana, according to the automaker.
Honda already produces the hybrid version of its CR-V sport utility vehicle in Alliston and at the plant in Indiana.
The company says the Civic Hybrid is a key step in its electrification strategy, which includes equipping its core models with hybrid-electric systems.
It says it expects Civic Hybrid sales to represent more than 40 per cent of Civic sales in North America.
The Canadian Press
Desjardins cuts 400 jobs in Quebec
Desjardins Group is cutting 400 jobs, citing a need to trim costs amid inflation pressures and a slowdown in the economy.
Employees affected are mainly from the Montreal and Lévis, Que. offices, the company said in a statement on Oct. 19.
“The current economic context (volatility, inflation, slowdown, etc.) adds an additional pressure that leads us to have a healthy and prudent management,” spokesperson Jean-Benoît Turcotti said in an email. “This sound management leads us to keep a close eye on our costs.”
The company currently has 58,000 employees.
Desjardins’ job cuts come a day after Bank of Nova Scotia announced it was reducing its global workforce by three per cent.
Denise Paglinawan, Financial Post
Businesses say Canadians aren’t shopping local and it’s causing financial pain
Small businesses say they’re losing money and customers to big multinational retailers, even though Canadians say they love having smaller shops in their neighbourhoods.
More than 90 per cent of Canadians say they love local small businesses, but only 13 per cent actually shop at those smaller retailers, according to a new report from Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in partnership with the Bank of Nova Scotia. Most people, or 87 per cent, say they mostly shop at big, multinational stores, both in-person and online.
As a result, 78 per cent of entrepreneurs say they are losing business to bigger companies, the survey said.
But CFIB said that reluctance to shop local may ultimately be hurting consumers’ communities — and their wallets.
“When you shop at a small, independent retailer, six times more of that money stays in your local economy than when you shop at a large multinational retailer,” said Taylor Matchett, CFIB’s senior research analyst and co-author of the report.
“Small businesses are also more price competitive than you think. Changing your current habits does not have to come with a higher price tag or less convenience.”
BMO overtakes RBC to become top ranked bank in J.D. Power consumer survey
As higher interest rates and the cost of living increasingly pinch Canadians’ wallets, consumers ranked Bank of Montreal highest in J. D. Power’s annual customer satisfaction survey.
The Montreal-based firm unseated last year’s top-ranking bank, Royal Bank of Canada, which came a close second, with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce third.
Among the mid-size banks, Tangerine Bank took the top spot for the 12th year in a row.
J.D. Power says the study found more customers have been paying fees during the past year for things like overdraft, minimum account balances and ABM fees.
Nearly 80 per cent of customers say the banks could do a better job at communicating how to avoid those fees.
The firm says half of Canadian banking customers are considered financially vulnerable or stressed, up from 44 per cent a year ago.
“Customers are under increasing economic stress and express a declining feeling that banks are addressing their concerns and financial challenges,” Paul McAdam, senior director of banking and payments intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a press release.
In its own release, BMO expressed its pride in taking the top spot.
“Today’s win is a testament to Team BMO’s dedication to helping our customers make real financial progress, as well as our relentless focus on convenience and innovation, across all customer channels,” Erminia Johannson, group head of North American personal and business banking for BMO, said in the release.
Almost 14,000 retail banking customers were surveyed for the study, which is in its 18th year.
The Canadian Press
Stock markets before the opening bell
World shares tumbled Thursday following a retreat on Wall Street after big U.S. companies delivered mixed profit reports and Treasury yields added pressure on stocks.
Worries about war in the Middle East also are dragging on markets.
Germany’s DAX edged 0.1% lower to 15,181.00 and the CAC 40 in Paris gave up 0.4%, to 6,936.76. Britain’s FTSE 100 declined 0.7% to 7,538.99.
Futures for the S&P 500 was up less than 0.1% while that for the Dow industrials was almost unchanged.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index down 242.10 points at 19,450.70.
The Associated Press
What to watch today
United States Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will speak this afternoon in what is expected to offer clues for the central bank’s next steps on interest rates.
The Industrial Product and Raw Material Price Indices for September are out this morning. Existing home sales for September will be released in the United States, along with initial jobless claims for the week of Oct. 14. The Philadelphia Fed Index for October will also be released.
Karen Hogan, the auditor general of Canada, will deliver five performance audit reports to the House of Commons. They are: Report 5: Inclusion in the Workplace for Racialized Employees; Report 6: Antimicrobial Resistance; Report 7: Modernizing Information Technology Systems; Report 8: The Benefits Delivery Modernization Programme; and Report 9: Processing Applications for Permanent Residence. A response from Anita Anand, president of the Treasury Board, Citizens’ Services Minister Terry Beech, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Health Minister Mark Holland and Immigration Minister Marc Miller, will follow.
Small Business Minister Rechie Valdez will deliver remarks and participate in a fireside chat at a Shopify Inc. town hall event in Toronto.
Blackstone Inc., Nokia Corp. and American Airlines Inc. are among companies reporting earnings today.
Need a refresher on yesterday’s top headlines? Get caught up here.
Philip Cross: Higher inflation risks becoming entrenched in Canada
Woman with $3.77 million in investments needs balance
Additional reporting by The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Bloomberg