First Look With Surveillance: U.S. Jobs, Oil Release
U.S. equity markets are turning the page on a dismal first quarter. The Nasdaq Composite fell nine per cent in the first three months of 2022, while the Dow and S&P 500 shed almost five per cent as investors positioned for a more hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve. And that central bank was handed a mixed picture on America’s labour market today. Non-farm payrolls rose less than expected in March, but February’s gain of 654,000 was revised to 739,000. And the unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a point to 3.6 per cent. As for the S&P/TSX Composite Index, it rose three per cent in the first quarter and set a new intraday record yesterday before sliding into the red.
ABOUT THAT 99.7% VANCOUVER FIGURE
RBC Economics’ estimate that 99.7 per cent of median pre-tax household income would have been chewed up by costs tied to owning a single-family detached home in Vancouver in the fourth quarter attracted a fair bit of interest this week. But a realtor in that market told us that homebuyers are finding workarounds to avoid being stretched to the max. “People are coming up with very large down payments,” Steve Saretsky told us late yesterday afternoon. If you missed that interview, check it out here.
FUELLING UP GETS MORE EXPENSIVE
This is the day when the federal backstop on carbon pricing rises to $50 per tonne from $40. And with that, motorists will face a steeper fuel surcharge (~11 cents from ~nine cents) in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The latter province is suspending its fuel tax to offset the hike. We’ll frame today’s price adjustments against the broader inflationary environment. And we’ll point out the federal government recently updated its “climate action incentive payment” rates for the four aforementioned provinces. Details on that can be found here.
OSC FORMALLY MAPS OUT BRIDGING FINANCE CLAIMS
Staff from the provincial securities regulator have released their statement of allegations of fraudulent behaviour at Bridging Finance. Much of what’s included in the document was already known from court filings relating to the embattled lender’s receivership. But there are new details and colour, including a claim that ex-CEO David Sharpe attempted to intimidate some of the firm’s employees during the OSC’s investigation by sending “profanity-laden communications (that) contained disparaging insults and threats of physical violence.” None of the allegations have been tested or proven. The statement of allegations also includes details on the penalties being sought by OSC staff. Read all about it here.
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
- BlackBerry posted a surprise adjusted profit in its fiscal fourth quarter, but that hasn’t been enough to lift the stock in pre-market trading. Revenue was flat in the latest quarter and CEO John Chen cautioned on a call with analysts that revenue for the company’s cybersecurity business is going to be flat this year.
- GameStop shares are jumping after the video-game retailer announced plans for a stock split and said it will seek shareholder approval to more than triple its number of Class A shares to 1 billion from 300 million.
- Metro has been spared from a strike. In this space yesterday, we noted that Unifor had warned that time was running out to dodge a walkout by more than 900 workers at a warehouse distribution centre outside Toronto. Shortly after midnight, the union said a tentative deal had been reached.
- Notable data: U.S. non-farm payrolls and ISM manufacturing index
- 1045: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on jobs report at the White House
- 1100: Government of Canada officials provide update on COVID-19, including new modelling
- 1200: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Finance Minister Travis Toews and Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney discuss fuel tax consumer relief program at a gas station in Calgary
Sign up for the Daily Chase newsletter at bnnbloomberg.ca/subscribe