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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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Canadian taxpayers are getting a stake in Air Canada after the airline finally came to terms with the federal government on an aid package that will give it access to almost $5.9 billion under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility. So many questions to consider. Among them:

  • How will investors respond to the strings attached on dividends and share buybacks?
  • How will this impact executive recruitment with a $1-million cap on total compensation (as points of reference, in 2019, then-CEO Calin Rovinescu earned almost $12.9 million in total comp; then-Deputy CEO Michael Rousseau received almost $4.4 million).
  • What will this do for customer goodwill as Air Canada dishes out refunds?
  • What’s the federal government’s exit strategy as it faces the prospect of owning up to 14.1 per cent of the airline’s Class B shares?
  • And where does this leave rivals like WestJet, Transat and Porter?

We’ll explore all of that and more; plus, Jon Erlichman has some industry intel that will help frame The Open’s coverage.

J&J COVID VACCINE HITS HURDLE

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are calling for a pause in use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine as a result of six reported incidents of “rare and severe” cases of blood clotting. The regulators say their recommendation is “out of an abundance of caution.” Indeed, to wit: according to the CDC, 6.82 million doses of the single-dose J&J product have been administered to Americans. We’ll chase reaction and perspective from Health Canada. J&J shares have been down more than 3 per cent in pre-market trading.

MARKET WATCH

Futures had been pointing to yet another day of muted moves at the start of trading in New York before contracts weakened after the J&J news hit at 7 a.m. Potential catalysts are on the horizon, with U.S. consumer inflation on the way this morning and earnings season launching tomorrow with results coming from three of the big U.S. financials. There’s a bit more excitement in cryptoland, with Bitcoin touching a new record above US$63,000 this morning.

HOUSING’S YEAR 'LIKE NO OTHER'

That’s how Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper summed up 2020’s historic price gains in his shop’s latest report on home prices across the country. Royal LePage is expecting only a slight moderation of what’s being called an “extreme seller’s market” this year, with aggregate prices forecast to rise 13.5 per cent (from 14.1 per cent in 2020). Soper also claims that foreign investment has been “near non-existent” with borders closed and that speculative activity is “very low.” We’ll attempt to challenge that. And, if you missed it, check out Greg Bonnell’s intriguing chat with Housing Parliamentary Secretary Adam Vaughan, who kicked up quite a stir on Twitter over the last couple of days with his views on the landscape

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • GFL Environmental shares will be on our radar after it announced that some of its big institutional backers have arranged a bought deal secondary offering of 17.5 million shares priced at US$33.95 apiece (compared to yesterday close of US$35.10).
  • We won’t lose sight of the long regulatory-approval process for Canadian Pacific Railway’s proposed takeover of Kansas City Southern. After yesterday’s closing bells we learned that the U.S. Department of Justice asserted its willingness to intervene in the matter while pointing out that it “does not yet have a view on the merits” of the deal.  
  • Organigram shares are down more than 10 per cent in U.S. pre-market trading after the pot producer fell considerably short of revenue of EBITDA expectations in the second quarter. We’ve got CEO Greg Engel at 10:30 a.m.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: U.S. CPI
  • Notable earnings: Organigram, Cogeco, Score Media and Gaming
  • 8:30 a.m. ET: Magna International virtual investor day
  • 10:15 a.m.: Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson holds virtual news conference on strengthening Canadian Environmental Protection Act
  • 11:30 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses COVID-19 situation alongside Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo
  • 12:10 p.m.: Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson discusses climate cooperation with U.S. in fireside chat with Center for American Progress John Podesta
  • BNEF summit (speakers include U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan)