Canada's employers trounced hiring expectations last month. Almost 154,000 jobs were created in november. That's four-times what economists expected. And the unemployment rate sank to 6% -- putting it near pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, hours worked hit the highest level since before COVID-19 overwhelmed the economy last year. And in the U.S., it's a different story as non-farm payrolls rose by 210,000 positions, less than half the median estimate of 550,000.
BMO HIKES DIVIDEND, PLANS BUYBACK
The Big Six have gone six-for-six in dishing out dividend hikes and share buybacks as BMO today announced a 25% boost to its quarterly payment to shareholders and said it’s planning to repurchase up to 22.5 million shares. It also reported profit that beat expectations, with year-over-year growth in all of its divisions (with some notable loan growth in Canada). Paul is going through all the details that matter and will tie a bow on Big Six earnings coverage throughout the day.
Should point out the banks (ex-CIBC) finally got some love from investors yesterday and were big contributors to the S&P/TSX Composite Index’s largest single-day gain since Apr. 1.
TORONTO HOUSING BREAKING RECORDS, AGAIN
The average price for homes sold in Canada's largest housing market climbed to $1,163,323 last month, marking another all-time high for the Greater Toronto Area. Sales inched up year-over-year (though were down from October) as inventory collapsed: active listings at the end of the month were 55.9 per cent below year-ago levels. And it looks like buyers are flocking to condos, as sales in that category jumped 41.6 per cent year-over-year. All of this has the local real estate board calling on governments to take "coordinated action" on supply, and give up on "short term Band-Aid policies.” We’ll speak with the real estate board’s chief market analyst shortly after 8 a.m.
ROGERS FILLS OUT MANAGEMENT
We knew from his sworn affidavit that Edward Rogers had his eye on ex-Videotron CEO Robert Dépatie for a role on the Rogers Communications Inc. management team when he was trying to push out (now ex-)Chief Executive Joe Natale. Late yesterday afternoon, we found out the wish is coming true as Dépatie (who is already an RCI director) was appointed president and chief operating officer of the company's new home and business division, which includes high-speed home internet service.
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
- Scotia’s equity team has done some math on what the road to net zero means for the biggest names in Canada’s oil patch. In sum: “Impact on free cash flow material, but not a death blow,” according to Analyst Jason Bouvier.
- After stabilizing in pre-market trading, Canada Goose shares slipped into the red again shortly after the opening bell this morning. The stock has shed almost 26 per cent of its value since the recent high on Nov. 16. Most recently, the parka maker has come under attack in China over its product return policies.
- We’re seeing major market reaction to an announcement that came under an innocuous headline. In a press release last night titled “DiDi Announces Recent Developments”, the Beijing-based ride-hailing company said it’s filing to delist from the New York Stock Exchange. It’s an incredible comedown, less than six months after DiDi defied calls to hold off on listing in the U.S. and amid recent crackdown efforts on technology companies by Chinese authorities. Its New York-listed shares have been up almost 10 per cent in pre-market trading.
- We remain on watch for the restart of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has been out of service for more than a week as a result of the devastation in British Columbia. In its latest update yesterday afternoon, Trans Mountain said it believes it’s “only a few days away” from resuming the flow of oil at reduced capacity.
- AltaGas announced this morning it’s raising its annual dividend six per cent to $1.06 per share and converting its payout schedule to a quarterly basis instead of monthly.
- Notable data: Canadian labour force survey, U.S. non-farm payrolls
- Notable earnings: Bank of Montreal
- 10:15: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on non-farm payrolls
- 13:00: Federal ministers hold news conference to provide update on COVID-19