Mar 10, 2023
The Daily Chase: Canada added nearly 22,000 in February; BMO to acquire Air Miles
First Look With Surveillance: SVB Races, US Jobs
Canada added just shy of 22,000 jobs last month, more than double expectations for 10,000, but a significant deceleration from the prior 150,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.0 per cent, and it was full-time jobs that led the way in the month, up 31,000. Wage growth also accelerated to 5.4 per cent – from 4.5 per cent – which, along with the continued tight labour market, plays into the Bank of Canada’s concerns over a wage-price spiral. Weird quirk to the labour market these days that played out again – employment among core-aged Canadians (no offense intended, it’s how they describe 25-54 year olds) was essentially unchanged, while employment among those aged 55-64 rose by 25,000. There’s been a surge in employment for those nearing retirement age since last August, which may speak to concerns about how they’re feeling about their savings.
REPORT: OTTAWA SET TO APPROVE WESTJET’S SUNWING DEAL
It’s been a long time coming, and the Globe and Mail is reporting (citing sources, as it’s still confidential) that the feds are set to green light WestJet’s acquisition of Sunwing. While terms of that deal were never disclosed – didn’t need to be – WestJet is now owned by Onex, and Sunwing is private, thus precluding them from having to report figures publicly – it would represent an interesting growth opportunity for WestJet. It’s sort of retrenched to Western Canada, and Sunwing gives exposure to the travel market to more sunny destinations, wherein we’re expecting a rebound as life gets a bit back to normal.
BMO BUYING UP AIR MILES
No terms on the deal, but it is intriguing – it’s probably best described as a battered asset, being bought up from a bankrupt Loyalty Ventures. Air Miles was essentially given a death sentence about a year ago, when Sobeys parent Empire Co. dropped the plan in favour of partnering with Scotia and Cineplex for Scene+. Not the only hit Air Miles took – Ontario’s alcohol retailer LCBO dropped it as well, going with Air Canada’s Aeroplan instead, so you’ve just got fewer retailers using the loyalty program, so we’ll see how this all plays out.
SVB FINANCIAL ON THE BRINK
SVB Financial, the parent of Silicon Valley Bank – which caters to the exact set of business clients you would expect – appears to be right at the brink of collapse. Shares have cratered over the last couple of days in what is shaping up to be a run on the bank, and now CNBC is reporting its attempt to raise capital has failed and the company has been looking for a buyer. It’s a crisis of confidence here – the bank had announced it was seeking to raise US$2.25 billion after a significant loss on its investment portfolio, sparking a huge drop in its share price
- Notable data: Employment Report, Capacity Utilization, U.S. Employment Report
- Notable earnings: Oracle, Lion Electric