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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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Canada has recovered from the pandemic's devastating impact on the jobs market. a little more than 157,000 positions were created last month. That more that doubled the expectation. and it means employment here has rebounded to levels last seen in february 2020. It is a stunning turnaround after almost three million jobs were wiped out in a two-month span at the onset of the pandemic.  And today's jobs data out of the U.S. are stunning for a whole other reason, as hiring fell way short of expectations at 194,000 compared to the estimate of half a million. The canadian dollar shot north of US$0.80 in the immediate aftermath of today employment figures. 

IRELAND BUYS INTO GLOBAL TAX PACT

When 130 or so countries and other jurisdictions announced in July that they reached a preliminary agreement to establish a minimum corporate tax rate, Ireland was conspicuous by its absence from the list of participants. The country is a holdout no more, after its finance minister announced his economy – once affectionately known as the Celtic Tiger in the boom era that was fueled in part by its attractive tax regime – is signing up. The OECD has arranged a meeting for all participating nations today to discuss implementation; we’ll watch for developments.

ALBERTA AID FOR BUSINESSES

The province unveiled new supports for businesses that have elected to implement vaccine passport requirements. Small- and medium-sized businesses that are screening patrons will be eligible for a $2,000 grant; the government is also allocating $1 million for training to help front-line workers “assess and manage challenging situations” and said it’s pursuing legislation to shield employers from legal challenges to the passport requirements.

DEBT CEILING RELIEF

As expected, legislation to punt the debt ceiling standoff cleared the U.S. Senate last night in a 50-48 vote. The measure still has to be voted on in the House of Representatives. The measure effectively kicks the can down the road to December, when the world’s largest economy will again be put at risk of not being able to pay its bills.  

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • Interesting deal announced after yesterday’s closing bell as Calgary-based pot producer and retailer Sundial Growers announced it’s buying Alberta-based liquor retailer Alcanna in a stock deal worth $346 million. The agreement comes several weeks after Alcanna disclosed that it was in early-stage deal talks. And it should be noted that Alcanna owns a majority stake in pot retailer Nova Cannabis. Dave will dig into the deal’s rationale.
  • We’ll watch Dye & Durham today after the software company said its board wrapped a strategic review that was triggered by a management-led buyout approach. The end result: it’s going to stay the course with its growth-by-acquisition strategy under CEO Mathew Proud – who has just been handed 6.85 million stock options.
  • Canada’s food court king is hunting for deals. MTY Food Group CEO Eric Lefebvre said in a release this morning his team is “searching for accretive acquisition targets” after managing its way through the worst of the pandemic (though admittedly still facing the challenge of labour shortages). Third-quarter sales rose 13 per cent year-over-year and just 139 stores are still closed as of today, compared to 359 at the start of the quarter.
  • Alain Bouchard is paring his stake in the convenience story empire that he founded. Alimentation Couche-Tard announced today it’s buying back 6.35 million shares from an entity that Bouchard controls for $47.23 apiece (for total of approx. $300 million).  The arrangement takes Bouchard’s voting stake down to 35.1 per cent from 35.3 per cent. 

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: Canadian labour force survey, U.S. non-farm payrolls
  • 10:00: Ontario Superior Court resumes hearing Cineworld-Cineplex case