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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai put global vaccine makers on notice late yesterday afternoon with her announcement that the Biden administration wants to kickstart WTO-level negotiations to waive intellectual property protections for COVID shots. “This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” she said, shaking shares in names like Moderna, BioNTech and its partner, Pfizer. And so we’re left to address one of the thorniest perennial issues for global drug makers.

TELUS RAMPS UP INVESTMENTS

The big telco announced plans this morning for what it calls $54 billion in additional spending on infrastructure and operations over the next four years. After several requests for clarity, the company confirmed to us that the figure includes operating expenses. Timing is interesting, coming just a few days after the government reminded the industry about its pricing expectations and a few weeks after the CRTC also pressed the incumbents on prices and opening up access to their networks. I couldn’t help but notice Telus’s line that its spending will “drive economic growth, which is crucial to Canada’s fiscal recovery.”

IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL LEE-CHIN

The mutual fund tycoon joins Bloomberg Markets today to discuss what he believes is the next big investing opportunity and share his view of the global economy. Catch that conversation live at 2:30 p.m. ET or later at BNNBloomberg.ca

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • Gildan Activewear shares have been up more than 5 per cent in pre-market trading after the Montreal-based t-shirt maker said it’s reinstating its dividend while reporting a 28 per cent surge in first-quarter revenue.
  • Canadian Natural Resources touted its lightened debt load this morning after paying down $1.4 billion in the first quarter as its cash flow surged almost 50 per cent year-over-year amid record quarterly production.
  • Magna International nudged up its full-year profit and sales forecasts after sailing past first-quarter estimates thanks in large part to booming business in China that helped mitigate the impact of the global semiconductor shortage.
  • The big Canadian lifecos reported last night. Among the takeaways: Sun Life’s net income more than doubled in the first quarter as its Canadian operations swung back to profitability despite a $57-million restructuring charge as it “redefines the role of the office”. Manulife Financial’s net income slid 40 per cent in the quarter due to accounting tied to higher interest rates -- which CEO Roy Gori told our Bloomberg partners amounts to short-term “noise” since the steepening yield curve will benefit his company over time. Manulife’s core profit beat the average estimate amid growth in Asia.
  • Cineplex’s revenue somehow only fell 85.4 per cent year-over-year in the latest quarter. Incredible to consider the top-line erosion wasn’t even more severe considering COVID restrictions. We’ll dig into the performance and the company’s pandemic survival strategy with CEO Ellis Jacob at 3:15 p.m.
  • Food delivery was the saving grace for Uber Technologies in its latest quarter, with gross bookings in that unit surging 166 per cent year-over-year compared to a 38 per cent drop in the flagship mobility bookings. The company is still unprofitable, but the adjusted EBITDA loss of US$359 million in the first quarter was much shallower than analysts expected.

 

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: U.S. initial jobless claims
  • Notable earnings: Canadian Natural Resources, Inter Pipeline, Pembina Pipeline, Magna International, West Fraser Timber, Open Text, Cineplex, Cascades, Chartwell Retirement Residences, NFI Group, Bombardier, Peloton Interactive, Moderna, Expedia, Beyond Meat, Square
  • 7 a.m.: Bank of England releases interest rate decision
  • 9 a.m.: Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry hearing on Enbridge Line 5 pipeline impact on agricultural sector
  • 10 a.m.: CMHC releases Housing Market Outlook
  • 12 p.m.: U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing on GameStop (speakers include SEC Chairman Gary Gensler)