Here are five things you need to know this morning:
Coming in hot: The U.S. added more jobs than expected in the month of November (199,000 versus the 185,000 expected) and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 3.7 per cent, the lowest rate since this summer. Wage growth held firm at four per cent. Markets don’t care for this set of good news. Recall, they’ve been partying on the expectation that rate cuts will be coming. A strong labour market is showing up as a bit of a party pooper (though I imagine the employed are quite grateful). The bond market is selling off and futures dipped. Oil is loving it, however – all these people have somewhere to drive every morning! Equities may come around to the idea that strong labour growth is good for stocks so we will watch for how this knee-jerk reaction unfolds. I’m not convinced the sell-off will hold.
Shavasana: Shares of Lululemon are modestly lower in the pre-market even as the stretchy clothing maker topped sales and profit expectations. Total comparable sales grew 14 per cent – an enviable number for most retailers. The cool reception from investors is in response to the company’s forecast for sales and profit in the fourth quarter that came in below expectations. While Lulu boosted its outlook for sales in 2024, it cut its profit forecast. Wells Fargo, which downgraded the name ahead of earnings, says this quarter didn’t solve the great debate on the company: can outperformance continue into 2024? Jefferies says no. “The greatness of Lululemon will see the laws of gravity ensue in 2024,” the analyst wrote in a note to clients.
Small but mighty: We will watch shares of Canadian Western Bank after it delivered better-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter. It also boosted its dividend. The bank fared well relative to expectations on key metrics like net interest margin, total revenue and provisions on credit losses. KBW’s Mike Rizvanovic expects “modest upside” for shares this morning given its “sizeable valuation discount.” By the way, this happens to be one of the best-performing banks this year, with a gain of 25 per cent and shares near the highest level in a 1.5 years. CEO Chris Fowler will be on BNN Bloomberg today at 1 p.m. ET.
Also mighty: EQB will also be in the spotlight after reporting better-than-expected profit and boosting its dividend. Shares of the alternative mortgage lender have soared more than 40 per cent so far this year. We will see if the beat is tempered by higher expenses and provisions for credit losses. CEO Andrew Moor will be on BNN Bloomberg today at 3:20 p.m. ET.
Needs a little restoration: Shares of RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) are plunging after swinging to a surprising loss in the quarter. The maker of distressed but expensive furniture says they will have to resort to more promotions to clear product and that is going to hurt margins. Investors don’t like that. It is also delaying its vaunted catalogue, citing in part a frozen housing market. You see, when home sales stall, so too do furniture sales. It’s a coup for short-sellers. Nearly 18 per cent of shares outstanding are short.