Here are five things you need to know this morning:

Meme stock no more: It’s shaping up to be yet another rough day for investors in meme stock GameStop as the video game retailer put out financial results after the bell on Tuesday that failed to meet analyst expectations. Revenue plunged almost 20 per cent, sending the shares down in premarket trading today. As I write this, shares are changing hands at about US$15 a piece; that’s down by more than 80 per cent from the split-adjusted high the stock hit back in early 2021, when retail investors on Reddit pushed the company into the stratosphere because they thought they had caught Wall Street in a short squeeze. Anyone who bought in at the highs is still waiting to cash in, and these quarterly results won’t do much to help on that front. The meme stock mania has mostly moved on to new names like Reddit and Donald Trump’s Truth Social – shares of both have doubled since going public in recent days.

Big banks reining in ultra-long mortgages: The head of Canada’s banking watchdog says he’s pleased to see Canada’s big lenders are starting to reduce the number and amount of long-term housing debt that’s out there. Speaking to a banking conference in Montreal, OSFI head Peter Routledge said during the pandemic the big banks allowed their mortgage underwriting to balloon to the point where it presented a “pocket of risk” that concerned him, but the good news is that recent data shows the trend is now moving in the opposite direction. At the height of the housing boom in 2021 prior to rate hikes, banks were handing out 40 per cent more mortgages than they typically do, and almost half of them were variable rates. The banks currently have $220 billion worth of home loans on their books that’s amortized for longer than 35 years. That’s high by historical standards, but down by more than a quarter from $300 billion at the peak. “That’s a really good sign and I’m encouraged by that,” Routledge said.

Office space: The signs of stress in commercial real estate are everywhere, as the pandemic has fundamentally altered the economics of office towers and there’s another example of that in action today. A Los Angeles office tower that TSX-listed Brookfield Asset Management defaulted on last year is being sold for 50 per cent less than the amount that was borrowed against it. Bloomberg reports that Consus Asset Management, a South Korea-based investment firm, has agreed to purchase the tower at 777 S Figueroa St. for about US$145 million. That’s about half the $289 million that Brookfield owed on the building when it defaulted on the loan last year. The company defaulted on other buildings in the city at the same time, and there are more and more examples of the drastic repricing underway in office buildings. Last month, the Canada Pension Plan made headlines for agreeing to sell an office tower in Manhattan for as little as $1.

Canada’s population boom continues: New numbers out of Statistics Canada today show the country’s population grew by 1.3 million over the past year to 40.8 million. That’s a fresh high and as has been the case for a while now, most of the gains are coming from immigration, not new people being born. About 2.4 per cent of the increase came from net births, which is a decently high ratio by the standards of the developed world, but most of the increase was driven by new Canadians. Added all up, Canada added roughly the equivalent of the population of Calgary last year, but there’s ample reason to think that we may have either already hit the peak or are soon to. New rules to cap the number of temporary residents and international students have recently been implemented – moves which are likely to at least slow the pace of Canada’s record-setting population growth. We’ll see what impact that has on the country’s housing and job markets, too.

Alberta pension fund eyeing opportunities abroad: Amid the ongoing debate over whether or not Canadian pension plans should be focusing more on Canada, Alberta’s pension plan says it is moving ahead with plans to increase its assets based in Asia. Bloomberg reports that Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCO) is planning to grow its portfolio of Asian-based investments to about 10-15 per cent of all of its holdings. That’s up from single digits now. The move comes against the backdrop of a push in recent weeks for major pension funds like AIMCO to deploy more capital domestically. An open letter signed by several dozen high profile CEOs urged big pension plans to put more money to work in Canada. One of the backers of that plan, Daniel Brosseau of Montreal-based money manager Letko Brosseau, appeared on BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday to stress the benefits for Canada’s economy and the pension plans themselves of boosting their Canadian focus.