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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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The province of Ontario is going to grant just 25 licenses for private pot stores that will be allowed to open on April 1. The new approach to brick-and-mortar cannabis retail in the country's most populous province is being put in place amid concern about supply shortages that have hamstrung cannabis retailers in other provinces. And it's going to come down to luck of the draw for the 25 licensees, as the process is going to play out via lottery system next month. We'll chase reaction from across the cannabis and commercial real estate industries.

See full government statement here

QUEBEC PREMIER WARNS SNC AT RISK

François Legault told a Montreal radio station yesterday he has “indications” that foreign buyers could be eyeing SNC-Lavalin, and warned the construction giant is “in a vulnerable position” because it’s still blocked from bidding on some contracts after being denied a negotiated settlement with federal prosecutors. We’ll chase reaction.

BOMBARDIER CEO BLASTS VIA

Alain Bellemare isn’t mincing words about Via Rail’s decision to hand a $989-million contract to Siemens. “Bombardier Transportation is a company that’s doing extremely well. We are winning everywhere in the world – except in Canada,” Bellemare told reporters yesterday afternoon, roughly 24 hours after his company was snubbed by Via. “It’s difficult to understand that here we can’t find ways of protecting innovation, technology and jobs that are similar to all the other countries in the world.” That sounds like a veiled warning jobs could be lost as a result of Via’s decision.

U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY WALKS BACK TRUMP THREAT

Wilbur Ross attempted to soften the blow of U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments to Reuters this week about potentially intervening in the Americans’ case against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. “All he did was indicate a broad possible range of alternatives,” Ross said. “He didn’t say he was going to intervene. He didn’t commit to intervene.” In the broader trade tension picture, should be pointed out China’s finance ministry announced today it will scrap a retaliatory 25-per cent tariff on U.S. auto imports for three months as of Jan. 1.  

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

-Shares of Alcanna sank more than 20 per cent in early trading this morning. The booze and pot retailer (which counts Aurora Cannabis as its top shareholder) announced late yesterday it will scrap its dividend to focus on its “capital-intensive growth strategy over the next 2-3 years.” Probably safe to presume the Ontario government’s new retail rollout plan isn’t helping sentiment.

-Shares of Wheaton Precious Metals surged at the start of trading after the company announced late yesterday it agreed to a settlement with the Canada Revenue Agency stemming from a reassessment.

-Shopify shares are under pressure after the company announced it’s raising US$400.4 million in an offering of 2.6 million Class A shares at US$154 each.

-Suncor Energy has set its 2019 capital budget at $4.9-$5.6 billion, with the middle of that range representing a flat budget compared to this year. Production is seen in a range of 780,000-820,000 boe/day. Suncor said in its release there's still "considerable uncertainty" about the impact of Alberta's mandatory production cuts.

-Shares of DavidsTea are tanking in pre-market trading. Down almost 18 per cent last time I looked. That’s after the company reported its net loss swelled to $9.1M in the third quarter and as investors seemingly dismiss Executive Chairman Herschel Segal’s pledge to restore profitability.

-Moody’s cut Ontario’s credit rating one notch to Aa3 yesterday afternoon, still firmly in investment grade territory. The credit rating agency said it expects Ontario will see key financial metrics deteriorate over the next half decade.

-CI Financial announced this morning it’s buying a majority stake in digital wealth management firm WealthBar. Terms weren’t disclosed. We’ll chase CI.

-The group of high-profile Montreal business leaders who hope to bring Major League Baseball back to the city has released a feasibility study that suggests MLB could be viable if it returns to Montreal. 

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

-Notable data: Canadian national balance sheet and financial flow accounts, U.S. retail sales, U.S. industrial production, China retail sales, China industrial production

-9:30 a.m. ET: European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk hold news conference in Brussels

-1:10 P.M. ET: Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland holds media avail in Washington, D.C. alongside National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Defence Minister James Mattis

Every morning BNN Bloomberg's Managing Editor Noah Zivitz writes a ‘chase note’ to BNN Bloomberg's editorial staff listing the stories and events that will be in the spotlight that day. Have it delivered to your inbox before the trading day begins by heading to www.bnnbloomberg.ca/subscribe