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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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Canada's economy returned to growth in May. GDP rose 4.5 per cent amid widespread expansion across almost every sector tracked by Statistics Canada. And the momentum carried into June. StatsCan is estimating five-per-cent growth for last month. That’s a long way from a V-shaped recovery after the epic collapse in the first two months of the pandemic, but it could be a sign that the worst of the economic devastation is behind us — at least in the initial wave of COVID-19. We’ll have reaction throughout the day and we’ll stick with the theme of restarting the economy as Toronto enters Stage 3 today when we hear from key stakeholders in the restaurant and fitness industries.

THREE TECH GIANTS WOW WALL STREET (NOT SO MUCH ALPHABET)

“Oh wow.” I lost track of how many times that was uttered by portfolio manager Dan Morgan as Catherine Murray walked him through Apple’s results (and stock split) yesterday afternoon in a remarkable after-hours session that saw three of the world’s biggest tech companies wow investors, while another showed a bit more of the sting from COVID-19. Some highlights:

-Facebook set the tone with a near doubling of second-quarter profit as revenue and key user metrics jumped by double digits, which was even more impressive since the quarter ended with some high-profile advertisers hitting pause on the platform.

-Amazon.com’s windfall demonstrated what we already knew: it’s benefitting big time from shifting consumer habits in the pandemic. Profit doubled, and was so far above the average estimate (US$10.30/share versus US$1.51) that it makes you wonder what analysts weren't accounting for.

-Over at Apple, CEO Tim Cook trumpeted “relentless innovation” as being the driving force behind fiscal third-quarter results that crushed expectations thanks in large part to a big quarter for the iPhone and double-digit growth in services. And now Apple shares are about to become more appealing to retail investors after the company's board signed off on a four-for-one stock split.

-Then there’s Alphabet. Its shares are edging lower in pre-market trading as advertising weakness at its core Google business resulted in a drop in overall revenue.

SNC-LAVALIN SLASHING JOBS IN RESTRUCTURING

The transformation of SNC continues, with the Montreal-based engineering firm announcing an overhaul of its Resources business that will see the unit shrink its footprint to nine countries (from 30), which will result in headcount sinking from 15,000 to 6,000 by the end of next year. SNC says the revamp will allow the Resources business to become profitable next year.

AIR CANADA CEO RATTLES GOVERNMENT’S CAGE AS REVENUE SINKS

Chief Executive Officer Calin Rovinescu is ramping up his warnings to the federal government while pointing to Air Canada’s near-evaporation of revenue in the second quarter. “Today's reported declines in revenue of nearly 90 per cent and in passengers of over 96 per cent, should reinforce the tremendous urgency for governments in Canada to take reasonable steps to safely reopen our country and restore economic activity.” Will that message be heard? We’ll chase insight.

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

-This morning we were wondering, whither CECRA? This is the much-debated program that puts the power in the hands of landlords to decide whether or not tenants will get rent relief that was set to expire today. And go figure, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced late this morning that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program is being extended for August.

-DavidsTea announced another round of 82 stores closures late yesterday, as well as new lease agreements for just 18 stores that will be preserved in Canada as the company cements its focus on wholesale and e-commerce while restructuring under CCAA.

-Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial investment strategy looked better in the second quarter, with a net gain of US$644 million after facing a US$1.5 billion net loss on its investments in the prior quarter. Most of the strength in Fairfax’s portfolio in Q2 came courtesy of the company’s bond holdings.

-The impact of COVID-19 is evident in Telus’s subscriber numbers for the second quarter with 61,000 net wireless additions, down 21,000 from a year earlier. Overall, the telco managed to beat revenue estimates while adjusted EBITDA was essentially in line. CEO Darren Entwistle said he’s “hopeful” that Telus will be able to meet or exceed its dividend-growth target when it next reports in November.

-It could be a fateful day for Canadian Modern Media Holdings. The jilted rival bidder for Torstar will be the subject of a hearing when an appeals judge will decide whether to grant CMMH’s request for the newspaper publisher’s deal with Nordstar to be put on hold pending a formal appeal hearing.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

-Notable data: Canadian GDP (May), Canadian industrial product and raw materials price indices, Canadian building permits, U.S. personal income and spending

-Notable earnings: Air Canada, Telus, Imperial Oil, SNC-Lavalin, TransAlta, GMP Capital, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Caterpillar, Under Armour, Merck, Colgate-Palmolive

-8:30 a.m. ET: Fairfax Financial holds quarterly conference call

-9:00 a.m. ET: Federal and Ontario government officials hold embargoed technical briefing for media on COVID-19 exposure notification app

-10:00 a.m. ET: Ontario appeals judge hold hearing on whether to grant CMMH’s request to stay Torstar-Nordstar approval pending appeal

-11:00 a.m. ET: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Public Health Agency of Canada employees in Ottawa (plus avail)

-City of Toronto enters Stage 3 of reopening economy

The Daily Chase won’t be published on Monday in observance of the civic holiday. Tune into BNN Bloomberg for Bloomberg Television’s live coverage of global markets that day. The Daily Chase and regular BNN Bloomberg programming resumes Tuesday.

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