The Big Three: SNC CEO comes out swinging; U.S. Fed signals lower for longer; Fitch warns on Canada
SNC-Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce sent shockwaves across Canada’s political landscape yesterday by flatly denying key talking points in the scandal surrounding alleged political interference in his company’s corruption case.
-On the idea 9,000 jobs could disappear in Canada without a deferred prosecution agreement: “That’s incorrect and we’ve never said that.”
-On whether SNC threated to move its HQ out of Montreal: “No … no, I don’t know what people make up or what they have in their minds. We are a proud Canadian global champion.”
A pair of NDP MPs called out the PM in the wake of Bruce’s comments, while Trudeau reiterated his view there are “risks” related to jobs.
We’ll continue gathering reaction to Neil Bruce’s comments. If you missed any of it, check it out here
FITCH WARNS ON CANADA
The ratings agency is warning the federal government’s approach to deficit-spending is making Canada more vulnerable to an economic shock. And it’s suggesting the numbers are tough to square up with the country’s top-notch rating. “Canada's gross general government debt, combining federal and provincial fiscal accounts, is higher than other 'AAA' rated sovereigns, excepting the U.S, and remains close to a level that is incompatible with 'AAA' status,” Fitch said in a report yesterday afternoon.
FED FOLLOW UP
U.S. stocks initially rallied on the back of the Fed’s economic assessment and revised forecasts, which suggest the U.S. central bank is ready to stay on hold this year. But markets trailed off over the course of Jerome Powell’s news conference as the Fed chair rattled off risks, discussed weak inflation, and kept the door open to a rate cut as the bank’s next move.
STEVE EISMAN TARGETS CANADIAN BANKS
Renowned investor Steve Eisman (made famous by the book, The Big Short) is taking aim at Canadian banks. He told The Financial Times he’s shorting some of this country’s lenders, without naming names, while calling for a “simple normalization of credit.” “This is not ‘The Big Short: Canada’,” he said. “I’m not calling for a housing collapse.”
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
-Biogen is a stock to watch today. It’s down more than 20 per cent in pre-market trading after deciding with a partner to halt the study of a treatment for Alzheimer’s.
-Canaccord Genuity is buying Thomas Miller Wealth Management for as much as 28-million British pounds.
-Encana announced this morning it will promote Corey Code to the role of CFO. Current Chief Financial Officer Sherri Brillon will retire in May.
-There are a couple of noteworthy 737 Max developments. The U.S. Senate Commerce committee has scheduled a hearing for next week on airline safety, and says it plans to call Boeing to testify at a follow-up session. Meanwhile, The Seattle Times is reporting the FBI is now involved in the criminal probe of the jet’s certification.
-Canadian property & casualty insurer Economical Insurance took another step toward an IPO yesterday as its mutual policyholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of demutualization. CEO Rowan Saunders joins The Street to discuss what comes next.
-The government of Saskatchewan is eliminating deductions on the province’s potash production tax. Andrew Bell will look into this for Commodities .
-Notable earnings: Nike
-Notable data: Canadian wholesale trade, StatsCan EI report
-8:00 a.m. ET: Bank of England releases interest rate decision
-10:50 a.m. ET: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes infrastructure announcement in Mississauga, Ont. (plus avail)
-11:00 a.m. ET: Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland discusses new NAFTA and Brexit in Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing
-2:00 p.m. ET: Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford holds media avail in Toronto on "government's plan to clean up the hydro mess"
-3:00 p.m. ET: Finance Minister Bill Morneau discusses budget in Saint John (plus avail)
-EU leaders meet in Brussels to discuss Brexit
-Quebec government delivers provincial budget
-Restaurant Brands International and Great White North Franchisee Association due in Ontario Superior Court for update on settlement process
-B.C. reference case re. oil transportation continues before provincial Court of Appeal
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.