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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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The S&P/TSX Composite inched closer to correction territory, and enters today’s trading session 9.95 per cent below the record closing level it set barely one month ago. Heavyweights Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Pacific Railway, and Enbridge (plus Bausch Health) stripped the most points off the index Tuesday. The bigger picture is about near-indiscriminate selling: since the peak on March 29, only 33 index members have posted gains. We know all the worries facing investors. And today we’ll get potentially the most important economic update of all with the U.S. consumer price index, which is estimated to have decelerated to 8.1 per cent annualized growth last month from 8.5 per cent in March. U.S. futures were pointing to gains ahead of the data. That changed right at 8:30 a.m., when they flipped into the red (and then bounced around) after we learned American inflation was hotter than expected at 8.3 per cent. Should point out here that Statistics Canada’s April consumer price index will be released a week from today.

10,313-PAGE ARGUMENT AGAINST SHAW-ROGERS DEAL

That's the grand tally of the six documents filed with the Competition Tribunal as the country's antitrust watchdog makes its case to block Rogers Communications Inc.'s $20-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. Many of those pages are heavily redacted, and a substantial number are exhibits pulled from company documents. But if we ignore the volume and focus on the thrust of the Competition Bureau's argument, it's clear that the source of so much speculation isn't enough to appease the watchdog. "Rogers and Shaw have [redacted] with parties interested in acquiring Shaw’s Freedom Mobile wireless business and have claimed that such divestiture would eliminate any substantial lessening or prevention of competition resulting from the proposed transaction. However, the divestiture proposed is not an effective remedy for the competitive harm the Proposed Transaction has caused and will likely continue to cause," wrote Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell in one of the documents, which goes on to elaborate on the reasons for the Bureau's skepticism about proposed owners of what's dubbed "New Freedom." We’ll chase fresh insight on what it’ll take for Rogers to overcome this daunting regulatory hurdle. And I see Adam Shine, who covers the telcos at National Bank of Canada Financial Markets, appears rather dubious of the Competition Bureau’s arguments, and openly questions much of the rationale in a report to clients this morning.

SIGN OF THE TIMES FOR CRYPTO

Shares in Coinbase Global, which operates the largest crypto exchange in the United States, are tumbling in pre-market trading after an erosion-plagued batch of first-quarter results. Trading volume sank sequentially and year-over-year, and a key gauge of user engagement fell sharply. “We believe these market conditions are not permanent … we firmly believe the future for crypto is bright,” Coinbase said in its letter to shareholders late yesterday.

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • Intact Financial continued to benefit from its purchase of RSA Insurance Group’s Canadian assets in the latest quarter. Premiums written in this country jumped 37 per cent year-over-year, and overall operating profit per share beat the average estimate by a wide margin.
  • Equitable Group is nudging up its quarterly dividend four per cent (ie, one cent) to $0.29 per share while posting first-quarter profit that jumped 27 per cent and trounced expectations on an adjusted basis. Its mortgage book expanded and deposits in its EQ Bank unit surged 25 per cent year-over-year. I see the CEO also cheered the government’s appointment of an Open Banking head, suggesting EQ is eager to poach customers. CEO Andrew Moor joins us at 1:10 p.m.
  • Walmart announced a bunch of changes to its management team in Canada this morning, including a new chief operations officer and chief e-commerce officer.
  • Kinross Gold touted record production at its Tasiast mine in its first-quarter release late yesterday, which was made messy by the proposed sale of its Russian assets. All-in sustaining costs inched up from a year earlier.
  • We’ve got yet another deal between a Canadian utility operator and a major U.S. tech company. This time it’s Algonquin Power & Utilities’ Liberty division announcing a long-term power purchase agreement with Meta. The agreement is for all of the output from a 112-megawatt wind project in Michigan.
  • Some executive commentary suggesting the industrial real estate market is still booming. “Significant market demand and low availability in all our target markets are driving further increases in rental rates, near-full occupancies and expansion opportunities,” said Summit Industrial REIT CEO Paul Dykeman in a release after markets closed yesterday that showed a 12.2 per cent increase in first-quarter revenue, occupancy at 98.2 per cent, and a three per cent boost for the monthly distribution (to $0.048 per unit).

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: U.S. CPI, China CPI and PPI
  • Notable earnings: Manulife Financial, Sun Life Financial, Power Corp., Brookfield Residential Properties, Linamar, Boyd Group Services, Stantec, WSP Global, Vermilion Energy, Peyto Exploration, Trican Well Service, Sherritt International, Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund, Pizza Pizza Royalties Income Fund, High Liner Foods, The Walt Disney Co., Beyond Meat, Rivian Automotive
  • International Energy Agency releases Renewable Energy Market Update