April 10, 2023

Daily Market Commentary

Canadian Headlines

  • Sleep County Canada Holdings Inc., Canada’s leading omnichannel specialty sleep retailer, today announced its intention to acquire 100% ownership of the Canadian assets of Casper Sleep Inc., the original disruptor of the mattress industry in North America and award-winning mattress retailer. “We are very excited to acquire 100% of Casper’s Canadian retail business, who invested over $1 billion globally to build a leading brand that elevated the importance of a good night’s sleep for all.  With their omnichannel business, and their mission to deliver a frictionless and elevated sleep retail experience, they align perfectly with our strategic omnichannel journey that began 4 years ago,” said Stewart Schaefer, President and CEO of Sleep Country. “We look forward to growing Casper’s brand in Canada to make the newest member of our family of brands more accessible to all Canadians in a seamless manner that will exceed our growing customer expectations. We are excited to continue working with Casper Sleep Inc. as they continue executing their long-term strategic growth plan,” added Schaefer.
  • Teck Resources Ltd. urged investors to support its plan for splitting into two businesses at a vote later this month, reiterating opposition to an alternative proposal from Glencore Plc. Glencore’s offer to acquire Teck for about $23 billion in shares and then spin off both companies’ coal businesses is a “non-starter,” Teck said in a statement. The Canadian miner has scheduled a call with investors on Monday morning with Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Price. Teck’s dual-class share structure means that any takeover bid requires the support of Canada’s Keevil family, whose patriarch has indicated he will not sell to Glencore at any price. However, Teck’s other investors will have an opportunity to block its plan — announced in February — to divide the company into two businesses, focused on base metals and steelmaking coal respectively.
  • Bank of Nova Scotia hired Francisco Aristeguieta to run its international operations, one of the first big moves by new Chief Executive Officer Scott Thomson as he begins to put his stamp on the bank. Aristeguieta comes from State Street Corp., where he’s held the role of CEO of institutional services since 2020. He spent 25 years at Citigroup Inc., where he did senior jobs in Latin America and Asia.  He’ll begin working at the Canadian bank on May 1. Ignacio Deschamps, Scotiabank’s current international head, will retire at the end of April, according to a statement from the Toronto-based bank. Deschamps had been seen as a contender for the top job, but lost out to Thomson last year.

World Headlines

  • US equity futures were little changed while Asian stocks rose in holiday-thinned trading as investors assessed the Federal Reserve’s policy path following Friday’s US jobs data. In the US premarket activity, Tesla Inc. edged lower after cutting prices of all models for the second time this year. Micron Technology Inc. advanced 6.5% after rival Samsung Electronics said on Friday that it would cut memory chip production. Treasuries held a retreat from Friday, when a solid US hiring report bolstered bets for another Fed rate increase. The next major data point is Wednesday’s report on consumer prices, which is expected to show a 0.4% monthly increase in core CPI.
  • Asian stocks edged higher in holiday-thinned trading as investors assessed the outlook for Federal Reserve policy in the wake of key US jobs data. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2%, driven by gains in materials and technology shares. South Korea’s Kospi was among the top-performing regional benchmarks, on the back of a rally in stocks tied to electric vehicles. China’s onshore equities edged lower, while Hong Kong and Australia were among markets shut for holidays. Stocks in Asia have traded in a narrow range so far this month as uncertainty over global interest rates, China’s economic recovery and possible recessions in advanced economies keeps risk appetite in check. US payrolls rose at a firm pace last month, data showed Friday, paving the way for the Fed to increase interest rates at its next meeting in early May.
  • Oil steadied as traders assess challenges to supply in the wake of planned output cuts by OPEC+ and in anticipation of news on when Iraq may resume exports from its northern fields. West Texas Intermediate was little changed at about $81 a barrel. The US benchmark rallied almost 7% last week following the surprise decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies that the group would further cut production. Separately, Turkey wants to negotiate with Iraq a settlement it’s been ordered to pay before a pipeline that exports 400,000 barrels a day is reopened, according to Turkish officials familiar with the situation.
  • Gold edged lower after closing above $2,000 last week, as investors weighed Friday’s US jobs report that supported the possibility of another Federal Reserve rate increase. Bullion had climbed to within sight of its all-time high of $2,075.47 as the banking crisis and growing worries about global growth have boosted demand for the haven metal. At the same time, economic-cooling signals have spurred bets that the Fed will ease its monetary-tightening path, which would be positive for non-interest-bearing bullion. Spot gold slipped 0.4% to $2,000.71 an ounce as of 10:33 a.m. London time, after climbing 2% last week. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat following a 0.3% drop last week. Silver was slightly lower, while platinum and palladium edged up.
  • Iron ore in Singapore rose for the first time in seven sessions after Chinese steel inventories dropped amid a pick-up in demand as peak construction season gets underway. The steelmaking raw material climbed as much as 3.7% in Singapore before paring gains. Stockpiles at major Chinese steel mills plunged 9% in late March compared to the middle of the month, according to data from the China Iron and Steel Association late last week.  The recovery in China’s steel purchasing managers’ index late last month, and demand from the infrastructure and real estate sectors has boosted market confidence, Huatai Futures said in a note. The improvement in demand could help mill profitability rebound this quarter, according to CITIC Securities.
  • Apple Inc.’s personal computer shipments declined by 40.5% in the first quarter, marking a tough start to the year for PC makers still grappling with a glut of unsold inventory. Shipments by all PC makers combined slumped 29% to 56.9 million units — and fell below the levels of early 2019 — as the demand surge driven by pandemic-era remote work evaporated, according to IDC’s latest report. Among the market leaders, Lenovo Group Ltd. and Dell Technologies Inc. registered drops of more than 30%, while HP Inc. was down 24.2%. No major brand was spared from the slowdown, with Asustek Computer Inc. rounding out the top 5 with a 30.3% fall. The slowdown in consumer spending over the past year has led to double-digit declines in smartphone shipments and an accumulating glut among the world’s foremost memory chip suppliers. Samsung Electronics Co., which provides memory for portable devices as well as desktop and laptop PCs, last week said it’s cutting memory production after reporting its slimmest profit since the 2009 financial crisis.
  • Anyone shopping for a new car in China is in the right place at the right time. The world’s largest auto market is in the midst of a heated price war, and the situation is only intensifying. In the first quarter, a total of 649 variants of passenger cars, or around 20% of all vehicles on the market, saw transaction price drops of more than 10,000 yuan ($1,500), data compiled by research provider China Auto Market show. Back in February, that percentage was just 12% of all cars, and it was as low as 6% this time last year. (China Auto Market collects more than 3,000 car model variants in its data set each month that were examined by Bloomberg.)
  • Most global central banks may be either close to a peak or already done with interest-rate hiking, auguring a hiatus before possible monetary loosening comes into view. With the first signs of dents in economic growth now visible, and fallout from financial-market tensions lingering, any pause by the Federal Reserve after at least one more increase in May could cement a turn in what has been the most aggressive the world has seen in decades. The European Central Bank and regional counterparts might keep going longer and even aspire to keep restrictive settings in place, but a shift in gear for US monetary policy led by Chair Jerome Powell would be an important signal to global peers.
  • China’s military drills in response to President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy were on par with the reaction last year after his predecessor visited the island, Taiwan’s foreign minister said Monday.  “This time around, if you look at the intensity of their air threat or naval threat against Taiwan, I think it’s similar to what we saw at the time,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an interview with Bloomberg News Monday, referring to the aftermath of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last August. The People’s Liberation Army in China on Monday said it had completed three days of military exercises around the island, adding that it stands “ready to fight at any time and crush separatism activities and foreign interference.” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said earlier that China’s Shandong aircraft carrier joined the drills, with military aircraft taking off and landing on the vessel.
  • Investors are turning their focus to the world’s top finance ministers and central bankers assembling this week in Washington, looking for fresh clues on the outlook for everything from interest rates, banking stability and debt relief to oil prices and the testy US-China relationship. Major central banks including the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank have signaled that stemming inflation remains their top priority despite last month’s banking woes, which raised the specter of wider economic risks.  The April 10-16 Spring Meetings hosted by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank will also see a raft of related meetings, including the Group of 20 finance chiefs. The G-20 will face another contentious attempt to craft a joint statement on their prognosis for the global economy, after having failed to do so in February thanks to disputes over Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
  • Emirates Telecommunications Group will buy a $400 million stake in the super app developed by Uber Technologies Inc.’s Middle Eastern subsidiary, as part the Abu Dhabi-based firm’s attempts to reinvent itself as a global technology investor. The telco giant, which is also Vodafone Group Plc’s biggest investor, signed a binding agreement with Uber and its regional subsidiary, Careem, to acquire a 50.03% stake in the super app spin-out, according to a statement.  Uber, which acquired Careem in 2020, will remain a shareholder in the new entity and will continue to own all of Careem’s ride-hailing business. All three of Careem’s co-founders will also be shareholders in the super app.
  • Failed crypto exchange FTX Trading Ltd. lacked fundamental financial and accounting controls, stifled dissent within the company and joked internally about their tendency to lose track of millions of dollars in assets, according to a report by the company’s debtors. The report is the first released by FTX debtors since Sam Bankman-Fried’s digital-asset empire rapidly collapsed into bankruptcy in November, with billions of dollars in customer funds lost. At the root of FTX’s spectacular collapse was “hubris, incompetence, and greed” on the part of Bankman-Fried and top executives, including former engineering director Nishad Singh and former chief technology officer Gary Wang, the report said.