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Before the Bell: Futures slip ahead of big tech results




Wall Street futures were weaker early Monday with earnings from big tech names set to dominate this week. Major European markets turned mixed after a weaker start. TSX futures were little changed.

In the early premarket period, futures linked to the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq were all lower. All three saw gains on Friday but declines for the week. The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Friday up and managed a 0.55-per-cent advance for the week.

“This week is all about the U.S. tech giants, which will be reporting and setting the tone for trading,” Naeem Aslam, chief investment officer with Zaye Capital Markets, said.


“There is no doubt that the earnings from the U.S. banks have been somewhat better than expected (if you look at the overall picture). This kept the trading sentiment positive among traders, but what matters now is how well the US tech giants will perform.”

Alphabet and Microsoft are set to report Tuesday. Amazon, Intel and Meta are among the companies reporting later in the week.

In this country, Canadian National Railway reports results after Monday’s close. Canadian Pacific Kansas City Ltd. reports after Wednesday’s close.

On the economic side, Canadians will get a snapshot of the country’s broad economic health with the release of GDP figures for February on Friday from Statistics Canada. Statscan’s early estimate suggested growth of 0.3 per cent for the month. The report will also include an early look at expected growth in March.

“RBC Economics expects the increase in February monthly GDP to be weaker than Statscan’s initial flash estimate of 0.3 per cent (RBC 0.1 per cent) given a large 2.4-per-cent drop in manufacturing sale volumes and declines in wholesale (-1.8%) and retail sales (-0.7%) volumes,” Alvin Tan, Asia FX strategist with RBC, said.

“March GDP growth is expected to remain on the slow side as hours worked rose less than in January and February, and the monthly manufacturing PMI slipped back into contractionary territory.”

He also said the current strike by federal workers could be enough to push GDP growth into negative territory in April.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.06 per cent in late morning trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.0.06 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.05 per cent and 0.07 per cent, respectively.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished up 0.10 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.58 per cent, giving up gains seen earlier in the session.


Crude prices were choppy in early trading with rate concerns ahead of next month’s Federal Reserve policy meeting and growth worries weighing on sentiment.

The day range on Brent is US$80.48 to US$81.87 in the predawn period. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$76.72 to US$77.98.

“The recent stress in the U.S. banking sector has heightened concerns around the growth trajectory, triggering a shift from a market heavily focused on inflation last year to growth concerns,” Stephen Innes, managing partner with SPI Asset Management, said.

“Oil markets have particularly suffered from growth worries and slowing inflation, with areas of the economy showing signs of reset, such as housing and wages.”

From the policy perspective, he said, the main risk to growth and oil markets is if the Fed signals a rate hike beyond May.

Currently, the markets have priced in a quarter point rate hike by the Fed next month.

Elsewhere, gold prices were trading in a narrow range early Monday.

Spot gold was little changed at US$1,982.34 an ounce while U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 per cent at US$1,991.30.


The Canadian dollar was fairly steady in early trading while its U.S. counterpart edged higher against a group of world currencies.

The day range on the loonie was 73.11 US cents to 73.94 US cents in the early premarket period. The Canadian dollar is up nearly 1 per cent against the greenback over the past month.

Canadian investors get February GDP figures on Friday. Ahead of that, the Bank of Canada releases deliberations from its most recent meeting on Wednesday.

Overseas, the U.S. dollar index, which weighs the currency against a group of world counterparts, was up 0.12 per cent at 101.8, according to figures from Reuters

The index hit a one-year low of 100.78 by mid-April as markets speculated on the future direction of interest rates.

The pound slid 0.2 per cent to US$1.2420 and the euro fell 0.1 per cent at US$1.09775, with neither currency having been able to hold respective multi-month highs above US$1.25 and US$1.10 reached in mid April, Reuters reported.

In bonds, the yield on the U.S. 10-year note was slightly lower at 3.541 per cent in the predawn period.

More company news

Coca-Cola Co beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue on Monday, as demand for its sodas remained resilient in the face of multiple price increases. The company said net revenue rose to US$11-billion from US$10.49-billion in the first quarter, compared with analysts’ average estimate of US$10.80-billion, according to Refinitiv data. –Reuters

Bed Bath & Beyond — one of the original big box retailers known for its seemingly endless offerings of sheets, towels and kitchen gadgets — filed for bankruptcy protection, following years of dismal sales and losses and numerous failed turnaround plans. The beleaguered home goods chain made the filing Sunday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey and said it will start an orderly wind down of its operations, while seeking a buyer for all or some of its businesses. In the bankruptcy filing, the retailer said it anticipates closing all of its stores by June 30. Shares were down about 40 per cent in premarket trading. -The Associated Press

NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell is leaving after acknowledging an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, following a complaint that prompted an investigation, parent company Comcast Corp said on Sunday. “I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret,” Shell said in a statement. His departure is effective immediately. Shell, previously chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, took over as CEO in 2020, replacing Steve Burke. –Reuters

Economic news

(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press



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Air Canada says it gave ‘erroneous’ response on delays compensation – Global News



Air Canada says it will offer compensation to travellers who were affected by flight delays caused by technical problems in recent weeks.

The airline, which had initially faced questions over messages reportedly sent to passengers saying they would not be entitled to compensation, has said its earlier response was “erroneous.”


“Air Canada is offering compensation in line with APPR (Air Passenger Protection Regulations) compensation levels for flights which were affected by the IT outage. Some passengers had received erroneous responses from us, and we are in the process of recontacting them with the correct responses,” an Air Canada spokesperson told Global News.

Some passengers had received messages from the airline, saying the tech issues were out of its hands. The company has since said that message was an error.

A Transport Canada spokesperson told Global News that changes made to the APPR recently made compensation for passengers mandatory, simplified the complaints process and put the onus on airlines instead of passengers.

“We have been in touch with Air Canada, and they have assured us they will be compensating passengers whose flights were impacted by the recent IT issues,” Transport Canada spokesperson Nadine Ramadan said.

The country’s largest carrier has struggled with intermittent computer problems over the past 15 days.

On May 25, it delayed more than half its flights due to a “technical issue” with the system that the airline uses to communicate with aircraft and monitor their performance. On June 1, it delayed or cancelled more than 500 flights — over three-quarters of its trips that day, according to tracking service FlightAware — due to “IT issues.”

That same day, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra stressed the carrier’s compensation responsibilities to its guests.

Click to play video: 'Air Canada disruptions: continued delays, cancellations stir frustration among nationwide customers'

Air Canada disruptions: continued delays, cancellations stir frustration among nationwide customers

“Air Canada has obligations to passengers who are impacted because it is caused by things that the airline has control over,” he told reporters June 1, hours after the IT issues resurfaced.

In April, Alghabra laid out measures to toughen penalties and tighten loopholes around traveller compensation as part of a proposed overhaul of Canada’s passenger rights charter.

If passed as part of the budget bill, the reforms will put the onus on airlines to show a flight disruption is caused by safety concerns or reasons outside their control, with specific examples to be drawn up by the Canadian Transportation Agency as a list of exceptions around compensation.

“It will no longer be the passenger who will have to prove that he or she is entitled to compensation. It will now be the airline that will need to prove that it does not have to pay for it,” Alghabra said on April 24.

Currently, a passenger is entitled to between $125 and $1,000 in compensation for a three-hour-plus delay or a cancellation made within 14 days of the scheduled departure — unless the disruption stems from events outside the airline’s control, such as weather or a safety issue including mechanical problems. The amount varies depending on the size of the carrier and the length of the delay.

— with files from the Canadian Press

More on Canada

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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WestJet shutting down discount airline Swoop – CBC News



WestJet is shutting down its budget airline, Swoop.

The company made the announcement in a news release Friday, noting that the ratification of its recent deal with its pilots allows it to integrate all of its staff at various airlines into a single banner.

“As negotiated in the collective agreement, the WestJet Group will now begin integration efforts of its ultra-low-cost airline, Swoop,” the airline said.


“Through an expedited process, the airline anticipates a full integration into its mainline operations by the end of October. To avoid traveller impact, Swoop will operate its existing network through to the end of its published schedule on October 28. Swoop employees will move to WestJet.”

The move comes as the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced its members had ratified their recent pact with the airline, one that brings in 24 per cent raises over four years, and puts Swoop pilots on a similar footing as WestJet’s in terms of seniority and compensation issues.

The union said 87 per cent voted in favour of the deal, “which goes a long way to recognizing the value and expertise the pilots bring to their airline and will help solve many of WestJet’s pilot attraction and retention issues.” 

Swoop was launched nearly five years ago, in June 2018. It offered heavily discounted rates with few frills to cost-conscious travellers. A handful of other so-called ultra low-cost carriers have taken to Canada’s skies in recent years, including Flair, Lynx and Canada Jetlines.

While Swoop’s demise will remove a major player in Canada’s discount travel space, WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech says the airline will continue to offer affordable options.

“This integration will enhance our ability to serve a broader spectrum of guests,” he said. “Instead of only 16 aircraft serving the ultra-low-cost market, each aircraft, in our 180-strong fleet, will offer ultra-affordable travel options through to a premium inflight experience.”

But ultimately the news is a bad development for consumers, according to John Gradek, a lecturer at McGill University who studies the airline industry.

“It has implications in terms of the choices that Canadians will have in terms of an alternative ultra-low-cost carrier,” he told CBC News.

Although it started in 1996 as a regionally focused airline with generally cheaper prices, WestJet is no longer a discount airline, Gradek says. “The loss of Swoop basically eliminates a carrier that was specializing in low cost and it’s going to be a loss to Canadian travellers.”

More moves to come?

Gradek says it is not surprising to see WestJet make the move, as one of the main advantages of Swoop in the first place was its lower cost base. 

“One of the conditions for creating Swoop was to have a different salary scale,” he said. “With the ALPA agreement that differential that allows you to have some competitive advantage price wise disappears.”

Gradek says he would not be surprised to see WestJet do something similar with another discount airline it recently bought, Sunwing.

“WestJet has choices — they’re now looking at Sunwing and that’s the next shoe that’s going to fall,” he said. “how far do you take this integration that started with Swoop — do you do the same thing with Sunwing?”

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GM and Ford to use Tesla’s plug, all but killing CCS in North America



Tesla Supercharger Station PressSource: Tesla

Rival auto manufacturers GM and Ford have signed on to use Tesla’s NACS charging connector for their future electric cars in North America, a decision that has effectively signed the death certificate for the competing CCS1 charging connector standard.

We’re still in the early days of electric vehicles, but the rate of adoption is rapidly increasing as more manufacturers produce EVs in different shapes and sizes and prices, and as customers buy them up with vigor. And so there is a lot of jockeying happening not just for buyers, but for infrastructure to support them. The most interesting bifurcation has happened in charging standards with the division led primarily by Tesla.

Back in 2012 when Tesla unveiled its all-electric Model S sedan it did so with a new charging connector. At the time it was a proprietary connector, but it was already much more impressive and elegant than the highly engineered J1772 standard connector or almost comically bulky CCS1 and CHAdeMO standards that also offered DC charging. Tesla’s connector did all of that in a fraction of the footprint, with far less complexity in design or use. Yet, for the past decade, Tesla’s been trucking along with their own connector in North American markets while all other manufacturers remained committed to CCS1.

(Tesla was mandated by law to use the Type 2 IEC 60309 and CCS2 connectors for cars sold in Europe, and the GB/T connector in China)


Tesla accounts for more than half of DC fast chargers in the USA — surely a selling point for Ford and GM

This led to the bifurcation of the US EV market, with Tesla leading in electric car sales ever since their first cars went on sale, and leading in the deployment of chargers with their expansive but exclusive Supercharger network. Tesla’s head start in charger installation gets us to where we are today, with Tesla’s Superchargers accounting for more than half of the DC fast chargers installed in the USA.

That’s all started to change. It began with the relatively quiet November 2022 announcement from Tesla that they were opening up the Tesla charging connector to other manufacturers as the NACS — the North American Charging Standard. But the big news arrived late last month with Ford switching to the Tesla NCAS connector in 2025. And now today, chief American rival GM revealed they are also adopting NACS. Both plan to make adapters for the existing CCS-equipped chargers, and Tesla already sells their own CSS adapter, and also has equipped a handful of its own Tesla-plugged charging stations with adapters to support CCS vehicles.

NACS Vs CCS1NACS Vs CCS1Source: Tesla
Telsa’s compact NACS connector overlaid on the much larger CCS1 connector.

Tesla, Ford, and GM today account for roughly 3/4 of all EV sales in the USA and the top three sales spots. This is a tipping point for EVs in the USA and thus North America — in the span of a few months Tesla’s NACS connector went from proprietary to the winning option. There are still other EV manufacturers that remain publicly committed to the CCS connector, including VW, Mercedes, Kia, and Rivian. Ford and GM are huge swings for NACS and will almost certainly lead to other companies adapting the standard.

Certainly, charging companies like Electrify America and ChargePoint are also going to race to install NACS connectors in the next two years so that the fleets of differently receptacled EVs can utilize their currently CCS-only chargers. Tesla will also have to invest in upgrading their existing charger stations with longer cables, though, since they’re basically the only manufacturer placing their charging port at the corner of the car. Charging a Ford F-150 at one of those adapter-equipped stations didn’t go so well because of the short Supercharger cables.

GM’s adoption of NACS signals the end of the line for CCS1. The standards body made some angry noises when Ford jumped ship, but the loss of GM means they no longer have America’s largest auto manufacturer and popular and well-known brands like Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, Buick, and Cadillac. Alas, CCS1, few people even knew your clunkiness. NACS will reign supreme from here on out.


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