Shares in Canadian technology company BlackBerry are changing hands at their highest level in almost a decade on Monday, as investor enthusiasm for the once high-flying stock has mysteriously returned.
BlackBerry shares were trading at almost $25 a share when the Toronto Stock Exchange opened on Monday, up more than $7 or more than 40 per cent from Friday’s level.
The stock has been quietly rallying for several days now, before taking off on Monday. When 2021 began, the company was worth just over $8 a share. It’s now worth about three times that.
The company has had a number of small pieces of good news in recent weeks, but nothing that would explain Monday’s rise in share price.
Last month, the company signed a deal with Amazon to work on a connected cloud software program for cars, and then in mid-January BlackBerry favourably settled a patent fight with Facebook, but Morningstar analyst William Kerwin says neither development is enough to explain Monday’s surge.
“BlackBerry’s stock movement doesn’t appear to be rooted in any fundamental firm changes, in our view,” he said in an email to CBC News.
Instead, the company has seemingly become one of many recent firms to benefit from a groundswell of retail investor enthusiasm on popular online message boards such as Reddit, regardless of whatever the Wall Street community thinks. Of the 11 analysts who cover the company, nine have a “hold” rating on the company’s shares, and two have “sell” recommendations.
None suggest buying. But that’s not stopping retail investors from doing exactly that.
“BB is moving on Reddit boards,” said Ophir Gottlieb, CEO of trading firm Capital Market Labs. “Not much else to say.”
More than 14 million of the company’s shares changed hands in Toronto on Monday. That’s more than three times the usual volume, and half the trading day is still to come.
Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist with SIA Wealth Management in Toronto, says BlackBerry is just the latest in a series of companies that have seen unexpected rises in share prices in recent weeks.
The current stock market rally has driven up the valuation of huge companies, and now investors are moving down the food chain looking for bargains.
“Smaller stocks don’t have as much liquidity or stock available to trade so a sudden stampede of cash chasing into a smaller cap stock can swamp supply and cause the kind of massive spikes on no news that have started to really pop up in the last week or so,” he said in an email to CBC News.
“So to me, these moves are more about market sentiment, relative performance, and supply/demand issues rather than fundamental news.”
Kerwin agrees that there are no fundamental changes to BlackBerry’s business that properly explain the price surge.
“We think there’s likely a shift in market sentiment about BlackBerry, perhaps with investors getting more bullish about [their] prospects after the fact. There’s above average trading volume this morning, which might also point to [a] retail investor swell.”
Gottlieb notes that BlackBerry isn’t the only company being pushed up by the sudden trend. “This is not a single stock story, it is a behavioural story.”
Source: – CBC.ca
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC.ca
COVID-19 vaccine makers told the United States Congress on Tuesday to expect a big jump in the delivery of doses over the coming month, and the companies insist they will be able to provide enough for most Americans to get inoculated by summer.
By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna expect to have provided the U.S. government with a total of 220 million vaccine doses, up sharply from the roughly 75 million shipped so far.
“We do believe we’re on track,” Moderna president Stephen Hoge said, outlining ways the company has ramped up production. “We think we’re at a very good spot.”
That’s not counting a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, that’s expected to get a green light from regulators soon. The Biden administration said Tuesday that it expects about two million doses of that vaccine to be shipped in the first week, but the company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March.
Looking ahead to summer, Pfizer and Moderna expect to complete delivery of 300 million doses each, and J&J aims to provide an additional 100 million doses. That would be more than enough to vaccinate every American adult, the goal set by the Biden administration.
Two other manufacturers, Novavax and AstraZeneca, have vaccines in the pipeline and anticipate eventually adding to those totals.
Asked pointedly if they face shortages of raw materials, equipment or funding that would throw off those schedules, all of the manufacturers expressed confidence that they had enough supplies and had already addressed some of the early bottlenecks in production.
“At this point I can confirm we are not seeing any shortages of raw materials,” said Pfizer’s John Young.
U.S. vaccination campaign ramping up
The hearing by a House subcommittee came as U.S. vaccinations continue to accelerate after a sluggish start and recent disruptions caused by winter weather. More than 44 million Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and about 1.4 million per day got a first or second dose over the past seven days, according to the CDC.
But state health officials say demand for inoculations still vastly outstrips the limited weekly shipments provided by the federal government.
“The most pressing challenge now is the lack of supply of vaccine doses,” Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said as she opened the hearing. “Some of the companies here today are still short of the number of doses they promised to initially deliver when they last testified before this subcommittee in July.”
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Both Pfizer and Moderna failed to meet delivery quotas for the initial doses of their vaccines late last year. That’s prompted Congress to scrutinize the companies’ plans for vaccine development and delivery, which they noted benefited from $16 billion in federal funding.
“A significant amount of American tax dollars were invested to be able to produce the vaccine immediately upon approval,” said Rep. David McKinley, a West Virginia Republican, who questioned executives on why they were still unable to meet demand for the vaccines.
Nearly 14 per cent of Americans have received at least an initial dose of the two-shot regimen vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed focused most of its efforts on racing vaccines through research, development and manufacturing. But little planning or funding went to co-ordinating vaccination campaigns at the state and local levels. That effort is now picking up speed with plans for mass vaccination sites and an increasing supply distributed to chain pharmacies.
Rep. Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, questioned J&J vice-president Richard Nettles on why the company has fallen behind on the schedule outlined in its federal contract, which included delivering 12 million doses by late February.
Nettles said only that the company has faced “significant challenges” due to its “highly complex” manufacturing process. But he noted the company is partnering with drugmaker Sanofi to further expand production.
“This has been an unprecedented effort to scale up manufacturing for a vaccine against a disease that didn’t even exist more than a year ago,” Nettles told lawmakers.
What’s happening across Canada
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As of 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had reported 852,276 cases of COVID-19, with 30,679 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 21,762.
In Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The province, which reported 372 active cases, had five COVID-19 patients in hospital.
In Quebec, health officials reported 739 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 13 additional deaths linked to the pandemic. Hospitalizations stood at 680, with 120 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
Ontario reported 975 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 12 more deaths from the virus. Hospitalizations stood at 718, with 283 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and no additional deaths. In neighbouring Saskatchewan, health officials reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths. Alberta, meanwhile, reported 267 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths.
In British Columbia, health officials reported 559 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Tuesday. The province is expected to start informing people over age 80 about their vaccinations for COVID-19 starting next week as the province prepares to open mass clinics while doing more in-depth testing for variants.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. is in a phase of “vaccine hope and pandemic reality,” but an age-based immunization plan will remain in place despite some calls to prioritize essential workers.
Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut or Yukon. Health officials in the Northwest Territories reported two more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, saying one was an “out-of-territory worker related to the Gahcho Kué Mine outbreak” and the other was an “out-of-territory seasonal worker in Yellowknife.”
Here’s a look at what’s happening across Canada:
-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
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As of early Wednesday morning, more than 112.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 63.3 million cases listed as recovered on a tracking site maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at well over 2.4 million.
In the Americas, the presidents of Mexico and Argentina pressed the United Nations and the world’s richest countries to improve poorer nations’ access to vaccines.
Brazil has fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech SE vaccine, though a dispute over a supply deal means it has none to start an immunization program with.
Colombia has approved the emergency use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
In Africa, South Africa’s government advisers had organized vaccines into three groups and those considered for “immediate use” were the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna shots.
Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive vaccines acquired through the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative with a delivery of 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India. The vaccines, delivered by UNICEF, arrived at Accra’s international airport early Wednesday and are part of the first wave of COVID-19 vaccines being sent by COVAX, an international co-operative program formed to make sure low- and middle-income countries have fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.
In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea’s top infectious disease experts warned that vaccines will not bring the disease to a quick end and called for continued vigilance in physical distancing and mask wearing as the country prepares to give its first shots on Friday.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, said Wednesday it would take a “considerably long time” before the mass vaccination campaign brings the virus under control.
The country aims to vaccinate more than 70 per cent of the population by November. But a safe return to a life without masks is highly unlikely this year, considering various factors including the growing spread of virus variants, said Choi Won Suk, an infectious disease professor at the Korea University Ansan Hospital.
“We are concerned that people might drop their guard as vaccination begins, triggering another massive wave of the virus,” Jeong said.
Jeong spoke as South Korea began transporting the first vaccines rolled off a production line in the southern city of Andong, where local pharmaceutical company SK Bioscience is manufacturing the shots developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
The country will kick off the vaccination on Friday starting with residents and employees at long-term care facilities.
Separately, some 55,000 doctors, nurses and other health professionals treating COVID-19 patients will begin receiving the shots developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Saturday.
Thailand, meanwhile, received its first batch of vaccines, with inoculations set to begin in a few days.
— India will start inoculating people above 60, and those with underlying health problems above age 45 in the second phase of its massive vaccination drive from March 1.
India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar says the vaccinations will be done in 10,000 public and 20,000 private hospitals. Javadekar told reporters on Wednesday that vaccine shots in government hospitals will be free, but did not say how much it will cost in private hospitals.
India started inoculating health workers beginning on Jan. 16. The country is home to the world’s largest vaccine makers. The government has authorized emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and a homegrown vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech.
Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in some parts of India after months of a steady nationwide decline. In many cities, markets are bustling, roads are crowded and restaurants are nearly full. The country is reporting about 11,000 to 13,000 new cases a day, compared to a peak of nearly 100,000. in September.
In the Middle East, the World Bank threatened to suspend its multimillion-dollar financing for Lebanon’s vaccinations over politicians jumping the line.
In Europe, the Czech prime minister said the pandemic situation in his country, one of the hardest-hit in the European Union, is “extremely serious” and his government will have to impose more restrictions to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the measures are needed to prevent “a total catastrophe” in hospitals that have been coming close to their limits.
The government will decide those measures later Wednesday. Babis says they will be similar to those in place last spring, when the borders and schools were completely closed. He also mentioned possible restrictions to limit the movement of people.
Sweden is preparing new measures to try to curb a resurgence in cases.
European Union government leaders will agree to maintain curbs on non-essential travel within the EU despite the bloc’s executive asking six countries to ease border restrictions.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 9 a.m. ET
Chairman Powell's testimony did not affect gold pricing to any great degree – Kitco NEWS
The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, today began his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee in regards to the Fed’s current monetary policy. In his first day of testimony, he underscored both the positive improvements in the economy, as well as the assumption that the economy in the United States continues to be negatively impacted by the pandemic.
The chairman stated that the accommodative monetary policy, which began when the epidemic became a pandemic, remains fully intact. He also said that Federal Reserve is fully committed to maintaining low-interest rates and quantitative easing through the purchase of $120 billion worth of bonds and mortgage-backed securities per month.
“The Fed will continue this bond-buying, or quantitative easing until there has been “substantial progress” in the labor market and inflation has gotten closer to the Fed’s 2% longer-run objective. In fact, the mandate of keeping interest rates at 2% has been updated, allowing the Federal Reserve to let inflation heat up past that target in lieu of achieving the primary mandate of maximum employment.
While many investors and market participants have been actively bidding U.S. equities higher, Chairman Powell conveyed that, “The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals.” At the same time, he offered some positive news that the economy is recovering, although this will not change the basic accommodative monetary policy currently in place. His major concern is considered to be on the primary mandate of the Federal Reserve, which is full employment. His statement that there are currently over 10 million Americans still unemployed is an issue that will take time to resolve.
“There are signs that the economy is on the mend from the coronavirus pandemic, but the central bank is likely to keep its easy policy in place for some time.” Most importantly, the Fed chairman underscored that a large fiscal stimulus package from the government would not cause problematic price inflation.
On the topic of rising bond yields recently, Chairman Jerome Powell said that “higher yields are really only “a statement of confidence” for an improving U.S. economic outlook.” He tempered the recent rise in bond yields by saying, while we should not underestimate the challenges we currently face, developments point to an improved outlook for later this year”.
While the statements coupled with the high probability that lawmakers will and act and pass a robust fiscal stimulus aid package close to the president’s proposal that the next aid package cost would be approximately $1.9 trillion, we still have not seen gold react in a bullish manner to this news. Gold basis most active April 2021 Comex contract gave up $2.90 in trading today and is currently fixed at $1805.50. Considering yesterday’s dramatic $30 gain, it clearly illustrates underlying support for the precious yellow metal.
However, that is contrasted by the technical studies, which suggest that gold is currently still maintaining a bearish demeanor. His current pricing is well below its 200-day moving average. And recent price action has resulted in a series of lower highs and lower lows. On the positive side is the fact that last week’s low of $1760 per ounce not only held but was followed by strong bullish market sentiment taking gold pricing back above $1800 per ounce.
The fact remains that until gold pricing can close effectively above $1850 per ounce, which is where our technical studies indicate there is major resistance, then we could see the market continue to consolidate.
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Wishing you, as always, good trading and good health,
Canadian Housing Market Showing Signs Of 'Excess Exuberance,' Bank Of Canada Warns – HuffPost Canada
OTTAWA ― Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says the central bank is seeing early signs that people may be purchasing homes solely because they believe prices may go up.
Macklem says rising prices in particular for single-family homes are still a long way from the heated market the country observed about five years ago.
Fuelling the increase has been a combination of demand for more space as millions of workers do their jobs remotely, constrained supply and rock-bottom interest rates driven low by central bank actions.
The bank’s key policy rate has been at 0.25 per cent for about 11 months, and its quantitative easing program is trying to reduce the rates paid on things like mortgages to drive spending.
Watch: Why governments don’t mind rising house prices. Story continues below.
Macklem says the central bank is surprised by the rebound in the housing market.
He adds there are early signs of what he called “excess exuberance,” with people maybe expecting the recent increases in prices to go on indefinitely.
“What we get worried about is when we start to see extrapolated expectations, when we start to see people expecting the kind of unsustainable price increases we’ve seen recently go on indefinitely,” Macklem said during a question-and-answer session with chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary.
“We are starting to see some early signs of excess exuberance, but we’re a long way from where we were in 2016-2017 when things were really hot.”
The central bank plans to keep its key rate low until the economy recovers, expected sometime in 2023, and adjust its bond-buying program over time.
Macklem says there is still a need for considerable monetary policy support to generate a complete recovery.
In the meantime, the bank will keep an eye on debt levels, as mortgage debt rises as households pay down other debt like credit cards and personal loans, Macklem says.
“We are acutely aware that in a world of very low interest rates, there is a risk that housing prices could get stretched, households could get stretched, and certainly that’s a risk we want to guard against,” Macklem told reporters following the speech.
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