Cannabis stocks are rallying as investors await the final results from Georgia’s Senate runoff races. Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman and Akiko Fujita discuss.
AKIKO FUJITA: The cannabis space getting a big bump today on the expectation of some kind of federal regulation shaping out here, largely because, if Jon Ossoff does pull off that win, you’ve got the Vice President-elect as the tiebreaker, and she has been very supportive of some of that legislation.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah. It’s really interesting. Because Akiko, we’ve been talking about the trends in the cannabis space. And I got two here to spotlight. You can look at MSOS, which is the ETF that tracks the US multistate operators, and the MJ ETF, which largely tracks the Canadian giants there.
And you can see, when you compare them, I mean, we’re talking about the opportunity here, and right now you see MJ would be the biggest gainer on the day, more so than those US multistate operators. And I think that could be because obviously a lot of these Canadian players are locked out. You think about Canopy’s deal to acquire Acreage, a US multistate operator. That only goes through if you see federal laws around marijuana changed. And really, that’s what’s kind of expected here. The US companies would have had more time to grow, extend state by state. But if all of a sudden you flip the switch and say, look, we’re going to legalize at a federal level, that suddenly opens the door for some of these Canadian players to start making their inroads. It accelerates that conversation quite a bit.
But overall, I mean, even before this happened– and you and I were talking about the idea that Democrats were perhaps getting undercounted in the probability that they could take the Senate. I mean, you go back a couple weeks and talk about cannabis companies here, Curaleaf, some of the other multistate operators, Trulieve, Cresco Labs, that had been trading at record highs. And you would say, well, why do you want to buy these stocks at record highs?
And the idea is just because the runway is so much larger, even as you have states legalizing, some of the tax implications that could come through through the Safe Banking Act, the MORE Act that we saw the House pass, I mean, that’s going to reduce the tax bills that are pretty insane for some of these cannabis companies. Because they’re dealing with a business that has to be based on cash. They can’t access banks. So some of these laws that could come through, even if it’s not the more progressive changes that people want to see when we’re talking about expunging criminal records for prior cannabis offenses, that’s included in the MORE Act, but even if you just get the Safe Banking Act, which is a more moderate proposal to maybe change the financial rules around these companies, that could be some big changes when you think about tax implications and some of the other question marks around the sector.
And so I think even though we’re seeing this one day pop, there’s still a lot of question marks around what could get passed and what couldn’t get passed that still leaves quite a bit of upside for investors who have been locked out or maybe not thought about cannabis opportunities. But very interesting to see this all play out, which, again, centers around the potential surprise around Democratic control in the Senate.
AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, although if you see the type of games that we’ve seen in cannabis stocks today, it does feel like in some ways investors may be jumping the gun a bit. Because, to your point, you’ve still got a very, very narrow majority, if we’re talking about a sweep in Georgia and Democrats do regain control, because we’re still talking about a 50/50 split. And let’s remember, the Democrats actually lost some of the seats in the House too. So it’ll be interesting to see how those negotiations play out.
We’ve also heard from a lot of guests that’s been talking about banks and energy certainly going to see some gains here on the back of expectations of additional stimulus. And then, of course, infrastructure. If you look at some of the stocks that are moving, the Dow’s top movers, we’re seeing Caterpillar pop in a big way, up 7%. Goldman Sachs, as well as JPMorgan, Chase, and Amex among those big movers.
Fewer than 2400 new COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario, another 52 deaths logged – CTV Toronto
Health officials in Ontario are reporting fewer than 2,400 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday.
The 2,359 infections mark a drop over Friday’s report when 2,662 cases were added and bring the province’s COVID-19 case total to 252,585, including deaths and recoveries.
Fifty-two of those deaths occurred in the previous day, 25 of which were residents in a long-term care home.
The Ministry of Health now considers 3,025 more cases to be resolved, a number that has been outpacing new infections in Ontario in recent days. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 222,287 people previously diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered.
The data released by the government Saturday shows there are currently 24,545 active cases of the novel coronavirus across Ontario.
With 63,453 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province’s COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 4.5 per cent.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases in Ontario?
Most of the cases reported Saturday were found in Toronto (708), Peel Region (422), York Region (220), Hamilton (107) and Windsor-Essex (100).
Toronto Mayor John Tory commented on the city’s numbers in a tweet published Saturday where he said case counts are heading in the “right direction.”
“Let’s keep it that way. Stay home this weekend, Toronto,” he said.
For context, the province reported 779 cases in Toronto on Friday, 897 (102 of which were attributed to a previous technical issue) on Thursday and 925 on Wednesday.
Toronto has consistently reported the highest daily COVID-19 case numbers in the province since the start of the pandemic.
Several other regions reported case numbers in the high double digits, including Niagara, Waterloo, Halton, Simcoe Muskoka and Durham Region.
Right now, there are 1,501 patients in hospital with COVID-19, down from the 1,512 reported a day earlier.
Of those patients, 395 are being treated in an intensive care unit and 299 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.
Update on COVID-19 vaccinations in Ontario
Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 276,146 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered throughout Ontario since inoculations began last month.
The province said that 11,161 of those shots were administered in the previous day.
At least 57,907 people have received both their first and second shots and are considered to be fully vaccinated.
Ontario is currently operating in Phase 1 of it’s vaccination rollout, which will see shots given to health-care workers in hospitals, long-term care homes and retirement homes, other congregate care settings and remote Indigenous communities
2 New Deaths, 116 New Cases Of COVID-19 In Windsor Essex On Saturday – windsoriteDOTca News
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- 2 New Deaths, 116 New Cases Of COVID-19 In Windsor Essex On Saturday windsoriteDOTca News
- BlackburnNews.com – Overdose alert issued for Windsor area BlackburnNews.com
- Some local leaders fear looming crisis as migrant workers start to arrive in Windsor-Essex CBC.ca
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Post-pandemic apocalypse – Winnipeg Free Press
Statistic after statistic points to the debilitating state of commerce in Canada. But what exactly do all those pandemic-fuelled business closures mean for cities like Winnipeg, Vancouver or Toronto?
Data released this week by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows the situation is dire. More than one in six businesses — at least 239,000 across Canada and 5,601 in Manitoba — are at the risk of permanently disappearing because of COVID-19, or have already closed.
Economists, public policy stakeholders and municipal planners are split on how exactly this will affect the future of downtown cores and surrounding areas.
In interviews with the Free Press, experts described how jarring shifts in local economies will cause hypercompetition in some sectors, while others might completely disappear. It could also cause fewer jobs overall, less walkable areas, limited shopping options, and a rapid loss of the “biz village” concept, they said, along with severe population declines.
One in six businesses at risk — at least 239,000 across Canada and 5,601 in Manitoba
Click to Expand
2.4 MILLION PEOPLE likely be out of work — a staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs, or just about ONE IN SEVEN of all employment in Canada
47% of businesses are fully open, as of Jan. 22 — down from 62 per cent at the end of November
36% fully staffed, as of Jan. 22 — down from 41 per cent at the end of November
22% businesses currently making normal sales, as of Jan. 22 — down from 29 per cent at the end of November
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business
If there’s one thing they can all agree on, however, it’s that Canadians cities will likely never look the same again. And if governments plan on bringing things back to a sustainable “new normal,” analysts believe preparation for it should begin as soon as possible.
“I think there’s an implicit assumption that we’re in a sort of snow globe right now and that everything’s suspended so that one day soon we’ll all go back to normal,” said Vass Bednar, a policy expert who’s held several public and private sector leadership roles, including at Airbnb and Queen’s Park in Toronto.
“Those assumptions are almost certainly wrong,” she said. “The fact is, everyone will quickly notice how different things already are when they go on a walk around their cities to see not just closed signs, but also the larger store or restaurant signs taken off to indicate permanent closures for so many of their favourite places. And it will only get more severe.”
CFIB’s latest figures suggest that at least 58,000 businesses have already permanently closed their doors following pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions in 2020.
Based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and Jan. 16, the organization now says a mid-range of at least 181,000 small business owners are also considering to close down or declare bankruptcy on top of last year’s numbers, adding up to 239,000 in total.
But should things remain unchanged, by the end of this year, closures could rise up to 280,117 across Canada. In Manitoba, that’s roughly 6,645 storefronts — with even the lowest estimates suggesting at least six per cent (5,601 businesses) will be lost.
That means more than 2.4 million people will likely be out of work — a staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs, or just about one in seven of all employment in Canada.
“They’re all very scary figures,” said Jonathan Alward, Prairies director for CFIB. “I really, truly hope we’re wrong on this. But it just doesn’t seem like we are, at least not right now.
“In an ordinary time, businesses would never want to be rescued with help from the government. But right now, I think creating pathways for safe openings by tax breaks, subsidies and other strategies to provide easier access is just as important for communities themselves than the business owners.”
Fletcher Baragar is an economics professor at the University of Manitoba who’s extensively researched how bankruptcies and bailouts affect societies and communities. He said he’s never seen more closures than this past year — not during the 2008-09 financial crisis, or even in his studies of recessions that occurred before the turn of the millennium.
“It’s a common thing to see exits and entries all the time in the market — healthy changes are the whole point of an entrepreneurial marketplace,” said Baragar. “But when that business change happens so rapidly, it certainly affects everything else… and it’s incredibly uneven in the type of areas and sectors it affects when some benefit from it and others die out of it.”
Hospitality and arts are two of the hardest-hit sectors, CFIB data indicates, with 33 per cent and 28 per cent of businesses in those sectors expected to close up shop. In the retail sector, it’s 15 per cent of companies.
At the other end of the spectrum, agriculture and natural resources are the lowest-impacted of any sector — still, with six per cent of businesses expected to close. Next is construction, at nine per cent, and manufacturing, at 12 per cent.
Provincial breakdowns show Newfoundland and Labrador will see the most severe impact, with a high-end estimate of 28 per cent of all businesses to close. That’s followed by Alberta at 25 per cent and Ontario at 24. Manitoba is right in the middle at 18 per cent, and Nova Scotia is least-impacted at 14 per cent.
That’s why business owners have begun to ask themselves tough questions, said Baragar, about whether it’s even worth opening up when they’re allowed to and if it’s something they can afford financially.
“Of the ones remaining, I think there’s going to be a lot more consolidation and amalgamation internationally and from one side of the country to the next,” he said. “And that means fewer buying and service options for quite literally everything — restaurants, clothing, you name it.”
Sylvain Charlebois, a leading supply chain expert, said these shifts will also cause city demographics themselves to change. Pointing to recent Starbucks coffee shop closures, he said food companies are making note of this, and will “always go where the money is” — which he doesn’t believe is in urban centres anymore.
“Of course, the cost of city dwelling is a cruel barrier anyway,” said Charlebois, who’s a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax. “More than that, there’s other reasons that are also important. When businesses close in areas where they were supposed to be forming villages or walkable communities, it impacts the kind of people that want to live in those cities and how much they actually spend. It’s a cycle.”
Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said that’s something he’s already seen with Osborne Village in Winnipeg before, when storefronts began to abruptly shut down a few years ago.
“We realized during that time, just how much businesses are more than businesses for livable communities — they’re really the fabric of what binds them together,” he said. “You couldn’t have Little Italy or Little India or even Sage Creek without the actual biz village concept thriving for those ethnographic neighbourhoods.”
Remillard said a continuous push is being made to get larger companies to headquarter in Winnipeg, “so that if and when acquisitions or mergers happen during devastating economic periods, we risk little when their main office is here.”
But as a policy expert, Bednar believes messaging from government has been a crucial part of what makes the future for urban business so frazzled. “It was so much easier just to tell everyone to move online and give them some subsidies to string along,” she said.
“Eventually, when this is finally over, what happens when we’re offline again? Can you actually market or promote tourism if you don’t have physical stores? It might be time to start changing how we’re thinking and talking about these things.”
Temur Durrani reports on the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for this Free Press reporting position comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.
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