Shares in a relatively small Canadian materials company have been surging after some misguided investors apparently thought they were getting a deal on buying stock in the world’s largest social media company.
Shares in Nova Scotia based Meta Materials gained 26 per cent in after-hours trading on the Nasdaq Thursday, after Facebook Inc. announced it would be changing its name to Meta.
More than 12 million shares in the Canadian company with the ticker symbol MMAT changed hands during the trading session. That’s more than double the usual daily volume.
Facebook shares trade under the symbol FB, but in December, in keeping with the company’s name change focusing on the metaverse, they will change their ticker symbol to MVRS.
The Canadian company is just the latest to become a beneficiary of a specific type of mistaken identity — one that sees investors pour money into one stock because they think it’s another.
In a research paper published by Rutgers University in 2019, Professor Vadim Balashov and co-author Andrei Nikiforov catalogued 254 instances of companies that saw fluctuations in their stock price related to events at another company that either had a similar name, or a similar stock ticker.
Cases of mistaken stock identity
“It happens more often than we think,” Balashov said in an interview with CBC News. “Something happens with a big company, and then there will be a reaction in the small company [but] nothing actually happens with the small company. It’s investors just buying and selling the wrong stocks.”
There’s a long list of companies who have had something similar happen to them. In 2013, when Twitter announces plans to go public, shares in a dormant electronics retailer called Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, Inc. spiked 1,400 per cent.
The phenomenon happens both ways. Balashov says in 2007 Graco Children’s Products Inc. announced a recall of some baby toys. Shares in an unrelated fluid-handling systems manufacturer named Graco Inc. fell six per cent at one point that day. “People were selling the wrong stock, so that does happen as well.”
More recently, Zoom Technologies, which makes electronic-communication products for mobile phones, jumped at the height of the pandemic when the world flocked to the similarly named video conferencing service.
And in December 2020, food delivery service DoorDash went public in an IPO. The same day, shares in a Florida door-making company with the ticker symbol of DOOR spiked.
Even pros and algorithms get mixed up
Balashov’s research says it’s not just ill-informed retail investors who get their wires crossed — the smart money at major institutions also make those mistakes all the time.
“Portfolio managers [at] mutual funds, hedge funds — they’re still people,” he said.
Even high-frequency trading algorithms participate, since some are programmed to buy shares that are moving in a certain way, regardless of what the underlying business is. So when algorithms “read” news and make trades based on stories they screen,”They also make mistakes, they also confuse companies,” Balashov says. “We’ve seen that,” he said.
It’s not even the first time a Canadian company named Meta has been swept up in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s interest in the metaverse. In 2017, his charitable foundation bought a Canadian tech company called Meta for an undisclosed sum.
According to iGan partners, the Toronto-based venture capital fund that was an early investor in Meta before selling the company to Zuckerberg, the company uses machine intelligence to help researchers stay on top of the latest academic research in their field.
Meta Materials — which designs materials used in a variety of industries, including consumer electronics and aerospace — seems more than happy to play along.
The company’s CEO George Palikaras appeared to get in on the fun Thursday, tweeting, “On behalf of @Metamaterialtec I would like to cordially welcome @Facebook to the #metaverse.”
On behalf of <a href=”https://twitter.com/Metamaterialtec?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Metamaterialtec</a> I would like to cordially welcome <a href=”https://twitter.com/Facebook?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Facebook</a> to the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/metaverse?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#metaverse</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBeyond?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GoBeyond</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%24MMAT&src=ctag&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>$MMAT</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/AR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#AR</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/VR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#VR</a> Meta, meet META® 🙂 <a href=”https://t.co/8gOgkYTvSl”>https://t.co/8gOgkYTvSl</a> <a href=”https://t.co/2i2PMKwzFA”>pic.twitter.com/2i2PMKwzFA</a>
When asked for comment, Palikaras pointed to a company announcement on Thursday about an upcoming online talk featuring executives from Meta Materials, Facebook’s virtual reality (VR) division and other companies.
Time will tell if the new owners of a suddenly popular materials company will come to regret their investment or not, but Balashov’s advice for how to avoid the problem in the first place is simple.
“Just double check what you are buying,” he said. “Double, triple check. It’s that simple.”
Ontario man who accidentally transferred $19000 to stranger's account left for weeks without solution – CTV Toronto
An Ontario man says he has been fighting to get back $19,000 for months after making a “simple mistake” while trying to transfer money between two of his bank accounts.
Milton, Ont. man Roberto Guardado said he had just purchased a new home and in September was trying to transfer money from his Bank of Montreal (BMO) account to his CIBC account so that he could make the down payment.
He said he called BMO to arrange the wire transfer, figuring it would be the easiest way to move the funds to CIBC.
Guardado said he has two bank accounts with CIBC, one for his personal savings and one for business. He was trying to transfer the money into the savings account.
He said while making the transfer, he correctly read out his CIBC savings account number, but mistakenly gave the transit number of his CIBC business account.
The five-digit transit number helps the bank identify which branch the money is being sent to.
The mistake resulted in Guardado’s money being sent to a stranger’s CIBC account, he said.
“I noticed the money went out but it didn’t go into my CIBC account,” Guardado told CTV News Toronto. “So I went home that day and I started looking on my computer and then I realized I gave the wrong transit number.”
He said he immediately called BMO, who told him they would launch an investigation.
Despite calling the bank every few days for an update, he said it took five weeks before he got any answers.
Guardado said he was told that his $19,000 was deposited into someone else’s account and the person had withdrawn it.
He said both BMO and CIBC told him nothing further could be done to retrieve his money.
“I couldn’t believe I made the mistake,” Guardado said.
Guardado said he called the police, but was also told that because he initiated the transfer there was nothing to investigate.
“The police told me that because it’s not considered fraud they can’t do anything about it,” he said.
‘JUST A SIMPLE MISTAKE’
Guardado said that while he fully admits the error was his fault, he doesn’t understand why the bank couldn’t help him quickly reverse the transfer.
“It was just a simple mistake and my money ended in someone else’s account,” Guardado said.
Because of the lost money, Guardado said he had no choice but to back out of the sale of his new home.
Shortly after CTV News Toronto contacted CIBC and BMO about Guardado’s situation, he said he received a call from the banks telling him his $19,000 would be returned to his account.
CIBC spokesperson Trish Tervit confirmed on Saturday they had resolved the issue with Guardado.
“It’s important that when transferring funds between financial institutions that the sender ensures the recipient account number is correct as misdirected funds may be difficult to recover,” Tervit added.
Guardado said CIBC told him this is a “unique situation” that is being resolved on a one-time basis.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from BMO said they had a “good conversation” with Guardado, but couldn’t comment further for privacy reasons.
While this stressful two-month chapter is now over for Guardado, he said banks “have to come up with a better system” for when people make mistakes.
“It was a stupid mistake on my part, but the process to fix it has to be easier,” he said. “I was so stressed that I lost weight and I couldn’t sleep. It was bothering me so much.”
Cargill beef-processing plant in High River, Alta. narrowly avoids strike action – CBC.ca
Employees at Cargill’s beef-processing plant in High River, Alta., have voted in favour of a new labour contract, narrowly avoiding strike action and a possible lockout.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 (UFCW), which represents workers at the plant, said Saturday that workers chose to accept the new contract offer, with 71 per cent voting in favour.
In a statement, UFCW said it was not an easy decision for staff at the plant, and called the contract vote a “bittersweet victory.”
Workers had raised safety concerns after a COVID-19 outbreak at the plant in 2020 affected more than 900 people. The outbreak, which forced Cargill to temporarily close the plant — one of Canada’s largest — is linked to three deaths.
The union says the new contract includes procedures to ensure worker health and safety, benefits, and new rights for sick employees.
After the two sides held talks on Tuesday, UFCW’s bargaining committee agreed to recommend the new offer to its members, Cargill spokesperson Daniel Sullivan said. Workers voted between Thursday and Saturday.
The union released parts of the proposed offer to CBC earlier in the week. The contract included $4,200 in retroactive pay for many Cargill union members; signing, holiday and COVID-19 bonuses; and a $5 wage increase.
UFCW had said the plant’s roughly 2,000 workers would strike Monday unless an agreement was reached.
The union also they brought in tents, floodlights and heaters for the possible strike, while nearby fields were levelled to provide parking.
Cargill had also planned to lock out all UFCW union staff as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, according to a statement from the company’s vice-president of labour relations, Tanya Teeter, which was obtained and made public by the union.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that is comprehensive, fair, and reflective of their commitment to excellence at Cargill and the critical role they play in feeding families across Canada,” Jarrod Gillig, the company’s president of business operations and supply chain for North America protein, wrote in a statement to CBC Saturday.
“As an organization that leads with our value to put people first, we truly believe this ratification is in the best interests of our employees and we are eager to move forward to build a stronger future – together.”
Reforms still needed: Union
“We also look forward to the citizens of Alberta joining with us in calling for reforms and restructuring in the meatpacking industry,” UFCW President Thomas Hesse wrote in a statement Saturday.
“Workers have been ripped off. Ranchers have been ripped off. And we’ve all been ripped off at the supermarket counter. Government failed to protect these workers, as well as failing to protect Alberta ranchers and consumers. Change must occur.”
The Cargill plant processes up to 4,500 head of cattle per day, accounting for about one-third of Canada’s beef.
Job growth in Canada exceeded expectations in November – Canada Immigration News
With employment soaring beyond predictions and unemployment dropping to near pre-pandemic levels, new labour force data suggest that Canada is on its way to a full economic recovery.
This past November, Canadian employers added 154,000 jobs to the economy. Last month’s growth exceeded analysts’ predictions of 38,000, which was closer to October levels. The gains pushed employment a full percentage point higher than pre-pandemic levels. Also, unemployment dropped to 6%, which is within 0.3 percentage points of what it was in February 2020.
Data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey reflect labour market conditions during the week of November 7 to 13. Proof-of-vaccination policies and other public health measures were largely similar to those in October.
Labour shortages persist despite employment gains
Hiring in November was driven by the private sector both in full-time and part-time positions. Even so, Canada is still experiencing labour shortages across sectors like hospitality, retail, and health care. In September, there were roughly one million job vacancies across the country.
Most government COVID-19 financial assistance measures ended in late October. Some analysts say it may have pushed people to accept job offers. Among these measures was the Canadian Recovery Benefit for individuals, which had been accused of discouraging people from returning to work. The Conference Board of Canada says the lack of wage growth was an even greater disincentive, especially in low-wage service industries.
“November’s job growth suggests the withdrawal of the [Canadian Recovery Benefit] may have pushed some workers back into employment though alone this will not be sufficient to address the significant labour shortages affecting several industries,” writes economist Liam Daly.
RBC economist Nathan Janzen wrote that despite the surge in employment there were still “exceptionally low” levels of workers in the service sectors.
“Employment in accommodation & food services edged up 5k from October but is still more than 200k below pre-shock levels,” Janzen wrote. “Travel and hospitality spending has been rebounding, but with the unemployment rate now substantially lower, it is increasingly clear that there are not enough remaining unemployed workers out there to re-fill all of those jobs any time soon.”
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