TORONTO — TD Bank Group topped expectations as it reported its first-quarter profit rose 10 per cent compared with a year ago.
Yet the bank’s Toronto-listed shares fell nearly 1.7 per cent to close at $78.07 apiece on Thursday, after fellow Canadian banks this week also reported better-than-expected earnings growth.
“TD did not benefit from capital markets, wealth management and cost controls to the same degree as its peers,” wrote Barclays analyst John Aiken in a research note.
“What stood out in the quarter from our perspective was the ongoing struggles in its U.S. retail banking platform.”
Profits fell in TD’s U.S. retail business, after Charles Schwab Corp. finished its acquisition of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. in October. TD said Schwab contributed $209 million in earnings, compared with the contribution of $201 million from TD Ameritrade in the first quarter last year.
TD’s U.S. business is closing 82 branches, said Greg Braca, head of TD’s U.S. banking, as it looks to “optimize” redundant locations.
Climbing premiums, insurance sales and uptake in digital term life applications lifted insurance profits by 22 per cent, the bank said.
Teri Currie, the head of TD’s Canadian personal banking, said TD has been investing in its insurance business, focusing on unique aspects like collision centres for auto insurance borrowers.
“As an online insurer we have, I think, the business model, capabilities and customer experience for the future. And in Q1, we had record earnings in that business,” said Currie.
TD said its wealth management business’s profits rose 55 per cent in Canada amid higher transaction and fee-based revenue, while there were also strong mortgage originations and chequing account growth.
“On the wealth side there was strength across the board, and we did have the highest wealth asset levels on record,” said Currie. “We’ve been adding advisors for wealth… to help our customers who are often, right now, sitting on more liquidity than they had planned for.”
Overall, TD earned net income of $3.28 billion or $1.77 per diluted share for the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from $2.99 billion or $1.61 per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue totalled $10.81 billion, up from $10.61 billion.
On an adjusted basis, TD says it earned $1.83 per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of $1.66 per diluted share a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.49 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.
Provisions for credit losses amounted to $313 million, down from $919 million a year earlier.
“While TD did come in well ahead of expectations, the entire quantum of the beat can essentially be chalked up to lower than expected provisions,” Aiken wrote.
Currie said that customers have been paying down credit cards amid COVID-19 lockdowns, and that January tends to be a slow month for the credit card business.
The bank has a split of customers focused on travel and luxury cards and cash back and everyday spending cards, and Currie said TD is well-positioned for an economic rebound in its partnerships with Amazon and Air Canada, and a presence in the buy-now, pay-later market.
TD chief executive Bharat Masrani in a statement that the bank has been investing in training for thousands of workers during the pandemic.
“(We) also continue to work with governments to facilitate access to relief programs and introduce new initiatives to help those most impacted by the pandemic,” Masrani said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.
Companies in this story: (TSX:TD)
Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press
Robinhood Flirts With Worst Debut Ever for IPO of Its Size – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Robinhood Markets Inc. wanted to make history with its initial public offering, and now it might — for the wrong reason.
Shares in the broker behind the meme-stock revolution fell as much as 12% below the IPO price in the company’s first trading session. That puts the stock in the running to rank as the worst debut on record among U.S. firms that raised as much cash as Robinhood or more, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Shares rebounded and were last trading 1% lower at $37.52 mid-afternoon in New York.
Robinhood must finish Thursday’s session at $34.90 or higher, or else it will replace the 2007 IPO by another brokerage, MF Global Holdings Ltd., as the worst debut among qualifying firms. MF Global ended its first day down 8.2%.
Read more: Robinhood Loses More Ground in Trading Debut After Muted IPO
The stock opened at the $38 initial public offering price. For an IPO of Robinhood’s size and larger, that’s the weakest opening trade since Uber Technologies Inc. in May of 2019 among U.S. firms. Uber finished its debut session down 7.6%.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Google and Facebook will require U.S. workers to be vaccinated to return to the office – CBC.ca
Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened.
The more highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Google’s announcement Wednesday was shortly followed by one from Facebook, which also said it will make vaccines mandatory for U.S. employees who work in offices. Exceptions will be made for medical and other reasons.
“With regards to our Canadian offices, we don’t have specifics to share yet,” a spokesperson for Facebook told CBC News. “We will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves.”
In an email sent to Google’s more than 130,000 employees worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1.
The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.
“This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it,” Pichai wrote.
Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters and other U.S. offices, before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where Google operates.
‘The stuff that needs to be done’
Google has extensive operations in Canada, but the company did not immediately reply to a request for comment as to when such a policy may be implemented for its Canadian work force. Pichai’s letter, however, makes it clear that it is not just a U.S. policy.
“We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months,” he said.
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Public health experts are lauding the move.
“This is the stuff that needs to be done, because otherwise we are endangering workers and their families,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and a former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore.
“It is not fair to parents to be expected to come back to work and sit shoulder-to-shoulder with unvaccinated people who could be carrying a potentially deadly virus.”
Because children under the age of 12 aren’t currently eligible to be vaccinated, parents can bring the virus home to them from the office if they are around unvaccinated colleagues, Wen said.
Various government agencies already have announced demands for all their employees to be vaccinated, but the corporate world so far has been taking a more measured approach, even though most lawyers believe the mandates are legal.
Most employers hesitant to require vaccines
Delta and United airlines are requiring new employees to show proof of vaccination. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are requiring their employees to disclose their vaccination status, but are not requiring staffers to be vaccinated.
Less than 10 per cent of employers have said they intend to require all employees to be vaccinated, based on periodic surveys by the research firm Gartner.
While other major technology companies may follow suit now that Google and Facebook have taken stands on vaccines, employers in other industries still may be reluctant, predicted Brian Kropp, chief of research for Gartner’s human resources practice.
“Google is seen as being such a different kind of company that I think it’s going to take one or two more big employers to do something similar in terms of becoming a game changer,” Kropp said.
Google’s vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other “protected” reasons.
“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” Pichai explained.
The rapid rise in cases during the past month has prompted more public health officials to urge stricter measures to help overcome vaccine skepticism and misinformation.
It’s unclear how many of Google’s workers still haven’t been vaccinated. In his email, Pichai described the vaccination rate at the company as high.
Remote work still going strong
Google’s decision to extend its remote work follows a similar move by another technology powerhouse, Apple, which recently moved its return-to-office plans from September to October, too.
The delays by Apple and Google could influence other major employers to take similar precautions, given that the technology industry has been at the forefront of the shift to remote work triggered by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Even before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020, Google, Apple and many other prominent tech firms had been telling their employees to work from home.
WATCH | Business travel particularly slow to bounce back:
This marks the third time Google has pushed back the date for fully reopening its offices.
Google’s vaccine requirement also could embolden other employers to issue similar mandates to guard against outbreaks and minimize the need to wear masks in the office.
While most companies are planning to bring back their workers at least a few days a week, others in the tech industry have decided to let employees do their jobs from remote locations permanently.
TSX closes at all-time high, U.S. markets up after big jump in commodities prices – CBC.ca
Canada’s main stock exchange closed at an all-time high as commodities like gold and oil benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar on Thursday.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 81.38 points at 20,311.78.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 153.60 points at 35,084.53. The S&P 500 index was up 18.51 points at 4,419.15, while the Nasdaq composite was up 15.68 points at 14,778.26.
The Canadian dollar traded for 80.32 cents US compared with 79.58 cents US on Wednesday.
The September crude oil contract was up $1.23 US at $73.62 US per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up 9.2 cents at nearly $4.06 US per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was up $31.20 US at $1,835.80 US an ounce and the September copper contract was up nearly 4.2 cents at $4.52 US a pound.
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