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This IPO is a measure of China's growing strength – CNN

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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
What’s happening: In finance and tech, China’s clout is growing just as its economy recovers from the pandemic in better shape than other big players.
Ant is the crown jewel of Jack Ma’s tech empire, best known for its Alipay app that has more than 730 million monthly active users. On Tuesday, it’s expected to announce that it will surpass the $29.4 billion Saudi Aramco’s float raised last December by selling shares both in Hong Kong and on Shanghai’s Star Market, China’s answer to the Nasdaq.
For Beijing, which wants to encourage more seasoned investors to park their money in Chinese stocks and more Chinese tech companies to list their shares at home, it’s poised to be a huge win.
“The Chinese government is more than happy to host a national champion on one of its major capital markets domestically at a time when many Chinese companies are facing greater political headwinds overseas,” Xiaomeng Lu, senior geotechnology analyst at Eurasia Group, told me.
Lu said Beijing has been trying to send a message to China’s top tech companies: “This is a difficult time, and we have your back.”
A growing number of firms are listening as US-China tensions ramp up. There’s little clarity on whether the presidential election in November will reset the relationship.
US threats and restrictions against Chinese tech companies like TikTok and WeChat send a warning. On Wall Street, Chinese firms also face additional scrutiny. Luckin Coffee was kicked off the Nasdaq following the disclosure of major accounting irregularities. US lawmakers, government agencies and stock exchanges have since taken steps aimed at limiting Beijing’s access to America’s vast capital markets.
“Chinese companies consider repatriation both to please [Beijing] and to insulate themselves from potential US action,” Brock Silvers, chief investment officer at Kaiyuan Capital and former chief investment officer at Adamas Asset Management, told me.
In such an environment, a company like Ant has good reason to pursue a listing at home. Over the long term, that should be to China’s benefit.
Ant’s decision to opt for the Star Market, a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, will give it a huge boost in legitimacy and value, Lu said, noting that the massive IPO will push the market capitalization of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which includes the Star board, close to that of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Silvers points out that the listing also gives China “greater control over an important company in a cutting edge sector.”
Watch this space: China’s markets are still “fairly immature” and “highly volatile,” per Lu. But a listing like Ant’s will certainly help raise their profile.

Can Big Tech keep up its winning streak?

Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) now account for 23% of the market value of the S&P 500 — so you can bet that when all five companies report earnings this week, investors will be paying close attention.
In the second quarter, Big Tech served up a solid rebuttal to those who fear shares in these firms are overvalued.
See here: Amazon, which has benefited from surging demand for deliveries, posted quarterly revenue of $88.9 billion, a 40% increase from the prior year and a staggering $8 billion more than Wall Street expected.
Companies like Amazon and Microsoft likely maintained their momentum between July and September as work from home boosted demand for products like cloud services. The consensus on the Street is that Amazon’s revenue will rise 32% compared to the same period in 2019.
But as pressure to regulate tech companies grows in Washington, strong results cut both ways.
Last week, the Trump administration sued Google in the largest antitrust case against a tech company in more than two decades. The Justice Department made sweeping allegations that Google has stifled competition to maintain its powerful position in the marketplace for online search and advertising.
For now, Wall Street views the risk that Washington could break up Big Tech companies as fairly limited. Growing financial clout, however, could put a larger target on these companies’ backs.
Monday: New US home sales; Germany business climate; Hasbro earnings
Tuesday: Ant Group prices IPO; US consumer confidence; Microsoft, 3M (MMM), BP (BP), Caterpillar (CAT), Eli Lilly (LLY), Merck (MKGAF), Pfizer (PFE) and Xerox (XRX) earnings
Wednesday: Bank of Canada meeting; Boeing (BA), Dine Brands (DIN), GE (GE), Mastercard (MA), UPS (UPS), Beyond Meat (BYND), Etsy (ETSY), Ford (F), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Pinterest (PINS) and Visa (V) earnings
Thursday: US third quarter GDP; Japan consumer confidence; Initial US jobless claims; European Central Bank meeting; Alibaba (BABA), Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), Comcast (CCZ), Dunkin (DNKN), Kellogg (K), Kraft Heinz (KHC), Moderna (MRNA), Molson Coors (TAP), Spotify (SPOT), Yum! Brands (YUM), Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Starbucks (SBUX) and Twitter (TWTR) earnings
Friday: European Union third quarter GDP; US personal income and spending; Chevron (CVX), ExxonMobil (XOM) and Honeywell (HON) earnings

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3 TSX Stocks to Buy in December for High Returns – The Motley Fool Canada

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This year has been a roller-coaster ride for investors, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index falling over 35% in March and recovering strongly to recoup most of its losses. The encouraging announcements on vaccine development supported the rally last month. Meanwhile, the rising COVID-19 cases and a slowdown in the economic recovery are a cause of concerns. Amid this uncertain outlook, here are three top TSX stocks to buy right now for superior gains.

Suncor Energy

Amid the hope of life returning to pre-pandemic ways, West Texas Intermediate (or WTI) crude oil rose above $45 per barrel. The increase in oil prices brought some relief to the energy sector, including Suncor Energy (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU). The company’s stock rose 38.2% last month. However, it is still trading over 51% lower for this year.

Yesterday, Suncor Energy provided its management’s guidance on the production levels and capital expenditure for 2021. The management expects its overall average production to come in the range of 740,000 to 780,000 barrels per day, representing a 10% growth from the mid-point of last year’s guidance. Further, the company has taken several costing initiatives in the last few years. The management hopes these initiatives to reduce its operating and capital expenses significantly in 2021.

The management expects its downstream utilization rate to improve by 6% to 93%. With the oil demand expected to rise next year, I am bullish on Suncor Energy.

BlackBerry

Technology companies have witnessed a strong run this year amid the increased demands for their products and services due to digitization. However, BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB) was under pressure due to its exposure to the automotive industry, which had witnessed a significant disruption amid the pandemic-infused shutdown. However, last month, the company’s stock rose close to 28% amid the vaccine hope.

In May, the company had launched its Spark Suite platform, which offers cybersecurity and endpoint management options to enterprises. The platform has helped the company acquire many blue-chip clients. It had also launched its Guard platform in the Managed Detect and Respond Services (MDR) segment in July, which could reach $2 billion by 2024 as per Frost & Sullivan’s projections.

Further, the company’s BTS (BlackBerry Technology Solutions) segment, which offers a broad portfolio of functional safety-certified and secure software for vehicles, showed improvement in the August ending quarter amid the resumption of production. Meanwhile, the management expects its BTS business to return to pre-pandemic levels early next year. Despite its healthy growth prospects, the company is trading at over 8% lower for this year, providing an excellent buying opportunity.

Nuvei

My third pick would an electronic payment-processing company, Nuvei (TSX:NVEI), which has returned over 75% since its IPO in September. It offers payment technology and intelligence services to around 50,000 customers operating across 200 markets with 150 currencies. The company has significant exposure to the iGaming and sports betting industries.

After getting the approval for sports betting in Colorado and Indiana, it recently received the authorization to operate in West Virginia. Currently, 17 U.S. states have legalized online sports betting, which several other states are working on the legalization of sports betting. So, the company has significant scope for expansion.

Further, Nuvei has developed proprietary platforms to support high-growth mobile and e-commerce markets, which could grow at around 13% annually for the next four years. So, given its high growth potential, the company could deliver multi-fold returns over the long run.


The Motley Fool recommends BlackBerry and BlackBerry. Fool contributor Rajiv Nanjapla has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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Trucks and SUVs with remote starters top most-stolen list, IBC says – CBC.ca

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Newer SUVs and trucks with remote starters top the list of the most often stolen vehicles in Canada, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said Wednesday.

The group that represents insurance companies across the country said theft from your own driveway using widely available electronic tools is on the rise across the country, as thieves respond to demand from high-end buyers overseas and street racers here at home.

The four-door 2018 Honda CRV with all-wheel drive holds the ignominious title of being the most stolen vehicle in Canada this year, with 350 thefts reported by insurers across the country — nearly one per day. When the 2017 and 2019 models are included in the tally, there were 758 stolen — that’s more than two per day.

Here’s the rest of the list:

There is wide variety across the country, too. In Alberta, all of the most-stolen vehicles are versions of pickup trucks: F150s and F350s from Ford, and Dodge Rams.

“These trucks are attractive to thieves, and oil and gas companies have used them almost exclusively, which has brought a disproportionately high amount of them to the province,” the IBC said.

In Ontario, however, the list is mostly high-end SUVs from Toyota, Honda and Lexus. Some of those get sold abroad, but many are chopped up for parts, the IBC said. 

Atlantic Canada had a mix of both, with popular sedans such as the Honda Accord and Chevrolet Cruz mixed in. The most stolen vehicle in Atlantic Canada was the Chevrolet Silverado, which is typically targeted for export by criminal groups.

Drivers often worry about something like their window being smashed and their car being stolen that way. But cheap and plentiful tech tools make it far easier to steal a car today. 

Bryan Gast, national director of investigative services at IBC, said in an interview with CBC News that the biggest trend he’s seeing this year is what’s known as a “relay attack.”

“That means they’re acquiring your signal from your key fob, cloning your key fob and [then] have the ability to start your vehicle without ever having the original key fob,” he said.

“It’s as simple as walking to your front door, seeing if they’re able to capture a signal of a key fob that might be inside. They don’t go anywhere in your house. They’re capturing it from the outside. And they have the ability to technologically clone the device and have the ability to start your car and drive off.”

New tech ‘makes it easy for the criminal’

The best tool to fight electronic theft, Gast says, is to not do what most people do — come into their house and leave their keys in a bowl or some other exposed place, just behind the front door. He recommends instead getting a metallic box for the car keys, one that blocks radio frequencies.

A suspect is seen using a radio frequency amplifier, which boosts the signal emitting from this vehicle’s fob located just inside the front door of the house. (Toronto Police Service)

“If you put it in a box, it doesn’t emit the radio frequency. Basically, it is in a protective box or a pouch and [criminals] don’t have the ability to capture that key fob signal.”

Cars manufactured since 2008 have mandated some sort of car-mobilizing technology built into them, and that has changed the trends in car theft ever since, Gast says.

“A lot of the time, as people leave the key fobs in their vehicle, that’s where they keep it. They make it easy to hop in, push the button to start and off they go. But it also makes it easy for the criminal, too.”

There’s another built-in vulnerability in something many drivers do as a precaution: when in a parking lot, they double-check their car is locked by hitting the key fob.

But a thief in the area with the right technology can clone the fob from that.

“You’re emitting that frequency, which can also be captured,” Gast said.

A lot of the most-stolen vehicles are higher-end, expensive and large cars that can be hard to acquire outside North America, which is why Gast says a big motivator for theft isn’t a criminal looking for a joy ride or to sell it locally. The thief often has a specific request for a specific vehicle and then sets about finding it.

Convenient technology is just making it easier, such that currently, a car is stolen somewhere in Canada every six minutes.

Theft on the rise in COVID

While COVID-19 has led to more cars being parked due to people working from home, it has also led to an increase in one type of car theft, Gast says. Namely, people looking for specific parts and vehicles to be used in street racing events and other reckless driving behaviour.

“The problem is stealing parts for some of these modified vehicles in the vehicles themselves,” he said. “Law enforcement definitely has their hands full.”

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RBC beats Q4 expectations as capital markets profit soars 44% – BNN

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Royal Bank of Canada surpassed profit expectations in the fourth quarter amid a surge in earnings from its trading and investment banking operations that helped mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the lender’s other branches.

The bank’s total net income inched up one per cent year-over-year to $3.25 billion in the three months ending Oct. 31. On an adjusted basis, RBC said Wednesday it earned $2.27 per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting $2.04 in profit per share. For the year, RBC’s net income fell 11 per cent to $11.44 billion.

The clear-cut star performer in the quarter was RBC’s capital markets division, where profit soared 44 per cent to $840 million. In a release, RBC attributed the growth to favourable market conditions and an increase in debt and equity offerings that boosted its investment banking team.

Credit quality also improved for RBC in the quarter, as the bank set aside $427 million for loans that could go bad, compared to $675 million in the prior quarter and $499 million in provisions a year earlier.

“While RBC came in ahead of consensus expectations, the amount can be chalked up to lower than expected provisions for credit losses,” wrote Barclays Capital Analyst John Aiken in a report to clients.

“While we do not believe that the beat, driven by provisions, will generate much outperformance, there is very little to complain about in RBC’s earnings and we believe that the fourth-quarter’s results more than justify supporting its valuation,” added Aiken, who has an overweight rating on RBC’s shares, with a $112.00 per-share price target.

RBC’s core personal and commercial (P&C) banking operations saw profit fall seven per cent to $1.5 billion in the quarter. Similar to the banks that reported on Tuesday, RBC noted the impact of lower interest rates as central banks have attempted to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic by easing borrowing costs. Higher technology costs also weighed on RBC’s P&C earnings in the period.

Profit from wealth management was down 25 per cent year-over-year, mostly due to a substantial gain from an asset sale that boosted the division a year earlier.

“Looking ahead, while it is difficult to predict how the coming year will unfold, RBC has the strength, stability and operational resilience to face a range of scenarios, and to continue creating long-term sustainable value,” said RBC CEO Dave McKay in a release.

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