Yesterday the Federal Reserve held its first FOMC meeting for the new year, and the new decade. Following the conclusion and the release of this month’s statement, it became immediately clear that there were no major changes to their current monetary policy. In fact, there were only a few words that were changed in this month’s statement when compared to the last FOMC statement.
As promised the Fed reemphasized that interest rates would be left alone. They also maintained that interest rates most likely will remain unchanged for the entire year.
Possibly one of the most noteworthy details to emerge from yesterday’s meeting came from comments made by Chairman Jerome Powell when he was asked about the accumulation of assets which began in September of last year. This was the first time the Federal Reserve began to enlarge their balance sheet since they ended their quantitative easing program (QE4). Since September the Fed has been purchasing treasury bills to the tune of $60 billion each month. Those purchases have now totaled roughly $200 billion.
The concern was that when the Federal Reserve decides to discontinue the monthly asset purchases that they could create undue volatility which occurred the last time the Fed unwound balance sheet purchases by monthly liquidation. The mistake made then was the predetermined course, was in essence on autopilot. Many analysts including myself believe that this action is very reminiscent of quantitative easing.
Chairman Powell walked a tight rope as he successfully debated the differences between then and now. First, he said that when the U.S. Central Bank ends its current balance sheet expansion it would do so gradually, and most importantly on no predefined course. He emphasized that recent purchases of treasury bills were simply maintaining solid liquidity as we continue our economic expansion.
Today gold closed fractionally higher and as of 4:30 PM EST is currently trading at $1570.30 which is a net increase of $1.90 on the day. April gold futures, which will become the next most active contract month once the February contract expires is currently fixed at $1577.60 which is a net gain of $1.60 on the day.
Even though February gold futures closed well off of the intraday high today ($1585), it has continued to trade above the support trendline which is created from the lows starting at $1532 and connecting them to subsequent higher lows.
Our technical studies continue to indicate resistance at $1594, with major resistance at $1613. Support is a moving target based upon the trendline we spoke about above. This trendline is visible in the attached chart shown as a blue dashed line.
For those who would like more information, simply use this link.
Wishing you as always, good trading,
CIBC profit falls 18% on higher costs, loan-loss provisions; hikes dividend – The Globe and Mail
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM-T reported an 18-per-cent drop in fiscal fourth-quarter profit and raised its dividend as the bank was hit by higher expenses and loan loss provisions.
The Toronto-based bank is the fourth major lender to report earnings for the quarter that ended Oct. 31, and the second to fall short of analysts’ profits estimate, along with National Bank of Canada. Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia both reported earnings that were ahead of expectations.
CIBC earned $1.19-billion, or $1.26 per share, in the fourth quarter. That compared with $1.44-billion, or $1.54 per share, a year earlier.
The bank’s results included several special charges, including a $91-million increase in legal provisions, a $37-million charge from consolidating its real estate portfolio, and $12-million of costs related to the bank’s acquisition of the credit card portfolio of retailer Costco in Canada.
Adjusted to exclude those items, CIBC said it earned $1.39 per share. That was far shy of analysts’ estimate of $1.72 per share, according to Refinitiv.
CIBC raised its quarterly dividend by two cents to 85 cents per share.
For the full fiscal year, CIBC’s profit fell 3 per cent to $6.2-billion.
In the fourth quarter, CIBC took $436-million of provisions for credit losses – the money banks set aside in case loans go bad. That was a significant increase from a year earlier, with $305-million of that total attributed to the bank’s personal and small business banking operations in Canada.
Some of the increase in provisions came from changes to the bank’s economic forecasts, which are more pessimistic. But CIBC also said it had higher write-offs and impaired balances in its retail portfolio.
Profit from Canadian personal and small business banking fell 21 per cent year over year to $471-million. Higher costs were a major factor, including expenses related to the Costco card portfolio acquisition, as well as higher employee compensation. Loan and deposit balances were up 10 per cent, but profit margins on loans fell five basis points from the previous quarter. (100 basis points equal one percentage point).
“CIBC had a big miss in the quarter and, while some of it related to higher provisions on performing loans, the bank’s domestic net interest margin contraction was disappointing,” said John Aiken, an analyst at Barclays Capital Inc., in a note to clients.
In the bank’s U.S. commercial banking and wealth management division, profit fell 37 per cent from a year ago, mainly driven by higher provisions for loan losses. Impaired loan balances were higher in the real estate and construction sector, as well as in oil and gas.
Profit from Canadian commercial banking and wealth was up modestly to $469-million, and capital markets profit was relatively unchanged year over year at $378-million.
DoorDash laying off 1,250 people, about 6% of its workforce – CBC News
DoorDash Inc. said on Wednesday it was cutting about 1,250 jobs, or six per cent of its total workforce, as the food-delivery company looks to keep a lid on costs to cope with a slowdown in demand.
DoorDash went on a hiring spree to cater to a flood of orders from people stuck at home during the height of the pandemic, but a sudden drop in demand from inflation-wary customers has left the company grappling with ballooning costs.
“We were not as rigorous as we should have been in managing our team growth … That’s on me. As a result, operating expenses grew quickly,” chief executive Tony Xu said in a memo to employees that was posted on the company’s website.
“Given how quickly we hired, our operating expenses — if left unabated — would continue to outgrow our revenue.”
DoorDash has about 20,000 employees worldwide, and “some of the affected employees are based in Canada,” the company told CBC News in a statement, without elaborating.
The company joins a growing list of technology firms, including Amazon, Facebook-owner Meta, Twitter, Shopify and others that have laid off thousands of employees in recent weeks as they brace for a potential economic downturn.
British food delivery company Deliveroo said in late October that sales growth would be at the lower end of its previous forecast. In September, Winnipeg-based food delivery app SkipTheDishes laid off 350 workers.
Earlier this month, DoorDash reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly net loss of $295 million US, raising questions about the growth prospect of delivery firms as economies reopen. The company’s shares have lost two thirds of their value this year.
“Greater emphasis on its cost structure is a welcoming sign, especially given the potential for consumer spending to deteriorate faster than expected,” said Angelo Zino, analyst at CFRA Research.
'I didn't ever try to commit fraud on anyone,' FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried says – CBC News
The man at the centre of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX made his first public appearance since the saga began, telling a New York audience on Wednesday that it was never his intention to commit fraud.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of FTX, appeared at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit on Wednesday, for an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin about what happened to cause his cryptocurrency firm to collapse into bankruptcy earlier this month.
The firm, once worth more than $32 billion US, entered bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11 after a whirlwind series of days that saw it go from trying to solve a liquidity crunch by merging with a rival, to having that deal fall apart and succumbing to a run on the bank as traders pulled out $6 billion in funds within three days.
Filings show the company owes almost $10 billion to various creditors, and at least $1 billion worth of customer deposits are missing.
Among numerous allegations, customer deposits at FTX appear to have been used as capital and collateral for loans for an investment firm called Alameda affiliated with him — an allegation that amounts to fraud, and one that he pushed back against strongly.
“I didn’t ever try to commit fraud on anyone,” he told Sorkin, “I didn’t knowingly co-mingle funds.”
While he acknowledged mistakes were made, Bankman-Fried rejected repeated attempts to characterize what happened at his cryptocurrency firm as being in any way malicious or illegal.
“I am deeply sorry about what happened,” he said. “I was excited about the prospects of FTX a month ago, I saw it as a thriving, growing business.”
Bankman-Fried has seen his personal net worth evaporate in the debacle, from more than $26 billion a year ago to “close to nothing” today — and he insisted that he doesn’t have any of the money that has vanished.
“I don’t have any hidden funds here. Everything I have, I am disclosing,” he said.
“I’m down to one working credit card … [and] hundreds of dollars or something like that, in a bank account.”
He says, to his knowledge, there are enough funds at FTX to give users their money. But his hands are tied since he no longer has a formal role at the company since it entered bankruptcy proceedings.
“I believe that withdrawals could be opened up today and everyone could be made whole,” he said.
John Jay Ray III, the restructuring expert who has been handling FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings has said in legal filings that Bankman-Fried appears to have treated the company as his “personal fiefdom” and has called the fiasco a “complete failure of corporate controls.”
Bankman-Fried has been active on Twitter since the debacle first started, but his appearance on Wednesday marks his first public appearance since the saga began.
There was speculation he was going to appear in person, but ultimately he appeared via video link from the Bahamas, where he lives.
Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried if he did not appear in person because he is worried about being within the reach of U.S. agencies including the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, both of which are probing what happened at FTX.
Bankman-Fried appeared to side-step that question, remarking instead that, to his knowledge, he can still legally enter the U.S.
“I’ve seen a lot of the hearings that have been happening [and] would not be surprised if some time I am out there talking about what happened,” he said, adding that he “does not personally think” he has any criminal liability to worry about.
That being said, he said his legal team is “very much not” supportive of his decision to appear at the summit and speak publicly about what happened at FTX. His lawyers advice was “to recede into a hole,” he joked.
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