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Union urging AIMCo to adopt path toward net-zero investment strategy – Benefits Canada



“Pensions are some of the most hard-fought gains that working people have ever won,” said James Sullivan, the AUPE’s environmental committee chair, in the release. “It’s up to us to make sure that those pensions are stable. Quantifying climate risk would help achieve that.”

Read: AIMCo won’t divest from hydrocarbons, says CEO

In an emailed statement to Benefits Canada, the AIMCo said it acknowledges that climate change is an urgent and compelling matter requiring immediate action from all players. “As Alberta’s investment manager, we recognize the business imperative of integrating climate change into our investment processes, to both enhance and protect our clients’ risk-adjusted investment returns over an extended time horizon.

“We believe that large-scale, long-term investors like AIMCo have an essential role to play in the coming energy transition. AIMCo has been measuring its carbon footprint since 2016, a process that has since advanced to include a portion of all major asset classes and is committed to engaging with our clients to determine a climate action plan and go-forward strategy that most closely aligns with their objectives.”

The statement also pointed to the AIMCo’s recent responsible investing report, in which the government-owned pension investment manager outlined plans to address a range of environmental, social and governance issues, from integrating climate risk to building a more diverse workforce to advancing its risk governance. “We strive to adopt best-in-class ESG-integration strategies across asset classes and investment processes to better identify our ongoing assessment of risk and value,” read the statement.

Read: AIMCo focusing on all three legs of ESG stool: report

Additionally, the AIMCo said it’s consulting with its pension fund clients, including the Alberta Public Service Pension Plan and the Local Authorities Pension Plan to arrive at a climate action plan and go-forward strategy. Plan members of the Alberta PSPP and the LAPP are members of the AUPE.

“LAPP Corporation has an ongoing, almost daily dialogue with AIMCo on responsible investing, with climate change and environmental risk factors high on the list of investment considerations,” said Chris Brown, president and chief executive officer of the LAPP Corp., in an emailed statement to Benefits Canada. “While AIMCo works continuously to update and integrate its oversight of ESG factors, our corporation and our sponsor board are refining our policies and processes as well, to ensure we are providing direction to AIMCo that reflects the expectations of our sponsors.”

The AUPE has a seat on the LAPP’s sponsor board, which has identified climate change as a “primary risk” in the plan’s long-term funding policy, said Brown. For its part, the LAPP Corp.’s board of directors is currently working to develop the terms of an updated responsible investment policy for the LAPP’s funds, which will review best practices around climate risk measures and carbon capture metrics.

Read: Net-zero transition offering opportunities for Canadian pension sector: report

“AIMCo has announced it will consider viable options to decrease the portfolio’s emissions trajectory over time,” said Brown. “After consulting with its clients, it expects to update its plan regarding implementation of climate-related targets early next year.”

Other resolutions adopted by the union include a just transition toward net zero for workers and a proposal for a green, new deal that includes providing union jobs through an expanded public sector; modernizing public infrastructure to adapt to climate change; recognizing Indigenous rights and treaties; and building a society that is ecologically sustainable and socially fair.

The AUPE’s vote comes on the heels of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in Glasgow last month, where world leaders came together to map out a coordinated response to the global climate crisis.

Read: COP26 highlighting importance of ESG, disclosure for institutional investors

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Pandemic darlings face the boot as investors eye return to normal life



Stay-at-home market darling Netflix slumped on Friday, joining a broad decline in shares of other pandemic favourites this week as investors priced in expectations for a return to normal life with more countries gradually relaxing COVID restrictions.

The selloff, which began after Netflix and Peloton posted disappointing quarterly earnings, spread to the wider stay-at-home sector as analysts judged the new Omicron coronavirus variant will not deliver the same economic headwinds seen in the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.

“This a confirmation that the economy is gradually moving towards some sort of normalisation,” said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.

France will ease work-from-home rules from early February and allow nightclubs to reopen two weeks later, while Britain’s business minister said people should get back to the office to benefit from in-person collaboration.

“With a return to the office and travel lanes opening, darlings of the WFH (work from home) thematic are reflecting the growing reality that the world is moving slowly but with certainty towards a new normalcy,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners in Singapore.

Netflix tumbled nearly 25% after it forecast new subscriber growth in the first quarter would be less than half of analysts’ predictions.

The stock, a component of the elite FAANG group, was on track for its worst day in nearly nine-and-a-half years following rare rating downgrades from Wall Street analysts.

“It is hard to have confidence that Netflix will return to the historical +26.5 million net subscriber add run rate post the 2022 slowdown,” MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said.

“The decay rate on streaming content is incredibly rapid. ‘Squid Game?’ That’s so last quarter. ‘The Witcher?’ Done on New Year’s Eve!”

Exercise bike maker Peloton lost nearly a quarter of its value on Thursday, leading at least nine brokerages to cut their price target on the stock.

The selloff erased nearly $2.5 billion from its market value after its CEO said the company was reviewing the size of its workforce and “resetting” production levels, though it denied the company was temporarily halting production.

Peloton’s shares were up nearly 5% on Friday morning, bouncing back somewhat from a 23.9% drop on Thursday, its biggest one-day percentage decline since Nov. 5.


Both companies were part of a group, along with others such as Zoom and Docusign whose shares soared in 2020, and in some cases 2021 as well, as people around the world were forced to stay at home in the face of the coronavirus.

However, thanks to vaccine rollouts and the spread of the less severe Omicron strain of COVID-19, life is returning to normal in many countries, leaving companies like Netflix and Peloton struggling to sustain high sales figures.

According to data from S3 Partners, short-sellers doubled their profits by betting against Peloton in 2021, the third best returning U.S. short.

Direxion’s Work from Home ETF has fallen more than 9% in first three weeks of the year, compared to a 6% drop in the fall of the broader U.S. stock market. Blackrock‘s virtual work and life multisector ETF has weakened more than 8% this year.

In Europe, lockdown winners are also going through a rough patch as rising bond yields pressurise growth and tech stocks.

Online British supermarket group Ocado, Germany’s meal-kit delivery firm HelloFresh and food delivery company Delivery Hero which emerged as European stay-at-home champions in the early days of the pandemic have underperformed the pan-European STOXX 600 so far in 2022.

(Reporting by Alun John and Julien Ponthus; Additional reporting by Nivedita Balu, Anisha Sircar and Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Saikat Chatterjee, Alison Williams and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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Bitcoin falls 9.3% to $36,955



Bitcoin dropped 9.28% to $36,955.03 at 22:02 GMT on Friday, losing $3,781.02 from its previous close.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, is up 2.4% from the year’s low of $36,146.42.

Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, dropped 12.27% to $2,631.35 on Friday, losing $368.18 from its previous close.


(Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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Oil, gas investment forecast to rise 22% in Canada – Investment Executive



It’s positive news for an industry that has now essentially recovered to its pre-pandemic levels, after a disastrous 2020 that saw oil prices collapse due to the impact of Covid-19 on global demand.

But CAPP president Tim McMillan pointed out that in spite of the fact that oil prices are at seven-year highs and companies are recording record cash flows, capital investment remains well below what it was during the industry’s boom years. In 2014, for example, capital investment in the Canadian oilpatch hit an all-time record high of $81 billion, capturing 10% per cent of total global upstream natural gas and oil investment.

“Today we’re at $32 billion, and we’re only capturing about six% of global investment,” McMillan said. “We’ve lost ground to other oil and gas producers, which I think is problematic for a lot of reasons . . . and it leaves billions of dollars of investment that is going somewhere else, and not to Canada.”

Investment in conventional oil and natural gas is forecast at $21.2 billion in 2022, according to CAPP, while growth in oilsands investment is expected to increase 33% to $11.6 billion this year.

Alberta is expected to lead all provinces in overall oil and gas capital spending, with upstream investment expected to increase 24% to $24.5 billion in 2022. Over 80% of the industry’s new capital spending this year will be focused in Alberta, representing an additional $4.8 billion of investment into the province compared with 2021, according to CAPP.

While the 2022 forecast numbers are good news for the Canadian economy, McMillan said, it’s a problem that companies aren’t willing to invest in this country’s industry at the level they once did.

He said investors have been put off by Canada’s record of cancelled pipeline projects, regulatory hurdles and negative government policy signals, and many now see Canada as a “difficult place to invest.”

However, Rory Johnston, managing director and market economist at Toronto-based Price Street Inc., said laying the decline in the industry’s capital spending at the feet of the federal government is overly simplistic.

He added while current “rip-roaring, amazing” cash flows and a period of sustained high oil prices will certainly give some producers the appetite to invest this year, Johnston said, it will likely be on a project-by-project basis and certainly on a smaller scale than the major oilsands expansions of a decade ago.

“You have global macro trends across the entire industry that have begun to favour smaller, fast-cycle investment projects – and most oilsands projects are literally the polar opposite of that,” he said.

One reason capital spending isn’t likely to return to boom time levels is because companies have become much more cost-efficient after surviving a string of lean years. And that’s not a bad thing, Johnston said.

“The decade of capex boom out west was tremendously beneficial for Canada and Albertans, but it also caused tremendous cost inflation,” he said.

“While what we’re seeing right now is not as construction-heavy and not as employment-heavy – and those are two very, very large downsides – the upside is that you’re much more competitive in a much more competitive oil market,” Johnston said.

In a report released this week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) hiked its oil demand growth forecast for the coming year by 200,000 barrels a day, to 3.3 million barrels a day.

According to the IEA, global oil demand will exceed pre-pandemic levels this year due to growing Covid-19 immunization rates and the fact that the new Omicron variant hasn’t proved severe enough to force a return to strict lockdown measures.

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