Canada’s main stock index opened higher Wednesday with energy stocks gaining and Dollarama shares advancing on the retailer’s latest earnings. Wall Street’s key indexes also started positive as jitters about the health of the banking sector continued to abate.
At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 143.74 points, or 0.73 per cent, at 19,801.27.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 172.29 points, or 0.53 per cent, at the open to 32,566.54.
The S&P 500 opened higher by 28.26 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 3,999.53, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 139.51 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 11,855.59 at the opening bell.
“Regardless if it is far too early to have a confident view of the implications of the current banking turmoil for the U.S. economy, nothing matters regarding stocks,” Stephen Innes, managing partner with SPI Asset Management, said in a note.
“After shifting from recession worries in January to sticky inflation fears in February and another sharp pivot contending with banking stress and credit crunch fears in March, the beat goes on as far as stocks are concerned.”
On Wednesday, Michael Barr, the Federal Reserve’s vice chair of supervision, appears again in Washington at a hearing looking at the regulatory response to recent failures in the U.S. regional banking sector. During an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Mr. Barr said he was first made aware of the interest rate risk-related issues at Silicon Valley Bank in mid-February, just weeks before its failure, Reuters reported.
In this country, the federal government’s latest budget remains in the headlines.
The Globe reports that slower economic growth and higher public spending are straining Ottawa’s bottom line, as the Liberal government’s 2023 budget announced billions in new spending on clean technology and an expanded national dental care program. The fiscal year that begins April 1 is projected to show a $40.1-billion deficit, compared with a $30.6-billion forecast in the fall update. The government expects the deficit to shrink to $14-billion by 2027-28. It had previously forecast a small surplus for that year.
On the corporate side, Nasdaq-listed shares of Vancouver-based Lululemon jumped more than 14 per cent in morning trading after the athletic attire company forecast annual sales and profit above analysts’ estimates.
Lululemon said it expects fiscal 2023 revenue between US$9.30-billion and US$9.41-billion, above analysts’ average estimate of US$9.14-billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data. The company forecast full-year profit in the range of US$11.50 to US$11.72 per share, compared with analysts’ estimate of US$11.26.
The Montreal-based company’s fourth-quarter revenue rose to $1.47-billion, from $1.22-billion a year earlier, beating expectations of $1.39-billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data. The stock was up nearly 0.80 per cent in early trading in Toronto.
Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.99 per cent by midday. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.90 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were up 0.91 per cent and 1.29 per cent, respectively.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 1.33 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.06 per cent with Alibaba shares boosting tech stocks.
Crude prices were up for a third session, helped by easing worries about the state of global banks and Kurdish supply concerns.
The day range on Brent was US$78.73 to US$79.30 in the early premarket period. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$73.50 to US$74.
“There’s been a broad improvement in risk appetite at the start of the week thanks to a weekend without drama in the banks,” OANDA senior analyst Craig Erlam said.
“That’s enabled stocks to bounce back and yields to creep higher on stronger economic prospects which, in turn, is lifting crude prices.”
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that crude exports of 450,000 barrels per day from Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdistan region were halted on Saturday following an arbitration decision that confirmed Baghdad’s consent was needed to ship the oil. On Wednesday, Norwegian oil firm DNO said it had begun shutting down production at its fields in Kurdistan, the news service said.
Later Wednesday morning, traders will get weekly U.S. inventory figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that crude stocks for the week fell by 6.1 million barrels.
In other commodities, gold prices fell as broader risk sentiment improved.
Spot gold was trading 0.6-per-cent lower at US$1,961.80 per ounce by early Wednesday morning, after rising 1 per cent on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.5 per cent to US$1,963.10.
“Risk appetite has improved and yields are rising so naturally, gold is giving back some of the banking panic gains it accumulated over the last few weeks,” Mr. Erlam said.
“Even so, it isn’t trading too far from $2,000, seemingly a major psychological obstacle, and it’s well off its recent lows.”
The Canadian dollar was steady, trading around the mid-73-US-cent mark, as risk sentiment improved and crude prices gained while it’s U.S. counterpart saw a modest advance against a group of world currencies.
The day range on the loonie was 73.43 US cents to 73.60 US cents ahead of the North American open. The Canadian dollar is up about 1 per cent over the last five days and steady over the past month.
“The CAD went on a mini run higher against the USD yesterday and is holding those gains this morning,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist with Scotiabank, said.
“The move up in the CAD is pressuring CAD short positioning that has accumulated quickly in the past few weeks as investors focused on a sidelined BoC and (through early Mar) the risk of more aggressive Fed policy tightening. That never materialized, of course, and ensuing developments have pared back Fed expectations considerably.”
There were no major Canadian economic releases due Wednesday. Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle is scheduled to speak in Montreal on market liquidity measures undertaken during COVID-19.
On world markets, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, gained 0.15 per cent to 102.64 after falling in the last two sessions. The index is down about 2 per cent for the month so far, according to figures from Reuters.
The euro was down 0.1 per cent on the day at US$1.0834 and Britain’s pound slid slightly to hit US$1.2316, just off the previous day’s near two-month intraday high of US$1.2348.
In bonds, the yield on the U.S. 10-year note was down slightly at 3.543 per cent in the predawn period.
More business news
UBS Group AGhas rehired Sergio Ermotti as CEO to steer its massive takeover of neighbour Credit Suisse – a surprise move to take advantage of the Swiss banker’s experience rebuilding the bank after the global financial crisis. The trader turned corporate problem fixer faces the tough challenge of laying off thousands of staff, cutting back Credit Suisse’s investment bank and reassuring the world’s wealthy that UBS remains a safe harbour for their cash. “We felt we had a better horse,” said UBS chairman Colm Kelleher of the decision to replace current CEO Ralph Hamers after less than three years in charge. –Reuters
Macy’s Inc on Wednesday said its Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gennette will retire in February 2024, after serving the company for 40 years. –Reuters
(10 a.m. ET) U.S. Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr testifies before the House Financial Services Committee.
(10 a.m. ET) U.S. pending home sales for February.
(12:30 p.m. ET) Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle speaks in Montreal on “The Market Liquidity Measures We Took During COVID”
In an effort to address economic disparities and promote entrepreneurship among Black communities, Canada introduced the Federal Black Entrepreneurship Program (FBEP) and the associated Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund (BEFL). However, recent revelations have brought to light a shocking reality: the underutilization and obstacles faced by Black businesses in accessing the FACE (Funding for Black Entrepreneurship) loans. In this thought-provoking article, we delve into the numbers and uncover the challenges and experiences of Black entrepreneurs in navigating these loan programs. Through interviews with business owners, experts, and advocates, we shed light on the systemic barriers that hinder their success and explore potential solutions for a more equitable and inclusive lending landscape.
The FACE loan program was created with the intention of providing financial support and resources to Black-owned businesses. However, the reality has been far from the expected outcomes. Jessica Thompson, an economist specializing in racial disparities, states, “The FACE loan program was designed to address historical economic disadvantages, but the numbers reveal a significant gap between its objectives and the lived experiences of Black entrepreneurs.”
Black entrepreneurs face numerous hurdles when attempting to access FACE loans. A lack of awareness about the program, complex application processes, and limited outreach to communities in need contribute to low participation rates. Michael Johnson, a business owner, shares his frustration, saying, “It’s disheartening to see a program that was meant to uplift Black businesses fall short due to bureaucratic obstacles. Many of us struggle to navigate the application process and meet the stringent criteria.”
Systemic barriers and discrimination persist within the lending landscape, perpetuating the cycle of inequality. Dr. Maya Williams, a sociologist specializing in racial disparities, explains, “Structural racism and bias continue to disadvantage Black entrepreneurs. Discrimination in loan approvals, higher interest rates, and limited access to capital contribute to the challenges faced by Black-owned businesses.”
The consequences of the FACE loan program’s shortcomings are far-reaching. Many Black-owned businesses struggle to access the capital needed for growth, expansion, and operational sustainability. Tanya Campbell, a business owner, emphasizes, “The lack of financial support hampers our ability to scale our businesses, hire employees, and contribute to the local economy. It perpetuates a cycle of limited opportunities and restricted growth.”
To address the disparities within the FACE loan program, experts and advocates propose several solutions. Improved outreach and community engagement, simplified application processes and tailored support services can increase access and awareness among Black entrepreneurs. John Stevens, a business consultant, suggests, “The government must invest in targeted initiatives that address the specific needs and challenges faced by Black-owned businesses, such as mentorship programs, financial literacy training, and capacity-building initiatives.”
Addressing the challenges faced by Black entrepreneurs requires collaboration and accountability from various stakeholders. Governments, financial institutions, and community organizations must work together to create an inclusive lending ecosystem. Mary Johnson, an advocate for Black economic empowerment, states, “Transparency, accountability, and ongoing dialogue between policymakers, lenders, and Black entrepreneurs are essential to drive meaningful change and ensure equal opportunities for all.”
The FACE loan program aimed to empower Black entrepreneurs and address economic disparities, but the reality falls short of expectations. The underutilization and obstacles faced by Black businesses in accessing FACE loans highlight the pressing need for systemic change within the lending landscape. By acknowledging and addressing the structural barriers, streamlining processes, and fostering collaboration, we can create a more inclusive and equitable environment where Black entrepreneurs thrive. It is through proactive measures, collective effort, and ongoing dialogue that we can dismantle systemic inequities and build a future where Black-owned businesses have equal access to the resources and support necessary for success.
Debt ceiling negotiations have been a major factor for oil price movements in the past couple of weeks, mostly because of the apparent inability of Republicans and Democrats in Congress to strike any semblance of an agreement on how to increase the federal government’s borrowing power.
According to early reports on the tentative deal, it involves flat spending over the next two years and the recycling of unused Covid funds.
Although such tense negotiations have been relatively regular in past years, they have eventually ended with an agreement, and default has invariably been avoided.
This historical evidence could have served to stabilize prices but it did not, and neither did mixed data about China’s recovery. On the one hand, PMI readings are showing an uneven rebound in economic activity, but on the other, demand for oil as evidenced by import rates, is going strong.
To complicate the picture further, OPEC+ is reportedly in two minds about what to do with its output at its next meeting.
According to reports quoting Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman, he has hinted at another round of output cuts.
According to reports quoting Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and top OPEC+ official Alexander Novak, the co-leader of the extended cartel is fine with production where it is right now.
Thanks to its recent gains, oil’s decline since the start of the year has shrunk from about 14% earlier this month to just 9% as of the start of this week, according to Bloomberg.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.
American equity futures posted modest gains amid cautious optimism the U.S. will avert a catastrophic default after the weekend’s tentative debt-ceiling deal. European stocks wavered in muted holiday-affected trading.
Contracts on the S&P 500 climbed about 0.2 per cent, while those on the Nasdaq 100 were up around 0.3 per cent, with trading set to end early for Memorial Day. The dollar, which has benefited from angst around the statutory borrowing limit, held Friday’s decline while Treasury futures were flat in the absence of cash trading.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index edged lower, with Spain’s benchmark underperforming after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a surprise snap election following heavy losses for his party in regional and local elections Sunday. Volumes were about 60 per cent lower than usual as markets in the U.K. and some European countries remained closed for national holidays. SBB gained after the embattled Swedish landlord said it may look to sell the company. A gauge of Asia-Pacific equities rose, though Chinese shares slid closer to a bear market.
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed confidence that their agreement to curtail spending and extend the borrowing limit will pass through Congress. But even assuming lawmakers seal the deal before the U.S. government runs out of cash in about a week, traders still have much to contend with — from the prospect of another interest-rate hike from the Federal Reserve to a likely deluge of bond issuance from the U.S. Treasury Department.
“The obvious positive interpretation is that a negative tail risk is close to being taken off the table,” said Dan Suzuki, deputy chief investment officer at Richard Bernstein Advisors. “With the distraction of the debt ceiling fading into the background, investors can now refocus their attention on the underlying fundamentals. One concern, though, is that the fundamental picture remains precarious.”
European bonds rose, with Germany’s 10-year yield falling about 11 basis points. Spain’s 10-year yield dropped by a similar amount.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s lira weakened after Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a presidential runoff election on Sunday, extending his time as the nation’s longest-serving leader and leaving investors looking for any signs he’ll start to relax the state’s tight grip over markets. The nation’s stocks benchmark gained.
Gold was flat on waning demand for havens, while as oil held onto most of Friday’s gains and Bitcoin climbed, reflecting a modestly buoyant tone.
The agreement struck by Biden and McCarthy is running against the clock given that June 5 is the date when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said cash will run out. There is plenty in the deal that Democrats and Republicans won’t like.
“Uncertainty persists regarding the duration and severity of the ongoing earnings recession, and perversely, the near-term tightening of liquidity may worsen due to the government’s need to address its debt issuance backlog,” said Suzuki. “While the markets managed to avert an immediate crisis, the coast is far from all-clear just yet.”
The rate-sensitive two-year Treasury drifted Friday as traders considered how a debt agreement could play into the Fed’s path forward on interest rates. The two-year yield hovered around 4.65 per cent after a report on consumer spending showed the Fed still has more work to do to bring inflation back toward its target.
“Markets will have the liquidity hassles to deal with, as the Treasury will issue a deluge of bonds to restore its cash reserves,” said Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “Not to forget, the hawkish re-pricing of the Fed path that we have seen last week could possibly get firmer if we get a hot jobs print this week.”
Key events this week:
U.S. Memorial Day holiday. U.K., Switzerland and some Nordic markets also closed for holidays, Monday