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Daily Pulse

One of our most accessible tools, this daily comment keeps you abreast of developments on the North American and international financial markets.

Michel Doucet

Michel Doucet
Vice-President and
Portfolio Manager

July 10, 2020

Canada

Canadian housing starts continued to rise in June, reflecting a pick up in development in Toronto and Montreal. Builders started work on an annualized 211,681 units last month, up from 195,453 in May, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Thursday. The rebound was attributable to a resumption of construction in the country’s two largest cities following Covid-19 related shutdowns. The majority of other cities across the country saw declines, including Vancouver. Despite the uptick in housing starts in May and June, CMHC said it expects starts to remain weak in 2020 before fully recovering next year.

Specialty tea store DavidsTea Inc. says it will close all 42 of its U.S. locations and 82 of its Canadian stores after filing for Chapter 15 bankruptcy earlier this week. Co. will send notices to terminate 124 leases, which will take effect in 30 days, after obtaining an initial order to pursue its restructuring plan from the Quebec Superior Court. It will seek “more favorable lease terms” for its roughly 100 remaining Canadian stores.

United States

President Donald Trump is seizing on a string of losses at the Supreme Court to galvanize his political base with calls to remake the judiciary with more conservative judges, a key issue that fueled his first presidential run.

Tesla Inc.’s skeptics are undeterred by Elon Musk poking fun at them over the carmaker’s stock surge, with the amount of shares being sold short heading for a milestone. The Model 3 maker’s stock is poised to be the first to hit a short-interest level of $20 billion, according to research firm S3 Partners. The value of shares that have been sold short has climbed recently to $19.95 billion. S3 said in a report Thursday that both Tesla and Nikola Corp. shares look like candidates for a short squeeze, referring to when short sellers are forced by a stock’s gain to close their position, which in turn drives the price even higher.

Comparisons between U.S. technology stocks’ current gains and their bubble 20 years ago “are somewhat misguided,” according to Michael Batnick, research director at Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. Batnick cited the performance of the Nasdaq-100 Index in a blog post Thursday. The Nasdaq-100 soared 929% in the five years leading up to its March 2000 peak, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the five years ended Thursday, the index rose 147%. “If you’re convinced that we’re in the ninth inning of tech dominance, you should be open-minded to the fact that maybe we’re not,” Batnick wrote.

Europe

France held firm on its plans to resume collection of a national digital tax that hits technology giants including Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., saying it wouldn’t be swayed by threats of U.S. sanctions.

Carlsberg A/S said the slump in western European beer sales has moderated, sending the Danish Tuborg brewer’s shares up as much as 5.4%. While revenue dropped 15% in the second quarter, the period showed gradual improvement in Europe, the Danish brewer said Friday. Business in China rebounded strongly. The brewer also said that first-half operating profit declined 8.9% and that the outlook for summer beer sales is uncertain as the Covid-19 outbreak expands in Russia, one of its largest markets.

Asia

Tencent Holdings Ltd. is in advanced talks to take Chinese gaming firm Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd. private, edging out other potential suitors including Sony Corp. in a battle for the Hong Kong-listed company.

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