Today’s news: Trending business stories for February 22, 2024

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Top story

Toyota Canada recalls 28,000 cars over transmission flaw that raises risk of crash

More than 28,000 Toyota vehicles have been recalled due to a transmission problem that can lead to crashes, says the auto manufacturer.

Toyota Canada says it is recalling its 2023-24 model-year Toyota Tundra, Sequoia and Lexus LX 600 vehicles across the country.

It says certain parts of the transmission may not immediately disengage when the car is in neutral, which may keep the wheels moving.

Toyota Canada says the vehicle is at risk of creeping forward at a low speed when it is on a flat surface and no brakes are applied.

The auto manufacturer is asking customers to bring their vehicles to Toyota and Lexus dealers for a software update, which will be free of charge.

It says owners of vehicles affected will be notified by late April.

— The Canadian Press


4:36 p.m.

Market close: TSX up almost 150 points, U.S. stocks rally on tech after Nvidia report

stock close

Canada’s main stock index gained almost 150 points, while its Wall St. counterparts soared, led by technology stocks after another blowout report from chipmaker Nvidia Corp.

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The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 145.68 points at 21,318.08.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 456.87 points at 39,069.11. The S&P 500 index was up 105.23 points at 5,087.03, while the Nasdaq composite was up 460.72 points at 16,041.62.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.11 cents US compared with 74.01 cents US on Wednesday.

The April crude contract was up 70 cents at US$78.61 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was down three cents at US$1.83 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was down US$3.60 at US$2,030.70 an ounce and the March copper contract was up two cents at US$3.90 a pound.

— The Canadian Press


3:11 p.m.

Caisse hit with real estate loss as ‘hostile’ market persists

The Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec headquarters in downtown Montreal.
The Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec headquarters in downtown Montreal. Photo by Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press files

Quebec’s public pension manager reported a 7.2 per cent return in 2023, as losses in real estate detracted from big gains in its credit and stock portfolios.

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec has restructured its real estate business, shifting capital to apartments and industrial properties, but it wasn’t enough to offset problems in the office sector. The fund manager posted a 6.2 per cent loss on its $46 billion property portfolio — the only asset class for which it had a negative return last year.

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Nathalie Palladitcheff, the head of Ivanhoe Cambridge, CDPQ’s real estate arm, described last year’s environment as “hostile.” High interest rates and low occupancy have created a difficult outlook for office owners and their lenders, with more than US$1 trillion in commercial real estate loans set to mature by the end of next year.

“The increase in rates impacts both the valuation and the cost of debt, and this resulted in a very significant drop in transactional volumes on a global scale,” Palladitcheff said, referring to the broader real estate market. “They have been halved in Europe, halved in the United States, even an 80 per cent drop in transactions in Germany, for example.”

— Bloomberg


12:06 p.m.

Midday markets: Stocks in Toronto and Wall Street surge

Market chart

Canada’s main stock index was up more than 100 points, helped by strength in the technology sector, while U.S. stock markets also pushed higher after stronger-than-expected results from AI chipmaker

Nvidia Corp.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 121.55 points, or 0.58 per cent, at 21,297.08.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 264.88 points, 0.69 per cent, at 38,883.59. The S&P 500 index was up 79.29 points, 1.57 per cent, at 5,059.77, while the Nasdaq composite was up 376.21 points, 2.42 per cent, at 15,958.20.

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The Canadian dollar traded up 0.10 per cent at 74.07 cents US compared with 74.01 cents US on Wednesday.

The April crude contract was up 1.10 per cent at US$78.76 per barrel.

The April gold contract was down 0.12 per cent at US$2,030.50 an ounce.

— The Canadian Press


10:58 a.m.

Newmont puts six gold mines up for sale to help raise $2 billion

Bars of gold
Newmont Corp. is planning on selling mines in Canada and around the world to raise cash as it closes its takeover of Newcrest Mining. Photo by NEWMONT MINING

Newmont Corp., the world’s top gold producer, will seek to sell six mines and two projects in a set of divestitures aimed at generating $2 billion in cash.

The Denver-based company said Thursday it intends to divest three Canadian gold mines — Éléonore, Musselwhite and Porcupine — along with Cripple Creek & Victor in the United States, Akyem in Ghana and Australia’s Telfer mine. It also plans to sell two “non-core” projects, Havieron in Australia and Coffee Gold in Canada.

The firm first signalled plans to sell assets after closing its roughly US$15 billion acquisition of Newcrest Mining Ltd. in November, solidifying its position as by far the world’s biggest gold producer. With the takeover, Newmont now operates 20 mines in 11 countries and expects to produce 6.7 million ounces of gold annually by 2028.

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The firm on Thursday reported adjusted earnings of 50 cents US a share in the fourth quarter, beating analyst expectations compiled by Bloomberg. It produced 5.5 million gold ounces in 2023, more than the consensus estimate.

In an interview, chief executive Tom Palmer said the mines being divested do not meet the company’s criteria of “Tier 1” assets — producing 500,000 gold equivalent ounces or more, having a life of at least 10 years, and being located in top jurisdictions.

“We have a number of Tier 2 assets that are very good assets, run by very good people, but that don’t make our Tier 1 category,” Palmer said.

The company has already begun receiving interest from potential buyers, Palmer said.

— Jacob Lorinc, Bloomberg


10:45 a.m.

Maple Leaf Foods reports $9.3M Q4 loss compared with $41.5M loss a year earlier

Chicken meat in Maple Leaf packages
Maple Leaf Foods reported a loss in the fourth quarter. Photo by Richard Buchan/The Canadian Press

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss of $9.3 million compared with a loss of $41.5 million a year earlier.

The meat processor says the loss amounted to eight cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a loss of 34 cents per share in its fourth quarter of 2022.
Sales totalled $1.19 billion for the quarter, about the same as a year earlier.

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Sales for the company’s meat protein business amounted to $1.16 million, up from $1.15 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, while plant protein sales totalled $36.5 million, down from $40.0 million a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf says it earned eight cents per share in its latest quarter compared with an adjusted loss of 28 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Maple Leaf also announced that Adam Grogan has been promoted to the role of chief operating officer, while Casey Richards has been posted to the newly created job of president, Maple Leaf Foods USA.

— The Canadian Press


10:29 a.m.

Morning markets: U.S. stocks extend bull run on Nvidia earnings

Nvidia’s earnings have been growing even faster than the stock.
Nvidia’s earnings have been growing even faster than the stock. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks extended their bull run as Nvidia Corp.’s solid outlook rekindled the artificial-intelligence frenzy and manufacturing data bolstered confidence in the United States economy.

The world’s most-valuable chipmaker soared 14 per cent, putting it on course to add more than US$230 billion to its market capitalization. That would be the biggest single-session increase in value ever — eclipsing a US$197 billion gain made by Meta Platforms Inc. at the start of the month. With the numbers now in, bulls are swiftly calculating its new price-to-earnings ratio, or how much investors are paying for future growth. Put another way, Nvidia’s earnings have been growing faster than the shares.

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“Nvidia got to where it is because of extremely strong earnings and revenue,” said James Demmert at Main Street Research. “When a company posts 265 per cent year-over-year revenue growth, it deserves a premium valuation.”

The Nasdaq 100 jumped 2.5 per cent, while the S&P 500 reclaimed the 5,000 mark.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 0.58 per cent.

— Bloomberg, Financial Post


9:38 a.m.

Retail sales gain in December, forecast to pull back in January

Retail sales chart

Statistics Canada says

retail sales rose 0.9 per cent

to $67.3 billion in December, helped by strength in sales at new car dealers.

However, the agency says its early estimate of retail sales for January points to a decrease of 0.4 per cent for the first month of 2024.

For December, Statistics Canada says sales were up in five of the nine subsectors it tracks.

Sales for the motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector rose 1.9 per cent, helped by a 2.4 per cent increase in sales at new car dealers, offset in part by a 2.7 per cent drop at automotive parts, accessories and tire retailers.

Core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors, as well as motor vehicle and parts dealers — were up 0.5 per cent in December.

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In volume terms, Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in December.

— The Canadian Press


9:15 a.m.

Enerplus to be sold to U.S. company in $3.8-billion deal

Enerplus Corp. has signed a deal to be acquired by U.S. company Chord Energy Corp. in a stock-and-cash deal.
Enerplus Corp. has signed a deal to be acquired by U.S. company Chord Energy Corp. in a stock-and-cash deal. Photo by Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Enerplus Corp. has signed a deal to be acquired by U.S. company Chord Energy Corp. in a stock-and-cash deal worth about US$3.8 billion.

Chord Energy chief executive Danny Brown said the deal strengthens the company’s Williston Basin position and represents a compelling opportunity for both companies’ shareholders.

Under the terms of the agreement, Enerplus shareholders will receive 0.10125 shares of Chord common stock and US$1.84 per share in cash for each Enerplus share.

Based on the closing price as of Tuesday, the implied value for each Enerplus share is US$18.42.

Once the deal is complete, Chord shareholders will own about two-thirds of the combined company, while Enerplus shareholders will own one-third.

The combined company will have an enterprise value of about US$11 billion.

— The Canadian Press


8:00 a.m.

Loblaw profit, revenue, sales rise in fourth quarter

Loblaw said its revenue in the fourth quarter totalled $14.53 billion, up from $14.01 billion a year earlier.
Loblaw said its revenue in the fourth quarter totalled $14.53 billion, up from $14.01 billion a year earlier. Photo by Ryuan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. reported its fourth-quarter profit and sales rose compared with year ago.

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The grocery and drugstore retailer said it earned a profit available to common shareholders of $541 million or $1.72 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 30. The result compared with a profit of $529 million or $1.62 per diluted share in the last three months of 2022.

Revenue totalled $14.53 billion, up from $14.01 billion a year earlier.

Food retail same-stores sales rose by two per cent, while drug retail same-store sales gained 4.6 per cent, with front store same-store sales growth of 1.7 per cent and pharmacy and health-care services same-store sales growth of eight per cent.

On an adjusted basis, Loblaw says it earned $2 per share in its latest quarter compared with an adjusted profit of $1.76 per share a year earlier.

The earnings follow an announcement by Loblaw on Tuesday that it planned to invest more than $2 billion to build more than 40 new stores and renovate hundreds of others.

— The Canadian Press

Read the full story here


7:30 a.m.

First Quantum sells $1 billion in stock to shore up finances

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. agreed to sell US$1 billion in stock and raise US$1.6 billion from an offering of notes as part of efforts to strengthen its balance sheet after Panama shuttered the company’s flagship copper mine.

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The Vancouver-based company also amended some of the terms of US$2.2-billion corporate bank facilities, extending their maturity to April 2027, according to a Wednesday statement. The measures come a day after First Quantum said it struck a three-year deal to sell US$500 million in copper shipments to its second-biggest shareholder, Jiangxi Copper Co.

First Quantum has been scrambling to shore up its balance sheet after Panama ordered the closure of the company’s Cobre Panama copper mine in late November. The mine is the company’s biggest revenue-generating asset, responsible for about 40 per cent of revenue last year. The closure cast the company’s finances into uncertainty, with billions of dollars of debt maturing in the coming years.

The company said it agreed to sell 121.7 million shares at $11.10 apiece to a group of banks led by Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and Goldman Sachs Group as part of a bought deal. The US$1.6-million sale of senior secured second lien notes due 2029 are in a private offering, subject to market conditions, the company said.

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First Quantum will continue to advance additional initiatives, including asset and stake sales, in “a disciplined manner,” the company said.

— Jacob Lorinc, Doug Alexander, Bloomberg

Read more: First Quantum bought deal to raise $1 billion as Panama closure pushes miner to brink


Stock markets before the opening bell

Stock markets chart, February 22, 2024

Nvidia Corp.’s blowout sales forecast took centre stage in markets, fanning gains in tech stocks around the world and propelling Nasdaq 100 futures to a gain of more than two per cent.

Nvidia soared as much as 14 per cent in pre-market trading after results showed demand is exploding for artificial intelligence computing hardware. The company, which is on the verge of surpassing Alphabet Inc. in market value, has been the biggest driver of U.S. stock market gains this year.

The promise of big tech investment added to a bullish mood in markets. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index hit a record high for the first time since 1989 and the Stoxx Europe 600 index briefly surpassed its January 2022 closing peak.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 0.21 per cent on Wednesday.

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— Bloomberg


What to watch today

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne will participate in an armchair discussion at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal to discuss how Canada can seize on new opportunities to lead the global economy, with a focus on recent federal investments in Quebec.

Retail sales for December will be released this morning. Out of the United States, expect initial jobless claims, S&P Global PMIs, existing home sales and the quarterly services survey.

Companies reporting earnings include Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Teck Resources Ltd., Pembina Pipeline Corp., Quebecor Inc., Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Recommended from Editorial

Need a refresher on yesterday’s top headlines? Get caught up here.

Additional reporting by The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Bloomberg


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