One year ago today, the world woke up to President-elect Donald Trump. Since he took office, U.S. stocks have gone on a record-breaking run – fueled in part by investors’ hope that he’ll deliver on his business-friendly agenda. Trump has rarely shied away from pointing out the market’s momentum, most boldly stating aboard Air Force One this weekend that “the reason our stock market is so successful is because of me.”
Today, we’ll assess how much of the credit he deserves and look ahead to what investors can expect in the months to come as Trump aims to push his tax reform plan past the goal line. Also notable for the Trump file, he said today he gives China “great credit” for being able to take advantage of the U.S. on trade.
CAMECO TAKES MATTERS INTO ITS OWN HANDS
There’s no more hiding from the reality of weak uranium prices for Cameco, with the Saskatoon-based producer suspending output at its McArthur River and Key Lake operations (with 845 employees affected) for at least 10 months and slashing its dividend 80 per cent. “With the continued state of oversupply in the uranium market and no expectation of change on the immediate horizon, it does not make economic sense for us to continue producing at McArthur River and Key Lake when we are holding a large inventory, or paying dividends out of proportion with our earnings,” CEO Tim Gitzel said in a statement. Will this be enough to affect industry-wide change and get peers to follow Cameco’s lead? We’ll chase reaction.
OTTAWA TO DELIVER PROMISED EI CHANGES
The federal Liberals are expected to make good today on the employment insurance changes telegraphed in their spring budget. Recall that back then, the government said it would allow parental benefits to be spread over 18 months and provide maternity benefits 12 weeks prior to due date. Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is expected to formalize the changes at an announcement in Ottawa this afternoon.
AT&T/TIME WARNER ON THE ROPES
Lots of headlines surfacing about the U.S. pushing AT&T to sell certain assets in order to win approval for its US$85-billion takeover of Time Warner. Well worth everyone’s time to revisit what now-U.S. anti-trust division leader Makan Delrahim told BNN about the deal when we caught up with him in October (ie, “I don’t see this as a major anti-trust problem.”)
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES:
– Canadian Tire is boosting its annual dividend 38 per cent to $3.60 per share after reporting a five-per-cent rise in quarterly retail sales and setting a 10-per-cent annual profit growth target for the next three years.
– Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao has notified the federal government that his province intends to proceed with a tax on Netflix.
– Telus is rounding out earnings season for Canada’s trio of big wireless players with a modest miss (66 cents against an estimated 69), a sweeter dividend (50.5 cents from 49.25) and a bronze medal in the race for wireless growth supremacy (115,000 net postpaid adds; versus 117,182 for BCE and 129,000 for Rogers).
– The gloves are off on Bay Street after Newton Glassman’s Catalyst Capital filed a lawsuit against Greg Boland’s West Face Capital and Anson Group for allegedly participating in a “short and distort” campaign. West Face says the claims are “devoid of merit, and will be defended vigorously.”
– Magna narrowly edged past third-quarter profit expectations amid record Q3 sales on the back of growth in Europe. The auto parts maker also narrowed its full-year sales forecast.
– Aimia says it’s still working to “secure long-term strategic and commercial partnerships for Aeroplan” as it aims to fill the void that will be left by Air Canada.
– Manulife booked a $240-million provision in the third quarter as a result of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Quarterly core profit was basically in line. Really, the story here is about how new CEO Roy Gori will put his fingerprint on the company.
– Notable earnings: Magna International, Brookfield Asset Management, Canadian Tire, Quebecor, Telus, TMX Group, Transcanada, Cascades, CI Financial, Sprott, Cott, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, Stantec, Nordstrom, Walt Disney Co.
– Notable data: Canadian new housing price index
– 8 a.m. ET: Conference Board releases report on business tax reform
– 12 p.m. ET: Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein delivers speech at Canadian Club event in Toronto
-12 p.m. ET: Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announces changes to employment insurance program’s caregiving, maternity and parental benefits
– U.S. President Donald Trump to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing
What deserves the most credit for driving U.S. stocks over the last year?
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