Feb 7, 2023
The Daily Chase: Cineplex reports Q4 profit; Canadians say they need $1.7M for retirement
First Look With Surveillance: Powell Speaks, BP Profit
North American equity markets appear to be in wait-and-see mode ahead of some key commentary from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on how the central bank is viewing its ongoing fight to quash inflation. Powell’s set to be interviewed by David Rubenstein at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. a little later this morning, where we’ll be watching for any clues Powell could drop as to whether the Fed will dampen expectations for potential rate cuts later this year. Back here at home, we’ve also got central banks on the mind, with Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem set to address the CFA Society Quebec in Quebec City around lunchtime, where he’ll likely address our own central bank’s view of the evolving inflation and interest rate environments.
CINEPLEX SWINGS TO PROFIT AS MOVIEGOERS RETURN
I wouldn’t say Cineplex is out of the woods just yet, but there were some encouraging signs out of its fourth quarter and full-year results. For the quarter, the company swung back to a profit, posting $10.2 million worth of net income compared to a $21.8 million loss in the same quarter a year ago. CEO Ellis Jacob says it’s still a “tumultuous” time for the entertainment industry, and that sort of bears out in comparing attendance to its pre-pandemic levels – while things have been improving, box office take in the fourth quarter was only 66 per cent of it 2019 levels. (For the curious, as I was – Avatar: The Way of Water accounted for a quarter of the total box office draw in the fourth quarter.) All that said, it appears the moviegoers who are heading back to the theatre are willing to shell out for higher-end packages. A full 50 per cent of the fourth-quarter box office take was from so-called “premium experiences” (think UltraAVX, VIP seating with adult beverages, that sort of thing), helping to boost box office and concession revenues per patron to a new record high. We’re looking forward to hearing more from Ellis Jacob in Bloomberg Markets at about 1:10 p.m. EST.
ONTARIO BUSINESS CONFIDENCE PLUNGES TO NEW LOW
That’s according to the latest survey from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The results of which say a mere 16 per cent of Ontario businesses are confident about the economy in the year ahead. It’s the most pessimistic outlook yet recorded in the more than a decade the OCC has been conducting the survey (and is down from 29 per cent figure from last year.) It’s the usual suspects at play here – businesses are concerned about the impact of higher inflation and labour shortages in terms of economic headwinds. If we’re looking for a silver lining (or perhaps a wee bit of cognitive dissonance), in spite of that rock bottom confidence in the overall economy, 53 per cent of respondents are optimistic about their own outlook and growth prospects for the year.
CANADIANS BELIEVE THEY NEED $1.7M TO RETIRE: BMO
Bit of a sobering survey data out of BMO today, as Canadians polled now expect to need $1.7 million tucked away for retirement, up 20 per cent from 2020. Even more frightening than that initial sticker shock, respondents aren’t so certain they’ll get there – only 44 per cent of those polled said they’re confident they’ll have enough money to retire, a 10 per cent decrease from those 2020 levels. Now, as always, it is a sentiment survey, and feelings are a tricky thing in times like this with rising rates and sky-high inflation, but those factors are clearly top of mind for respondents, with 74 per cent saying they’re concerned about how current economic conditions will affect their financial situation and retirement goals.
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
- TMX Group topped fourth quarter profit expectations, albeit with declining organic revenue in the quarter. The exchange-operator is also raising its quarterly dividend five per cent to 87 cents per share. We’ll hear more about the quarter from CEO John McKenzie at 9:40 a.m. EST.
- Hut 8 Mining is merging with U.S. Bitcoin in a deal that will value the combined entity at about US$990 million. The new firm will be domiciled in the United States, and will be owned essentially 50/50 by existing Hut 8 and U.S. Bitcoin shareholders.
- We’ll be keeping an eye on shares of Finning International after the Caterpillar dealer blew past fourth-quarter earnings expectations. New equipment sales grew 52 per cent in the quarter due to significant mining equipment deliveries in Canada and South America.
- Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond are plunging in the premarket – now down more than 30 per cent – after the home-furnishings retailer said it’s planning to raise more than $1 billion in an effort to stave off bankruptcy.
- Bit of a weak end to the year over at Spin Master, where fourth-quarter preliminary toy revenue fell 26.8 per cent year-over-year. The company says tough comps are in part to blame, since 2021 saw big sales of products tied to 'Paw Patrol: The Movie' and 'The Batman' film.
- Notable data: Merchandise Trade Balance, U.S. Goods & Services Trade Balance, U.S. Consumer Credit
- Notable earnings: Cineplex, Royal Caribbean Cruises, The Carlyle Group, Hertz Global Holdings, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Prudential Financial, WildBrain, H&R Block, Intact Financial
- 1100 – U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell interviewed by David Rubenstein at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
- 1230: BoC Gov. Macklem speaks to CFA Society Quebec in Quebec City, press conference at 1400
- 2100: U.S. President Biden’s State of the Union Address