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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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The dividend hikes and share buybacks keep raining down from the country’s largest banks. Today, it’s CIBC and TD that dished out rewards for their shareholders. We’ll see if BMO makes it six for six tomorrow. As for performance, CIBC is sticking out a bit as it set aside more money for loans that could go bad. The bank is attributing that to new modelling parameters. I’ve asked for details about that. Over at TD, profit came in way above expectations despite a notable drop in trading revenue. Credit for the beat mostly goes to the U.S. division, where retail banking profit more than doubled year-over-year.

OPEC+ DECISION DAY

We're about to find out how the cartel of oil-producing nations and its allies will respond to the coordinated release of oil from strategic petroleum reserves. Just a few days ago, there was plenty of talk that the group would either immediately scale back production hikes or signal an intent to do so in the future. But then Omicron happened and clouded the demand outlook. We will soon find out if OPEC+ stays the course with monthly output hikes of 400,000 barrels per day.

OMICRON WATCH

We’re seeing another reversal in the market this morning. After being firmly in the green for most of the early morning, Nasdaq futures turned red shortly before 8am ET and the other major market futures pared gains. We’ll see how the session plays out after yesterday’s news of the first U.S. Omicron case appeared to be the catalyst for sending the major indices into the red.

The Biden administration announced this morning that it will soon require all inbound international travellers – regardless of nationality or vaccine status – to test for COVID-19 within one day of their departure. There is no mention in the release of an exemption for Canada. Earlier this week, the federal government said it was exempting Americans from new testing requirements for fully vaccinated inbound air travellers. We’re seeking comment from the feds as well as Air Canada and Westjet.

APPLE WARNING

Our Bloomberg News partners are reporting Apple has told suppliers that demand is trailing off for its iPhone 13. Its shares are down several percentage points in pre-market trading.

RED-HOT VANCOUVER HOUSING

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says home sales rose 11.9 per cent year-over-year in November and trailed off just slightly from October. More notably, perhaps, is this: the selling activity was 33.6 per cent above the 10-year average for the month. All of that despite a 35.7 per cent plunge in listings. And that leads us to a familiar refrain: “It’s critical that this supply crunch the focus,” said the real estate board’s economist in a release. 

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • Of interest to Rogers Communications as owner of the Toronto Blue Jays: Major League Baseball players are now locked out after owners and the players association failed to come to terms on a new contract. Of course there’s no major real-world impact for the time being since it’s the off-season, with several months to go before spring training starts.
  • Cargill workers in High River, Alta. will begin voting today on the tentative labour deal reached with the meat and ag giant just a few days before a strike was due to start. The pact includes $4,200 in retroactive pay, thousands of dollars in bonuses, and a 21 per cent wage hike over the life of the contract. Voting continues through Dec. 4.
  • British Columbia-based Taiga Gold announced this morning it agreed to a takeover by SSR Mining. The deal is worth $27 million, or 26.5 cents per share.
  • The Bob Iger era is about to end at The Walt Disney Co., and we now finally know who will take over for him as chairman. Disney announced yesterday afternoon that Susan Arnold, who was serving as lead director, will move into that top job on Dec. 31.
  • We’re getting a snapshot of shopper frustration with supply chains at the busiest time of the year. Almost half (49 per cent) of respondents to a new Angus Reid Institute survey of 2,005 Canadian adults said they’ve encountered at least some difficulty finding items in stores this holiday season. And 31 per cent said they’re planning to spend less this year than in most years.
  • Lastly, from the history books: today marks 20 years since the debacle at Enron culminated with a filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: U.S. initial jobless claims
  • Notable earnings: Toronto-Dominion Bank, CIBC
  • 9:30: Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton makes announcement in Scarborough
  • 13:30: Bombardier holds ceremony for delivery of first Global 7500 aircraft