Today’s news: Trending business stories for February 21, 2024

The latest business news as it happens

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Millennials outnumber baby boomers for first time, Statistics Canada says

Average age in Canada chart

Statistics Canada says there are now more millennials than baby boomers in the country, ending the 65-year reign of the post-Second World War generation as the largest cohort in the population.

The federal agency noted the change in its population estimate for July 1, 2023, broken down by age and gender released today.

The average age in Canada dropped slightly between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023 for the first time since 1958 to 41.6 years.

However, Statistics Canada says the number and proportion of people aged 65 years and older have continued to rise.

The federal agency says the share of millennials and generation Z is increasing, while the reverse is true for baby boomers and generation X.

Those trends have helped increase the share of the working-age population, which increased in 2023 after steadily declining over the previous 15 years.

— The Canadian Press

Read more: Strong immigration has helped slow population aging in Canada


4:43 p.m.

Market close: TSX down 45 points, U.S. stock markets mixed

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Canada’s main stock index moved lower, as weakness in financial and tech stocks helped outweigh strength in energy, while U.S. markets were mixed.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 45.15 points at 21,172.38.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 48.44 points at 38,612.24. The S&P 500 index was up 6.29 points at 4,981.80, while the Nasdaq composite was down 49.91 points at 15,580.87.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.01 cents US compared with 73.98 cents US on Tuesday.

The April crude contract was up 87 cents at US$77.91 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was up 22 cents at US$1.86 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was down US$5.50 at US$2,034.30 an ounce and the March copper contract was up a penny at US$3.88 a pound.

— The Canadian Press


4:13 p.m.

Two-thirds of Canadians switch grocery stores to score better deals

People shop inside a grocery store in Toronto.
People shop inside a grocery store in Toronto. Photo by Cole Burston/The Canadian Press files

Almost two-thirds of Canadians say they have switched their primary grocery store in the past year to score better deals.

A new survey by Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab and marketing insights firm Caddle found that almost 30 per cent of respondents exclusively choose their grocery stores based on in-store discounts and promotions.

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While in-store, the report found that almost 60 per cent of Canadians consistently seek discounted food products, with preferences for discounts on expiring or clearance items.

According to the survey, which was conducted through Caddle’s platform, flyers remain the most common way for shoppers to discover discounts, followed by mobile apps and in-store signs.

The report says that fresh produce is the most-purchased discounted item, followed closely by meat products, packaged and canned goods, baked goods and dairy products.

The report also found that while food-rescue apps like Flashfood or Too Good To Go are gaining popularity, almost 58 per cent of shoppers have never tried them.

— The Canadian Press


2 p.m.

Dollarama proposes $2.5-million settlement in class action over products with eco fees

Dollarama Inc. head offices in Montreal.
Dollarama Inc. head offices in Montreal. Photo by Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press files

Dollarama Inc. customers who purchased products with an “eco fee” in the last few years may be eligible to receive a gift card from the retailer under a $2.5 million proposed settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit.

Under the class action, a plaintiff represented by Quebec law firm LPC Avocats alleged Dollarama did not properly display the price of products subject to eco fees and charged a total price or eco fee higher than displayed for these products or allowed by law.

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Environmental handling fees, sometimes called eco fees, are levied on items like electronics, light bulbs, batteries and toys in order to help with the cost of recycling.

To settle the matter, LPC Avocats says Dollarama has offered Dollarama customers who purchased products with eco fees between May 29, 2021 and July 4, 2023 gift cards valued at up to $15.

Customers who bought such products in Quebec between Dec. 11, 2019 and July 4, 2023 are also eligible.

LPC Avocats says a court will hold a hearing on April 9 to decide whether to approve the settlement before any gift cards are provided to eligible consumers.

Dollarama did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposed settlement.

— The Canadian Press


1:40 p.m.

All offshore oil and gas permits in B.C. are relinquished, Ottawa says

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is expected to announce the relinquishment of the last permits in British Columbia waters.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is expected to announce the relinquishment of the last permits in British Columbia waters. Photo by Saul LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images files

The federal government says the final offshore oil and gas permits for Canada’s west coast region have been relinquished.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is speaking in Victoria today and expected to announce the relinquishment of the last permits in British Columbia waters.

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Ottawa says the relinquishment of all oil and gas permits in Pacific waters will fulfil a condition in the federal government’s commitment to an Indigenous-led conservation initiative that received a pledge of $800 million in support from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2022.

No details on the number of newly relinquished permits or their holders have been released.

In April 2023, Chevron Canada said it was voluntarily relinquishing 19 offshore oil and gas permits within protected wildlife areas on the west coast.

The permitting area relinquished by Chevron was estimated at 5,700 square kilometres and overlapped parts of federal marine protection areas off B.C.

— The Canadian Press


Noon

Midday markets: TSX, Wall Street fall

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Canada’s main stock index was lower in late-morning trading, weighed down by losses in technology and financial stocks, while U.S. stock markets also fell.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 0.30 per cent at 21,152.32.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.23 per cent at 38,475.86. The S&P 500 index was down 0.12 per cent at 4,969.35, while the Nasdaq composite was down 0.80 per cent at 15,505.05.

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The Canadian dollar traded up 0.06 per cent at 74.01 cents US compared with 73.98 cents US on Tuesday.

The April crude contract was up 1.05 per cent at US$77.85 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was up 19 cents at US$1.84 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was down 0.27 per cent at US$2,034.30 an ounce and the March copper contract was up a penny at US$3.87 a pound.

— The Canadian Press


10:08 a.m.

Markets open: Stocks fall as Nvidia set to test AI-driven rally

The Nvidia Corp. offices in Taipei, Taiwan..
The Nvidia Corp. offices in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo by I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg files

Stocks fell as traders awaited Nvidia Corp.’s earnings due after the market close for clues on the durability of the rally fuelled by the artificial-intelligence frenzy.

The company, described by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s trading desk as “the most important stock on planet earth,” could shake up markets given its high weighting in equity indexes.

Nvidia is at the heart of the AI revolution, boasting the best performance in the S&P 500 this year after more than tripling in 2023. The shares dropped two per cent on Wednesday.

“It feels like these earnings today are a barometer of where we are in the global cycle,” said Justin Onuekwusi, chief investment officer at St James’s Place. “Concentration in the stock market has got to levels where one company’s earnings can have a big macro effect. It’s gone beyond being just a portfolio construction issue; it’s a macro challenge which you can’t get away from.”

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Traders will also sift through the minutes of the United States Federal Reserve’s January meeting for clues on the outlook for the central bank’s next steps.

The S&P 500 remained below 5,000.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 0.18 per cent at 21,187.53.

— Bloomberg, Financial Post


8:10 a.m.

Gildan Activewear hikes dividend

Gildan Activewear Inc. raised its quarterly dividend 10 per cent as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of US$153.3 million, up from US$83.9 million a year earlier.

The clothing maker says it will pay a quarterly dividend of 20.5 cents U.S. per share, up from 18.6 cents U.S. per share.

Gildan, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says its fourth-quarter profit amounted to 89 cents U.S. per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 47 cents U.S. per diluted share a year earlier.

Net sales totalled US$782.7 million, up from US$720.0 million.

On an adjusted basis, Gildan says it earned 75 cents U.S. per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of 65 cents US per diluted share a year earlier.

The results came as group of shareholders seeks to reinstate founder Glenn Chamandy as Gildan’s chief executive. Chamandy was terminated on Dec. 10 after four decades at the company and replaced by Vince Tyra.

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— The Canadian Press


7:30 a.m.

Energy transition stocks get lots of love from TSX Venture investors

The TSX Venture 50 list showcases small-cap issuers across five sectors — energy, mining, clean technology and life sciences, diversified industries, and technology.
The TSX Venture 50 list showcases small-cap issuers across five sectors — energy, mining, clean technology and life sciences, diversified industries, and technology. Photo by The Canadian Press

Canadian-based mining companies that are betting on the global energy transition saw a surge of investor interest in 2023, according to the latest edition of the TSX Venture 50 list.

The annual ranking of top performers on Canada’s main venture exchange, released by the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday, shows 2023 was a blockbuster year for the mining sector.

Mining dominates this year’s list, with companies in that sector posting an average 734 per cent market cap appreciation for the year and a 245 per cent average share price increase, the report said.

The gains came as investors flocked to small-cap and venture companies exploring opportunities in precious metals, critical minerals and the energy transition, said Loui Anastasopoulos, CEO of the Toronto Stock Exchange, in an interview.

The TSX Venture 50 list showcases small-cap issuers across five sectors — energy, mining, clean technology and life sciences, diversified industries, and technology.

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The companies are ranked by their 2022 performance in three areas — market capitalization growth, share price appreciation, and trading volume.

This year’s companies delivered an average financial return of 121 per cent and saw an average market capitalization increase of 248 per cent, a boost from last year’s performance. In December 2023, the total market cap of Venture 50 companies was $23.1 billion — an increase of $7.6 billion year-over-year.

— Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

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Stock markets before the opening bell

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Financial Post

Stock futures are slipping this morning after tech stocks pulled markets lower on Tuesday and investors await results from chipmaker Nvidia Corp.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell 0.6 per cent, coming off only its second losing week in the last 16 after a holiday on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.9 per cent. The S&P/TSX composite index was down 38.08 points at 21,217.53.

Technology stocks, especially chip makers, were the biggest drag on the market. Nvidia slumped 4.4 per cent. It’s still the S&P 500’s biggest gainer so far this year, rising about 40 per cent.

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This morning futures for both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were in the red, suggesting Wall Street may be in for a third day of declines. Nvidia fell about 1.4 per cent in pre-market trading as some traders took profit before the earnings results, scheduled for after today’s market close.

— Bloomberg and The Associated Press


What to watch today

Two things on deck today that will grab investors’ attention: minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting and results from Nvidia Corp, dubbed “the most important stock on earth” by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Nvidia, which reports after the bell, is at the heart of the artificial-intelligence stock boom and could shake up markets given its weighting in equity indexes — it’s been responsible for one-third of the Nasdaq 100 Index’s gains this year. It’s also seen as a bellwether for the health of the global economy.

Canadian companies reporting today include Gildan Activewear Inc, Nutrien Ltd, Suncor Energy Inc and Equinox Gold Corp.

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Additional reporting by The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Bloomberg

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