Today’s news: Trending business stories for January 2, 2024

The latest business news as it happens

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Air Canada ranks last for on-time performance in North America

A new report says Air Canada had the worst on-time performance among large airlines in North America in 2023.

Aviation data firm Cirium said the country’s biggest carrier landed 63 per cent of its flights on time last year, placing it last among the continent’s 10 biggest airlines.

The score was five percentage points below the second- and third-lowest carriers, JetBlue Airways and Frontier Airlines, respectively.

Amounting to roughly 140,000 tardy planes last year, the figure also marked the poorest on-time percentage of the airlines listed in the report, which spanned Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

WestJet placed seventh in North America with a score of 69 per cent, while Delta Air Lines came first at 85 per cent.

Air Canada chief executive Michael Rousseau acknowledged the company’s relatively low ranking after a wave of flight delays in June and July, pointing to a shortage of air traffic controllers, bad weather and a network running at full tilt amid high demand.

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Read the full story here.

The Canadian Press


4:35 p.m.

Market close: Stock markets weak on first trading day of year, but investors still hopeful for 2024

stock chart

The new year began with a whimper on its first trading day, but many investors remain hopeful that 2024 will bring modest gains for stock markets as well as the beginning of interest rate relief.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 86.30 points at 20,872.14.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 25.50 points at 37,715.04. The S&P 500 index was down 27 points at 4,742.83, while the Nasdaq composite was down 245.41 points at 14,765.94.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.10 cents U.S. compared with 75.61 cents U.S. on Friday.

The February crude oil contract was down US$1.27 at US$70.38 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was up five cents at US$2.57 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract was up US$1.60 at US$2,073.40 an ounce and the March copper contract was down one cent at US$3.88 a pound.

The Canadian Press


2:49 p.m.

Calgary home sales outpace long-term trends in 2023 as migration fuels demand

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Homes in northern Calgary
Homes on the northern edge of Calgary. Data for December showed that real estate sales remained above pre-pandemic levels. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

The Calgary Real Estate Board says the city saw 1,366 home sales in December, a 13.8 per cent increase compared with the same month a year earlier as the number of homes that changed hands in 2023 outpaced long-term trends and activity prior to the pandemic.

There were 1,248 newly listed units last month, up 21 per cent compared with December 2022, but the board says housing demand remained relatively high thanks to strong migration levels as inventory declined 2.5 per cent.

CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie says supply levels were low compared to demand throughout 2023, resulting in stronger than expected price growth.

The unadjusted home benchmark price at the end of the year stood at $570,100, down around $2,600 from the previous month, but 10.4 per cent higher than December 2022.

The board says the detached market saw the most significant decline in sales activity in 2023 at nearly 20 per cent.

Apartment-style properties were the only type to report an annual sales gain, hitting a record high of 7,884.


The Canadian Press

1:25 p.m.

Gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines acquires minority stake in Canada Nickel

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Gold is poured at Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.'s Meadowbank facility in Nunavut.
Gold is poured at Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s Meadowbank facility in Nunavut. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press files

Gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. has acquired a minority stake in Canada Nickel Co. Ltd. in what it says is an early stage investment in the growing critical minerals sector.

Under the deal, Agnico Eagle says it has bought 19.6 million units of Canada Nickel in a flow-through offering at a price of $1.18 per unit for a total of $23.1 million.

Each unit includes one share of Canada Nickel and 0.35 of a share purchase warrant, which entitles the holder to acquire a share at a set price of $1.77 at any time before Dec. 29, 2026, subject to conditions.

The investment gives Agnico Eagle a 12 per cent stake in Canada Nickel on a non-diluted basis and also gives it a right to maintain its stake in Canada Nickel in future financings and to nominate one person to the company’s board of directors.

Canada’s mining industry has been increasing its focus on critical minerals like copper, nickel and cobalt needed as part of the transition away from fossil fuels.

Canada Nickel, which owns the Crawford nickel-cobalt sulphide project north of Timmins, Ont., raised a total of nearly $34.7 million in its offering.

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The Canadian Press


12:54 p.m.

Midday markets: Wall Street slips to start 2024 and gives back some of last year’s big gains

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Wall Street is starting 2024 weakly on Tuesday and giving back some of its powerful gains from the year before.

The S&P 500 was 0.6 per cent lower in midday trading after pulling to the brink of its all-time high set roughly two years ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 11 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 1.4 per cent lower.

Some of last year’s biggest winners were slipping the most, including a 2.9 per cent drop for Apple Inc. Tesla Inc., another one of the “Magnificent 7” Big Tech stocks that drove much of Wall Street’s gains last year, was swinging between losses and gains after reporting its deliveries and production for the end of 2024. It was most recently 0.7 per cent higher.

Much of Wall Street had been preparing for at least a pause in the big rally that carried the S&P 500 to nine straight winning weeks and within 0.6 per cent of its record. That big surge came on rising hopes the United States Federal Reserve may have engineered a perfect escape from high inflation: one where high interest rates slow the economy enough to cool inflation but not so much that they cause a painful recession.

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Now, the hope is that the Fed will shift sharply in 2024 and cut interest rates several times. Cuts can relax the pressure on the economy and boost prices for investments. But even though such hopes are high, it’s still not assured. And prices for stocks and bonds have already rallied hard on expectations for them.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 87.54 points at 20,870.90.

The Associated Press, The Canadian Press


10:13 a.m.

Markets open: Rally comes to halt on first trading day of new year

The New York Stock Exchange
The massive rally in stocks at the end of 2023 went into reverse on the first trading day of 2024. Photo by Julia Nikhinson/The Associated Press

The first trading day of the new year brought 2023’s scorching rally to a halt after a more than US$8-trillion surge in the S&P 500 last year.

Stocks and United States Treasuries dropped as traders trimmed their bets on interest-rate cuts and speculated that the recent rally has been overdone.

The Nasdaq composite slid 1.6 per cent in the tech-heavy benchmark’s biggest drop in about a month. Apple Inc. fell after an analyst at Barclays PLC warned that iPhone demand is cooling. Tesla Inc. reversed a premarket climb after leaving out closely watched Cybertruck delivery details from its quarterly production results. The 10-year Treasury yield rose nine basis points to 3.92 per cent.

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“It’s not uncommon for markets to pause to digest a bull run of the magnitude experienced in the fourth quarter just ended,” said Oppenheimer Asset Management’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus. “In fact it would appear to us to make good sense for markets to pause considering the run-up in stock prices.”

Bloomberg


9:20 a.m.

China’s BYD overtakes Tesla to become new No. 1 in global EV sales

The Tesla Inc. logo at a Tesla Motors Japan store in Tokyo.
The Tesla Inc. logo at a Tesla Motors Japan store in Tokyo. Photo by Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg

Tesla Inc. delivered more vehicles than expected in the fourth quarter as the Elon Musk-led company dropped behind China’s BYD Co. in global electric-car sales.

Tesla handed over 484,507 vehicles in the last three months, beating analysts’ average estimate for 483,173 deliveries. BYD sold 526,409 fully electric vehicles in the quarter to become the new No. 1 in EVs, driven mainly by its much broader lineup of cheaper models in China.

While Austin-based Tesla exceeded its target to deliver 1.8 million vehicles for the year, the carmaker came up well short of an upside scenario Musk touted 12 months ago. After the chief executive told analysts the company had the potential to produce two million cars, a series of price cuts failed to stoke enough demand to support that much output.

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Tesla shares rose about one per cent before the start of regular trading Tuesday in New York. The stock soared 102 per cent last year, rebounding from a record loss in 2022 linked to Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the social media company now known as X.

The change in EV sales rankings reflects China’s growing clout in the global automotive industry. After surpassing the United States, South Korea and Germany the last few years, China may have overtaken Japan as the world’s largest passenger-car exporter in 2023.

Bloomberg


8:20 a.m.

Bitcoin tops $45,000 for first time in 2 years

Bitcoin has risen almost 20 per cent since the start of December.
Bitcoin has risen almost 20 per cent since the start of December. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Bitcoin surpassed US$45,000 for the first time in nearly two years as anticipation of an approval of an exchange-traded fund investing directly in the biggest token intensified.

The cryptocurrency jumped as much as 5.2 per cent to its highest level since April 2022 and traded at US$45,443 as of 7 a.m. New York time. Other tokens also advanced with Ether, the second biggest, rising as much as 4.1 per cent.

Bitcoin has risen almost 20 per cent since the start of December as a Jan. 10 deadline for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to give its blessing for a spot ETF Bitcoin draws closer.

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There’s a fear of missing out among some traders in the U.S. and Europe ahead of the looming approval and investors have started “buying on January 1, first thing New Year’s morning,” said Hayden Hughes, co-founder of social-trading platform Alpha Impact.

Bloomberg


7:30 a.m.

Canada’s highest-paid CEOs break records, earn average $14.9 million in 2022

Canada's 100 highest-paid chief executives broke records with their compensation in 2022, a report says.
Canada’s 100 highest-paid chief executives broke records with their compensation in 2022, a report says. Photo by Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Canada’s 100 highest-paid chief executives broke records with their compensation in 2022, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“The data this year is breaking new all-time highs,” said senior economist David Macdonald.

The organization’s annual report found that the CEOs, most of them men, were paid an average of $14.9 million, up from an average of $14.3 million in 2021.

That’s $7,162 an hour, 246 times more than what the average Canadian worker makes. Before the second day of the new year is over, the average CEO has already made the average worker’s yearly salary, the report said.

That gap widened in 2022, as the average worker saw their pay rise three per cent while CEOs’ pay rose on average by 4.4 per cent. Meanwhile, prices rose by 6.8 per cent that year, the report said.

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“This is very much related to what’s happening to corporate profits in 2022, similar to what happened in 2021,” said Macdonald. “It is a similar story of inflation driving profits, profits driving bonuses, and CEOs reaping the rewards.”

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press

Read the full story here, and find out which CEOs made the most money.


7:30 a.m.

Stock markets before the opening bell

Stock chart, January 2, 2024

United States stock futures and Treasuries dropped as traders trimmed their bets on interest-rate cuts and speculated that the recent rally has been overdone.

Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq index lost one per cent as shares of Apple Inc. fell in U.S. premarket trading after a downgrade by Barclays PLC. Yields on 10-year U.S. bonds and German bunds added more than five basis points as money markets wagered on fewer than 150 basis points of easing by the United States Federal Reserve in 2024.

The price of Brent crude surged more than two per cent after Iran dispatched a warship in response to the U.S. Navy’s sinking of three Houthi boats over the weekend. More broadly, traders say there are signs of market exhaustion after a more than US$8-trillion surge in the S&P 500 last year.

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“We should expect some type of a consolidation, correction, or pullback — something,” John Roque, technical analyst at 22V Research, wrote in a note.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 0.14 per cent on Friday, the last trading day of 2023.

Bloomberg


What to watch today

The S&P Global Manufacturing PMI for December will be released for both Canada and the United States this morning. U.S. November construction spending is also due to be reported.

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Additional reporting by The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Bloomberg


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