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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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To half-quote Charles Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the not-quite-worst-of-times — but it sure was a wild ride. Today marks the end of a first half that equity investors probably can’t wait to put in the rear view (unless they’ve been long energy, or short just about everything else).

It’s almost hard to fathom that just about three months ago the S&P/TSX Composite Index was hitting new intraday and closing highs. Now, heading into final trading session of the quarter and half, the index is down 10.1 per cent for the year, with just one subgroup posting a meaningful gain: energy, which has rallied 25.2 per cent amid persistent worries of a supply crunch, which are being amplified today by the head of Shell and was top of mind for Eric Nuttall from Ninepoint Partners when he joined us yesterday afternoon (and predicted a “mind-blowing” quarter the next time the sector reports results).

Today it’s all about explaining what transpired in the first six months of 2022; and, more importantly, what to expect the rest of this year as recession fears swirl and as mid-term elections loom in the U.S. We’ll have plenty of insight throughout the day from investing professionals, including a special edition of Market Call at 12 p.m., when on will be joined by BNN Bloomberg long-time regular John Zechner, Patricia Perez-Coutts from Penderfund Capital Management, and BMO Global Asset Management Head of Fixed Income Earl Davis (get your questions in now via marketcall@bnnbloomberg.ca, and on Twitter @marketcall). And watch for Ian Vandaelle’s always-illuminating recap of the TSX’s performance at BNNBloomberg.ca

STATSCAN WARNS ECONOMY SHRANK LAST MONTH

Canada’s economic output rose 0.3 per cent in April, according to Statistics Canadas. That matched the median estimate among economists tracked by Bloomberg (and occurred despite the sharpest contraction in output from the real estate sector since April 2020). And it marked a sharp slowdown from March. But that’s all ancient history. The big story today is the data agency’s flash estimate suggesting the economy shrank 0.2 per cent in May. Makes you wonder if that might give the Bank of Canada pause about being too forceful on July 13.

IN CONVERSATION WITH WESTJET’S CEO

This promotes itself. There is a lot to cover when Alexis von Hoensbroech joins us shortly after 1 p.m. ET, particularly less than 24 hours after his Montreal-based rival said it’s planning a significant cut to its summer flight schedule as a result of the chaos that has beset the aviation industry in recent weeks.

OPEC+ HIKES OUTPUT

The cartel and its allies went ahead and hiked August output by another 648,000 barrels per day at their meeting today. The real suspense is what might occur at their next meeting, which will be happening after U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia in July. 

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • Canopy Growth announced a debt-for-equity swap with some of its convertible note holders (including Constellation Brands) after yesterday’s closing bell. In total, the pot producer said it is swapping $255.4 million in notes coming due next year for common shares and $3 million to cover interest payments. Canopy said Constellation alone will receive at least 21.9 million common shares for its participation in the exchange.
  • Meg Energy shaved 2,000 barrels per day from its production forecast for this year due to some unexpected challenges (that have now been resolved) at Christina Lake. Meg also trimmed some of its cost and expense outlooks for 2022, said it repaid $482 million in debt in the second quarter, and disclosed that it has thus far repurchased 4.45 million shares under a buyback program that was approved in March.
  • As if we needed it, a reminder that COVID-19 is still a threat: Pfizer and BioNTech announced after yesterday’s closing bells that the U.S. is paying US$3.2 billion to secure an additional 105 million doses of their vaccine (with options for another 195 million). A spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada told us Canada’s existing agreements with vaccine makers “provide flexibility” to secure second-generation doses.
  • Shares in RH (ie, Restoration Hardware) are sliding in pre-market trading after the home-furnishings retailer cut its full-year forecasts for revenue and operating margin as macroeconomic setbacks take a toll on consumer demand for its goods.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: Canadian GDP (April); U.S. initial jobless claims, personal spending and income, and PCE price deflator; China PMI
  • Notable earnings: Walgreens Boots Alliance, Constellation Brands
  • 1100: Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and government officials provide update on COVID-19
  • 1345: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland holds media avail in Newmarket, Ont., after visiting auto parts manufacturer Exco Engineering