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Noah Zivitz

Managing Editor, BNN Bloomberg

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How low – or high – could crude go? That debate is raging among top commodities strategists who are gaming out a wide range of scenarios. Today, Citigroup’s team is cautioning that West Texas Intermediate could tumble to US$65 this year, and US$45 next year, depending on the depth of a recession that seemingly everyone is fretting these days. Let’s put that in contrast with JPMorgan’s assessment last week that oil could rocket to US$380 per barrel if Russia retaliates against the West by curbing its output (a scenario that, as Whitecap Resources CEO Grant Fagerheim told us yesterday, would mean “all bets are off” for prices).

Let’s be clear: those are scenarios, not forecasts. But is there any more important story going for Canadian investors right now after a long stretch of seeing the energy group prop up the S&P/TSX Composite Index? We’ll chase down more views, and can’t wait to speak with two best-in-class commodities experts, when Francisco Blanch from BofA Global Research joins us at 9:40 a.m., followed by Helima Croft from RBC Capital Markets at 10:30 a.m.

MARKET WATCH

It’s back to regular trading today in the U.S., giving us a full breadth of North American activity for the first time since the calendar flipped to July. Futures are suggesting there will be a dip in New York at the opening bells. Any optimism spurred by reports that U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to ease some tariffs on imports from China was evidently fleeting. Credit to our Bloomberg News partners for pointing out China’s Commerce Ministry put out a statement today after Vice Premier Liu He spoke with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and stated Beijing’s concern about tariffs.

EYE ON THE SKIES

It wouldn’t be surprising if Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is grilled by reporters about the turmoil afflicting Canada’s aviation industry when she holds a Q&A this afternoon. We’ll keep tabs on that, and we’re also looking across the Atlantic today and south of the border, where there’s another reminder of the tough slog facing airlines trying to recover from COVID-19: Scandinavia’s SAS announced this morning it is seeking to restructure itself under the protection of U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the extra burden of a strike by its pilots’ union.   

OTHER NOTABLE STORIES

  • We’ll see the first full market reaction today after Bloomberg News reported late Friday afternoon that Toronto-Dominion Bank is studying a possible acquisition of U.S. brokerage Cowen. The report was cautious in not overstating this as a slam-dunk. As of about 6:45 a.m. this morning, Cowen shares were up 12 per cent in pre-market trading.
  • Any Market Call aficionado knows Barry Schwartz is a big fan of Constellation Software and its management team, in part because of the company’s M&A pedigree. So we’ll point out here that RBC Capital Markets Analyst Paul Treiber is out with a note on what he estimates to be a record first-half of deal activity for Constellation, with $1.2B deployed. And he indicated there’s more to come: “We believe the pullback in public software valuations increases the probability of a higher pace of acquisitions,” he wrote.
  • Canadian National Railway announced last night that it has agreed to binding arbitration with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, ending a strike by about 750 employees that was launched June 18. CN stated it maintained regular operations during the walkout, thanks to management and contractors who filled the void.  
  • Lululemon announced plans today to establish an on-the-ground and virtual presence in Spain, with the upcoming launch of a dedicated online portal in Spanish, as well as its first stores in Madrid and Barcelona. Lulu said this fits with its goal of quadrupling international revenue by 2026 (as compared to 2021 levels).
  • Hecla announced an agreement to take full ownership of Alexco Resource today in an all-stock deal that it says carries a 23 per cent premium to recent prices. Hecla said it’s also handing Wheaton Precious Metals US$135 million of common shares so that it can end a streaming arrangement at one of Alexco’s properties.

NOTABLE RELEASES/EVENTS

  • Notable data: Canadian building permits
  • Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver releases monthly sales data
  • 1030: Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson addresses St. John’s Board of Trade
  • 1330: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland holds media avail in Brampton, Ont., after visiting KJS Transport Inc