Today’s top stories
Lululemon strikes five-year partnership with Peloton for content, apparel
Lululemon Athletica Inc. says it has struck a five-year partnership with Peloton Interactive Inc.
The deal will make Vancouver-based Lululemon the primary athletic apparel partner of Peloton, while New York-based Peloton will be the exclusive digital fitness content provider to Lululemon.
As part of the collaboration, some Peloton instructors will become Lululemon ambassadors, while Lululemon will sell co-branded clothing.
Subscribers to Lululemon’s digital services will also get access to various levels of Peloton digital classes, depending on their payment tier.
The deal comes as Lululemon moves to discontinue selling its digital fitness screen called the Studio Mirror and wind down its digital app-only membership.
Peloton, meanwhile, has had a rocky stretch that saw its founder step down as CEO last year. The company is working to rebrand as a health technology company.
The Canadian Press
Market close: TSX down even as energy stocks climb with price of oil
Canada’s main stock index declined by more than 100 points despite strength in energy stocks as the price of oil climbed higher, which wasn’t enough to offset broad-based losses.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 120.17 points at 19,435.98.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 68.61 points at 33,550.27. The S&P 500 index was up 0.98 of a point at 4,274.51, while the Nasdaq composite was up 29.24 points at 13,092.85.
The Canadian Press
Ottawa rolls out voluntary code of conduct for AI as ’fear’ persists over its use
The federal government unfurled a voluntary code of conduct for generative AI, as anxiety persists over its proliferation and pace of development.
The self-imposed safeguards will “build safety and trust as the technology spreads,” Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told a crowd of techies at the All In artificial intelligence conference in Montreal. So far, executives from a dozen Canadian companies and organizations have signed on, including BlackBerry Ltd., OpenText Corp. and Telus Corp.
The document lays out measures businesses can take when working in advanced generative AI — the algorithmic engine behind chatbots such as San Francisco-based OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can spit out anything from term papers to psychotherapy.
The measures range from screening datasets for potential biases to assessing for potential “malicious use of the system.” They also align with six key principles that include equity, transparency and human oversight.
“We have witnessed technology advancing at what I would say is lightning speed,” Champagne said.
“The mission we should give ourselves is to move from fear to opportunities.”
The Canadian Press
Canadian cannabis companies cheer as Senate committee advances cannabis finance reforms in U.S.
Canadian cannabis companies are cheering a Senate committee’s decision today to push forward with easing federal financing restrictions on the U.S. industry.
The Senate banking committee voted 14-9 to send the SAFER Banking Act for a full vote on the Senate floor, although it is still unclear when that vote will happen.
The bill is just the latest version of a long-standing effort to make it easier for cannabis companies that operate legally under state laws to access federally regulated financial services.
Advocates say the bill would make the industry, much of which is forced to operate on a cash-only basis in the U.S., safer and less prone to money laundering, tax fraud and armed robbery.
Omar Khan, senior vice-president of corporate and public affairs for Calgary-based retailer High Tide Inc., calls today’s vote a “milestone” for U.S. cannabis reform.
Cannabis companies in Canada, where marijuana has been legal since 2018, are anxiously looking forward to reforms in the U.S. that would allow them to expand stateside.
The Canadian Press
Alberta energy regulator followed rules in Imperial’s Kearl mine release
A third-party report into the release of millions of litres of oilsands wastewater at Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Kearl mine has found Alberta’s energy regulator followed all its rules and procedures in keeping the public and area First Nations informed.
The report by Deloitte recommends a number of improvements to communications protocols, such as including Indigenous people in the notification process.
The review was commissioned by the regulator’s board after two large releases of wastewater from the mine.
One release was spotted and reported in May 2022 as discoloured water.
First Nations were notified but not given further updates until March, when the release was disclosed as tailings seepage, along with news of a second release of 5.3 million litres of contaminated wastewater.
Area First Nations were furious and said their members had been harvesting in the area for nine months without being told of possible contamination.
The report looks at the regulator’s communications and doesn’t examine Imperial’s actions.
The releases are also the subject of a federal investigation under the Fisheries Act.
The Canadian Press
UAW threatens to strike at more auto plants Friday
The United Auto Workers union plans to expand its strike on Detroit’s legacy automakers on Friday if there isn’t major progress in negotiations.
The announcement would be made at 10 a.m. on Sept. 29 in a Facebook Live event hosted by UAW president Shawn Fain, the union said. The deadline for a strike expansion would be noon that day.
On Sept. 15, the UAW began a walkout at plants operated by General Motors Co., Stellantis NV and Ford Motor Co. — the first time all three carmakers were targeted at the same time. A week later, the union expanded the strike to 38 more GM and Stellantis plants. Ford was spared an escalation after making progress in the negotiations.
Costco cake resellers in Mexico are making up to $1,700 in 4 days
People are buying Costco cakes and pies in Mexico and reselling them in slices, with some saying they’re netting up to US$1,700 over just four days of sales.
While the retailer’s desserts have long been popular, they’ve become hot trends in social media, adding to demand. The craze over the baked goods has led some Costco Wholesale Corp. stores to limit to five the amount of cakes a single person can buy. Resellers sometimes spend the night outside the stores, waiting as long as 12 hours for opening time, according to a report by Televisa’s N+ Media on “Costconomics.”
Ana, one of the resellers interviewed in the report, is part of a WhatsApp group of 15 people who take turns heading to Costco to stand in line and save a spot for the others. Depending on how much she invests in the pies and what additions she makes to them, she can net as much as 30,000 pesos (US$1,692) over a four-day stretch, she said. Another reseller, Karen, said she pays for her chemotherapy with the money she earns from the pies.
The fad has led to fights inside some stores, long lines and disgruntled customers who just want to buy a pie for their kid’s birthday. “I’ve received plenty of criticism for doing this,” Ana said in the video. “But the truth is, we’re all just looking for a way to get some money.”
Pipestone shareholders approve merger with Strathcona Resources
Shareholders of Pipestone Energy Corp. have voted to approve a merger with Strathcona Resources Ltd.
Shareholders voted in favour Wednesday of a proposal which will see privately held Strathcona buy them out in an all-stock deal, creating a combined company with an initial market capitalization of $8.6 billion.
The deal means Strathcona will go public.
The Calgary-based companies say the merger will create what will be the fifth largest oil producer in Canada, with production of 185,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
The merged company will retain the Strathcona Resources name and will be led by Strathcona executive chair Adam Waterous and current chief executive Rob Morgan.
The merger is expected to close Oct. 3.
The Canadian Press
Stocks slip into red by midday
Canada’s main stock index was down in late-morning trading amid strength in energy stocks as the price of oil climbing higher wasn’t enough to offset losses led by the telecom and utility sectors.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 69.22 points at 19,486.93.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 64.10 points at 33,554.78. The S&P 500 index was down 0.60 of a point at 4,272.93, while the Nasdaq composite was up 19.16 points at 13,082.77.
The Canadian dollar traded for 74.02 U.S. cents, unchanged from Tuesday.
The November crude contract was up US$2.92 at US$93.31 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was up seven cents at US$2.92 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was down US$18.40 at US$1,901.40 an ounce and the December copper contract was down less than a penny at US$3.65 a pound.
The Canadian Press
Bank of Canada won’t cut interest rates until third quarter of 2024: BMO
Bank of Montreal economists have updated their central bank forecasts and reduced interest rate cuts on both sides of the border next year from 75 basis points to 50.
The bank now forecasts the Bank of Canada will keep its policy rate at 5 per cent until it cuts to 4.75 per cent in the third quarter of 2024, and then to 4.5 per cent in the fourth.
In its previous forecast in August, BMO had expected the first rate cut in the second quarter of the year and a lower rate of 4.25 per cent by year end.
BMO deputy-chief economist Michael Gregory said the change “reflects the theme of ‘higher for longer’ amid continued economic resiliency (but less so now in Canada) and inflation stubbornness.”
The bank still believes the Bank of Canada has done hiking, though “it remains a close call” and is highly data dependant.
Stock markets tick up at open
Stocks are edging higher after a sharp September swoon.
The S&P 500 was 0.4 per cent higher in early trading, a day after dropping 1.5 per cent to its lowest level since June. The Dow was up 53 points, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.5 per cent higher. Canada’s TSX was up about 18 points, or 0.9 per cent.
Treasury yields have eased back from their decade-highs, giving stocks some air.
Oil prices continued to rise, with WTI up two per cent at US$92.26.
Wealthsimple to break ground by joining Interac
Fintech Wealthsimple said today it is set to join Interac Corp. service as the e-tranfer company expands the range of financial institutions that use its service.
Under the new rules, organizations that are both FINTRAC-regulated money service businesses and investment dealers regulated by the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization can apply to become participants. The move expands access beyond federally regulated banks and provincially regulated credit unions.
Wealthsimple said it will become the first securities dealer to join.
“Joining the Interac e-Transfer service is both a milestone for the company, and also a sign of our commitment to being a leader in Canadian financial services.” Michael Katchen, Wealthsimple CEO.
Financial Post and Canadian Press
Canada’s population just keeps growing
Canada’s population growth continues to break records, rising at a pace not seen since 1957 at the height of the baby boom and the Hungarian refugee crisis.
Statistics Canada reports today that the population has grown by 1,158,705 people from July 2022 to July 2023 — a 2.9 per cent increase. Total population is now estimated at 40,097,761.
“If the rate of population growth seen this past year remained constant in the future, it would lead to the Canadian population doubling in 25 years,” the agency said.
Britain approves biggest new North Sea oilfield in years
Britain has approved one of its biggest new oil and gas projects in years, saying energy security was the priority despite opposition from environmentalists.
The go-ahead for Equinor’s controversial North Sea Rosebank field today comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak watered down interim plans for the government’s 2050 net zero emissions target, a move that critics said could also encourage other countries to rein in their climate ambitions.
The field is located about 130 kilometres northwest of the Shetland Islands, with total recoverable resources estimated at around 300 million barrels of oil, according to Equinor’s website. Its crude will be transported to refineries by shuttle tankers and the gas will be shipped to mainland Scotland by pipeline.
“We will need oil and gas as part of that mix on the path to net zero and so it makes sense to use our own supplies from North Sea fields such as Rosebank,” U.K. Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said in a statement.
Bloomberg and Reuters
TD rolls out accessibility tool to ease web browsing
Toronto Dominion Bank launched an online tool today with the goal of making life easier for people who struggle with online environments.
The TD Accessibility Adapter tool — which the bank announced will be made available to the general public for free — is a browser plug-in that enables users to personalize features based on their online needs.
It includes features such as reading guides, adjustable font size, dark mode, a dyslexia-friendly font and monochrome mode. The tool changes what appears on the browser itself without using overlays and can co-exist with other assistive technologies, such as standalone screen magnification software.
Denise Paglinawan, Financial Post
Joe Biden backs UAW pay demands on picket line
You don’t see this very often.
United States President Joe Biden backed the United Auto Workers’ demand for a major wage increase with a personal visit to a picket line at a General Motors Co. plant in suburban Detroit — a historic show of solidarity with organized labour.
“Stick with it,” Biden said through a bullhorn Tuesday in Belleville, Michigan, encouraging autoworkers striking against GM, Ford Motor Co., and Stellantis NV. “You deserve what you earned, and you earned a hell of a lot more than what you’re getting paid now.”
The strike, now on its 12th day, centres on benefits, representation and the president’s own clean-energy push. Biden, joined by UAW President Shawn Fain, donned a black union cap and shook hands with workers on the picket line.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for coming to stand up with us in our generation’s defining moment,” said Fain, who rode with Biden in the presidential motorcade to the picket line.
The union has reduced its demands in negotiations for pay raises to 36 per cent.
The visit comes a day before former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, also heads to Michigan. The duelling events highlight how the strike and battle for union support have become a 2024 flashpoint.
Canadian autoworkers have begun negotiations with GM after reaching an agreement with Ford, earlier this month.
Stock markets: Before the opening bell
Stock futures are inching up after a sharp decline yesterday that has September on track to be the worst month of the year for equities.
Worries that the United States Federal Reserve would keep interest rates high for longer than expected helped push the S&P 500 down 1.5 per cent yesterday — its fifth loss in six days. Dow industrials was down 1.1 per cent and Nasdaq composite 1.6 per cent.
Canada’s TSX fell 1.2 per cent.
The Fed isn’t investors’ only worry. Higher energy costs and a looming U.S. government shutdown are also weighing on sentiment.
Crude oil prices rose, adding to worries about inflation. Today a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude is up $1 at US$91.39.
What to watch
Canada’s population estimates for the second-quarter come out today. In the previous quarter population swelled 3.1 per cent from the year before. The 1.2 million newcomers was the biggest jump since the 1950s.
Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Faith Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, hold a bilateral meeting.
Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors Minister Devin Dreeshen will travel to Washington, D.C., New Hampshire and Toronto to discuss expanding cross-border economic corridors.
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Additional reporting by The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Bloomberg