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Big Six Bank Earnings in Focus After Volatile Week in Canada

By Divya Balji

(Bloomberg) Investors will turn their focus to the first two of the Big Six banks to report fiscal third-quarter results after a week that roiled Canada’s equity and bond markets.

The nation’s biggest lenders make up about 23% of the S&P/TSX Composite Index and on an average total return basis, the eight-company S&P/TSX Commercial Banks Index has been a laggard compared with Canada’s main stock stock gauge this year — which has gained about 15% including dividends.

“We are trimming our forecasts for the second time in the last month,” Eight Capital analyst Steve Theriault said in an Aug. 14 report, citing weak capital market trends and margin pressure.

Banks are expected to report on average a 6% increase in adjusted earnings per share compared with the prior year, according analysts at firms including Eight Capital and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Royal Bank of Canada kicks off the reporting season on Wednesday and CIBC the following day.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Ebrahim Poonawala was also cautious. “We find it hard to imagine that the operating outlook for the banks will be immune to a worsening macro backdrop,” he said. “We are cautious on the group as the risk/reward equation is not stacking up attractively.”

On the economic data front, inflation numbers are due this week, along with retail, wholesale and manufacturing sales.

Global macroeconomic turmoil, geopolitical unrest and a domestic political scandal took center stage last week, in a month that’s typically quiet for Canada as investors escape to cottage getaways, camping weekends and long road trips.

Here’s our weekly wrap of what happened in Canada last week.

Markets — Just The Numbers

The superlatives are endless: volatility on the S&P/TSX Composite Index surged to levels unseen in more than seven months. Canada joined the yield curve inversion brouhaha with the gap between the 2-year and the 10-year bond turning the most negative since 1990 and the loonie weakened against the greenback amid all the trade angst.

Foreigners sold C$5.14 billion ($3.87 billion) of bonds, and C$1.1 billion of stocks and investment fund shares, according to Statistics Canada.


  • Canadian stocks posted a weekly loss despite a 0.9% climb Friday, taking this month into the red for now. That’s pretty unusual for the month of August — in the past 10 years, the benchmark index closed in the green in August 70% of the time.


  • Canada 30-year bond yields reached the lowest on record Thursday, sliding to 1.289%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield was at 1.43% early Monday.


  • Broader U.S. dollar strength put the Canadian dollar lower by 0.4% versus the greenback — that’s about the middle of the pack of major currencies. It’s worth noting that the loonie has picked up from its August low, and remains the second-strongest currency among Group of 10 nations this year.


Pot stocks had another wild week (read more in Cannabis Weekly) and tech was in the limelight.

Lightspeed POS Inc. plunged after three of its main shareholders announced they were reducing their stakes in the company. It also scrapped a planned treasury offering of 1.16 million shares, citing market conditions. Click here to read more on Canada’s burgeoning tech sector.

In the energy space, Just Energy Group Inc. wiped out about half its value in two days after a dividend suspension and profit-forecast cut. The stock’s record slump has analysts focused on whether the company will be an attractive takeover candidate.

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