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Daily Pulse

Canada

Canadian government customs provisions are expected to soften the blow on the country's powerful automotive industry from retaliatory tariffs on U.S. steel, according to trade lawyers and industry leaders bracing for higher costs. Decades-old programs reduce or refund import duties on supplies like steel when companies in Canada can show the material is used in export products. They could protect the auto industry's supply contracts covering raw materials and parts, which often cross borders several times before a vehicle is finished. While imposing tariffs against a long list of U.S. products this month, Canada clarified that "duties relief" and "duty drawback" programs would be available to Canadian exporters.

United-States

BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, reported on Monday second-quarter earnings and revenue that surpassed analyst expectations. BlackRock said its stronger-than-expected revenue was driven in part by base fees, performance fees and "technology services revenue," while its higher-than-forecast profit got a boost from a lower corporate tax rate. BlackRock's effective tax rate fell to 23.7 percent in the second quarter from 30.4 percent in the year-earlier period on an adjusted basis. The company's assets under management grew by 11 percent on a year-over-year basis, but still missed analyst expectations. CEO Larry Fink said the asset-management industry has been hit with a slowdown in flows "associated with investor uncertainty in the current market environment." Fink added in a statement, however, that "our dialogue with clients and opportunities to provide long-term solutions are more robust than ever before."

Bank of America said that second-quarter profit surged 33 percent to $6.8 billion, exceeding the $5.92 billion estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet. Revenue also beat expectations: The firm posted $22.6 billion in company-wide revenue, compared to the $22.3 billion forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. The figure declined 1 percent from a year earlier when the bank sold a U.K.-based credit-card business. Excluding that year ago-gain, revenue increased 3 percent. The company's earnings per share surged 43 percent to 63 cents per share, beating the 57 cent per share estimate.

Europe

Strong industrials and expectations for a better earnings season helped European shares make hesitant gains on Monday while data showing slowing economic growth from China kept a lid on the market's progress. The pan-European STOXX 600 climbed 0.2 percent, while Germany's DAX, which is heavily exposed to China, inched up 0.1 percent. Basic resources .SXPP and autos .SXAP stocks were the worst-performing sectors as both rely on solid growth in China, whose economy grew 6.7 percent in the second quarter, cooling from 6.8 percent registered in the previous three quarters.

Asia

Japan's Nikkei surged to three-week highs on Friday, helped by a weaker yen and gains from index-heavy stock Fast Retailing after it jumped on the back of strong third-quarter results. Tech shares also attracted buyers after tracking strength in their U.S. counterparts, which sent the Nasdaq index to a record high. The Nikkei share average soared 1.9 percent to end at 22,597.35, its strongest close since June 21. The benchmark index gained 3.7 percent for the week to snap a three-week losing streak. It was the biggest weekly gain since late March.

The author

Michel Doucet

Michel Doucet

Vice-President and Portfolio Manager
After obtaining a Bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Université du Québec in Montréal and his Master’s degree, Michel Doucet began his career as a junior economist at the National Bank head office in Montreal. In 1992 he joined the institutional equities and fixed income group at Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion as an economist and market analyst. Over the years, he has led various projects related to the North American and international economies as well as Canadian public finances. In 1996, the team of institutional economists to which he belongs was ranked first in Canada by Brendan Wood International. In August 1997, Mr. Doucet joined the personal services division of Lévesque Beaubien Geoffrion where he served as an economist, fixed income market analyst and vice president. In 2004, he joined the Desjardins Securities full service team as Vice President. He now occupies the roles of fixed income strategist, economist and portfolio manager. He manages the Securities Portfolio Advisory Group, advisor marketing and distribution of financial planning and insurance.