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Daily Pulse

Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is overhauling Canada’s drug-pricing regime for the first time in more than 30 years, a move that could cost drugmakers billions in sales and raise the stakes in a U.S. debate over prescription costs. Trudeau, who is trying to fend off a conservative challenger in an election in October, has pushed through new regulations to drop the U.S. from a basket of countries Canada uses to cap domestic drug prices. The move is part of a wider revamp that marks “the biggest step to lower drug prices in a generation,” said Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. climbed in late trading after raising its annual profit forecast yet again and posting another quarter of brisk sales growth, showing the yogawear maker is still avoiding the weakness that’s pummeled other North American apparel retailers. Comparable sales – a closely watched measure in the industry – rose 17 per cent on a constant-currency basis in the latest quarter, above the 12 per cent estimate compiled by Consensus Metrix. The result marks the seventh straight quarter it’s been above 10 per cent – a rare achievement in retail. Lululemon now sees profit of US$4.63 to US$4.70 a share this year, 12 cents more than its previous forecast, despite earlier warnings that increased use of air freight will trim margins.

United-States

Watch out Wall Street, Facebook Inc. is coming for your engineers. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant plans to double its headcount in New York City, aiming to hire more than 3,000 people over the next three to five years, according to a company spokesman. About half of its existing staff in the city are engineers, or some 1,600, and poaching such workers from the finance sector is “quite common” at Facebook, he said. The expansion could set up Facebook for a clash with some of the biggest firms in finance, like Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is looking to recruit more than 100 coders for tech-related roles over the next few months in its biggest hiring spree in years. Goldman has said it plans to raid rivals in technology and finance.

State attorneys general are formally launching separate antitrust probes into Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google unit starting next week, according to people familiar with the matter, putting added pressure on tech giants already under federal scrutiny.

Europe

Opposition parties will deny Prime Minister Boris Johnson an early general election in a Parliament vote on Monday, as they seek to ensure the U.K. can’t tumble out of the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31. That makes an election unlikely until November at the earliest.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that Germany remained open to business even as her government raises barriers to investments in sensitive areas. Germany’s tightened investment rules are meant to vet outside investors in strategic sectors, Merkel told reporters at a joint press conference with her Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Friday at the start of a two-day visit to China. Li pledged that China would further open its economy.

Asia

China’s central bank said it will cut the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves, injecting liquidity into an economy facing renewed headwinds to growth. The required reserve ratio for all banks will be lowered by 0.5 percentage points, taking effect on Sept. 16, the People’s Bank of China said on its website Friday. The PBOC also cut the RRR by one percentage point for some city commercial banks, to take effect in two steps on Oct. 15 and Nov. 15. The cuts will release 900 billion yuan ($126 billion) of liquidity, it said.

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.