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Daily Pulse

Canada

Ameriprise Financial Inc., CI Financial Corp. and the private equity firms GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners are weighing second-round bids for Wells Fargo & Co.’s asset management arm, according to people familiar with the matter. The offers are due later this month, said one of the people, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Wells Fargo may whittle down the auction to one or two suitors after the next round, depending on how good the offers are, the person said. A final decision hasn’t been made and the firms could decide not to proceed with bids, the people said. The asset management division could fetch more than US$3 billion, people familiar with the matter said in October. CI Financial, based in Toronto, entered the U.S. wealth management market by acquiring interests in several registered investment advisers this year, according to its website.

The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says things are on track for her department to approve a second vaccine for COVID-19 very soon. Dr. Supriya Sharma says things "look positive" for the vaccine from U.S. biotech firm Moderna but there are still some outstanding manufacturing documents needed before the decision can be made. Ongoing reviews of two more vaccines are less certain, with AstraZeneca's potentially needing more study before Health Canada is ready to make a decision, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate's review still in the very early stages.

United States

Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer face pressure to allow a vote on a Covid-19 assistance plan without the aid for states they’ve said is vital, after a bipartisan group split that and liability protections from other relief spending. With the congressional session winding down and a government funding package needed by Friday, time is running out for an agreement on the two most contentious and partisan pandemic-relief issues – Covid-19 liability protections for employers and aid for state and local governments. A bipartisan group that had floated a $908 billion plan at the start of the month offered it up in two bills on Monday, with a $748 billion core piece separate from $160 billion in state and local aid and liability protection.

Europe

European stocks were mixed on Tuesday morning as post-Brexit trade deal negotiations and the latest coronavirus developments continue to dominate market attention. Coronavirus developments are also weighing on market sentiment with Germany and the Netherlands announcing tighter restrictions over Christmas in a bid to curb a sharp rise in infections. On Monday, the U.K. government announced that London is to move into England’s highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions. It cited increased infection rates that may be partly linked to a new variant of the coronavirus that could be spurring a rise in cases in southern England. Negotiations between the EU and U.K. aimed at reaching a post-Brexit trade deal continue to dominate market sentiment. There seemed to be some positive momentum to talks on Monday with Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, saying there was some “movement” over sticking points.

Asia

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were lower on Tuesday as concerns over a coronavirus surge in multiple countries dulled optimism over the vaccine rollout in the U.S. China’s industrial production grew 7% year-on-year in November, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics announced Tuesday. That was in line with expectations from a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, retail sales in China increased 5% in November as compared with a year ago, missing forecasts for a 5.2% increase by analysts in a Reuters poll.

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.