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Daily Pulse

Canada

Apollo Global Management Inc.’s bid for Great Canadian Gaming Corp. has hit more trouble, with a top shareholder publicly rejecting the deal and a major proxy advisory firm recommending investors turn down the US$2.5 billion offer. CI Financial Corp.’s global asset management unit, which holds 14 per cent of Great Canadian in various funds, said Wednesday that managers of those funds plan to vote against the offer. That announcement comes after Institutional Shareholder Services released a report recommending that investors reject it. The statement from CI signals that Apollo is unlikely to win enough votes to seal approval without increasing the bid. Bloomberg previously reported that CI managers didn’t like the price, citing people familiar with the matter. Other large shareholders including hedge fund BloombergSen Inc. and Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. are against the offer as well.

Price pressures in Canada accelerated in November to the fastest since February, led by shelter costs. Annual inflation accelerated to one per cent, compared with 0.7 per cent in October, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday in Ottawa. Economists had expected 0.8 per cent, the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Canada’s annual inflation rate remains well below the central bank’s two per cent target, consistent with policy makers’ view that price pressures will stay low for years as businesses damaged by the restrictions to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 struggle to raise prices. That said, the November reading was the strongest since the pandemic began, largely due to the effects of shelter costs, which contributed most to the increase.

United-States

Congressional leaders closed in on a $900 billion coronavirus relief deal Wednesday as millions of struggling Americans wait for help. The developing aid agreement would not include liability protections for businesses or aid to state and local government, CNBC confirmed. Disagreements over those two issues have blocked lawmakers from crafting a year-end rescue package. The measure would contain a direct payment to Americans in some amount, as well as enhanced federal unemployment insurance, NBC News reported. In addition, Republican Sen. This link will open in a new tab. Steve Daines of Montana told CNBC that the deal would have roughly $300 billion in small business aid including Paycheck Protection Program loans, money for Covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing and relief for hospitals. Congress has rushed to find consensus on legislation to fund the government and rescue a health-care system and economy buckling under the pandemic. If lawmakers fail to act, the government will shut down on Saturday, 12 million people will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas and millions more could face the threat of eviction.

The Fed said it will buy at least $120 billion of bonds each month This link will open in a new tab. “until substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals,” according to its post-meeting statement. The U.S. central bank also kept benchmark interest rates near zero, as expected, following the conclusion of its two-day meeting. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also said on Wednesday that This link will open in a new tab. stock prices are not necessarily highly priced given how low interest rates are.

Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19. The diagnosis was established “as soon as the first symptoms appeared,” Macron’s office said on Thursday. The brief statement did not provide any further details on the symptoms the president had experienced. “In accordance with the health instructions in force applicable to all, the President of the Republic will isolate himself for 7 days.” Macron, who turns 43 next week, will continue to work remotely, the statement added. The news of Macron’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis has prompted a number of other government officials to enter into a period of quarantine. French Prime Minister Jean Castex, 55, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, 48, and European Council President Charles Michel, 44, have all said they will now self-isolate after coming into contact with the president in recent days.

Asia

Australia’s unemployment rate in November was at 6.8%, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday. That compared against October’s 7% unemployment rate. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the unemployment rate in November to stay at 7%.

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.