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Daily Pulse

Canada

Canadian mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fell to a nine-year low in 2020 as the pandemic put brakes on companies’ growth strategies, but bankers expect the pickup in deal-making in the fourth quarter to revive activity this year. The arrival of multiple COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 are expected to improve public confidence in an economic recovery and revive deal-making, say bankers. Market stability and continued access to capital that led to a resurgence in transactions in the second half of the year is expected to continue. Over $158.7 billion worth of M&A deals were announced in 2020, making it the slowest year since 2011, compared with $234 billion in the previous year, data from Refinitiv showed.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada's ban on flights from the United Kingdom will expire tonight at midnight. Garneau says a new set of rules that require passengers returning from abroad to show proof of negative COVID-19 test results will prevent the spread of the virus across borders. Canada halted most air travel from the U.K. on Dec. 20, where a mutated strain of COVID-19 had been discovered. Garneau says passengers must take the PCR test – distinct from a rapid test – less than 72 hours before takeoff, or 96 hours in the cases of two dozen countries, mainly in the Caribbean.

United-States

President Donald Trump, minutes after Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College Victory and hours after Trump supporters broke into the Capitol, pledged “an orderly transition” “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement posted on Twitter by his aide Dan Scavino early Thursday morning. Trump’s statement came as staff resign and as congressional allies have abandoned him in the aftermath of a mob of his supporters laying siege to the Capitol on Wednesday. Trump had repeated his pledge that he would never concede at a rally earlier Wednesday.

Democrat Jon Ossoff beat Republican David Perdue in one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs, NBC News projected Wednesday, sealing his party’s control of Congress and the White House. This link will open in a new tab. Democrat Raphael Warnock is projected to defeat GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the state’s other runoff, a special election to serve in the Senate through 2022. The victories set up a 50-50 split in the Senate, giving Democrats a slim majority with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote. Democrats will have unified control of Capitol Hill and the White House for at least the first two years of President-elect Joe Biden’s term. Biden can pursue a broader agenda on issues including This link will open in a new tab. coronavirus relief, health care and infrastructure. His nominees for Cabinet spots and court seats will also have an easier time getting through the Senate.

Europe

French IT consulting group Atos SE has made a takeover approach to buy U.S. rival DXC Technology and values the NYSE-listed business at more than $10 billion, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Atos is working with advisers on a possible deal for DXC, a former Hewlett Packard Enterprise unit, and made a formal approach earlier this week, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is confidential. Discussions are still at a preliminary stage and there is no certainty that a deal will be agreed, they said. If successful, a tie-up with DXC would boost Atos’ presence in the United States, giving it access to a wide range of clients and B2B products including analytics and cloud applications as well as IT outsourcing services.

Economic sentiment in the euro zone ticked up last month but inflation held in negative territory before what is likely to be a slow rise this year as some tax cuts are reversed, oil prices rise and the economy starts to recover. Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro was unchanged at minus 0.3% in December, Eurostat data showed on Thursday, underperforming analyst expectations for a minus 0.2% reading but broadly in line with the European Central Bank’s own projections. With the economy likely shrinking again in the fourth quarter and inflation below zero since August, the ECB already approved a new package of stimulus measures in December, extending copious asset buys well into 2022 to insulate an economy likely to face permanent damage from the pandemic.

Asia

Shares of Chinese telecommunications firms listed in Hong Kong fell after the New York Stock Exchange made This link will open in a new tab. yet another U-turn on its decision to delist the firms. Trading of the three securities will be suspended at 4 p.m. ET Monday, the exchange said. By the Thursday market close in Hong Kong, shares of This link will open in a new tab. China Mobile in the city plunged 7.18%, while China Unicom fell 11.35% and This link will open in a new tab. China Telecom declined 9.38%. Those developments came following days of uncertainty after U.S. President This link will open in a new tab. Donald Trump signed an executive order that sought to bar American firms and individuals from investing in firms that the administration alleged aid the Chinese military.

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.