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Daily Pulse

Canada

Canada's competition watchdog said it will not take further action on conspiracy allegations surrounding a deal between Postmedia and Torstar. The Competition Bureau announced Thursday that it has closed its investigation into Postmedia Inc. and Torstar Corp.'s deal to swap 41 newspapers. The deal, quickly followed by the closure of 36 of the papers, raised concerns it violated the Competition Act. The regulator has been reviewing evidence since November 2017, including sending officers to search Toronto offices of Postmedia, Torstar and its Metroland Media Group subsidiary and examine six current or former Torstar workers under oath. But the Competition Bureau said that no further action was warranted on Postmedia and Torstar's deal, which affected mostly community and daily newspapers in eastern and southern Ontario. Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with subsidiaries of the Globe and Mail and Montreal's La Presse.

United-States

President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted, for the first time in his own words, that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration would take charge on Jan. 20. Without mentioning Biden by name, Trump in a nearly three-minute video said “a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th.” Trump, who had repeatedly vowed never to concede to Biden, backed dozens of fruitless lawsuits and flooded his Twitter account with baseless claims of voter fraud. His refusal to accept the election results culminated in a deadly riot on Wednesday, when This link will open in a new tab. swarms of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and derailed congressional proceedings to tally electors’ votes and confirm Biden’s win.

This link will open in a new tab. Pfizer and This link will open in a new tab. BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine appeared to work against a key mutation in the highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus discovered in the U.K. and South Africa, according to a laboratory study conducted by the U.S. drugmaker. The not-yet peer reviewed study by Pfizer and scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch indicated the vaccine was effective in neutralizing virus with the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein.

Boeing Co. agreed to pay US$2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it defrauded the U.S. government by concealing information about the ill-fated 737 Max that was involved in two fatal crashes. The U.S. planemaker entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in the Northern District of Texas on Thursday, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Europe

This link will open in a new tab. Credit Suisse on Friday said it expects to book a net loss for its fourth quarter after increasing its provisions for a long-running dispute in the United States by $850 million. The bank had already set aside $300 million in connection with the case which relates to a decade-long dispute regarding a U.S. residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS), but said in December it expected the figure to rise. The bank, which reported a net profit of 852 million Swiss francs ($962.28 million)in the fourth quarter of 2019, is due to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 18. In addition to the profit warning, the Swiss bank gave an update on its December trading, which it said had continued to run at levels similar to those it outlined at its investor day on Dec. 15. It said its wealth management business was seeing stronger year-on-year activity, particularly in Asia, which had helped offset the translational effect of the stronger Swiss franc and pressure on its net interest income.

Asia

Shares of Hyundai Motor surged 19% after the South Korean automaker said it was in early-stage talks with This link will open in a new tab. Apple over potentially working together to develop an electric car. “We understand that Apple is in discussion with a variety of global automakers, including Hyundai Motor. As the discussion is at its early stage, nothing has been decided,” a representative from Hyundai Motor told CNBC’s Chery Kang. The statement followed a local report from the Korea Economic Daily that said Apple suggested the tie-up and Hyundai Motor was reviewing the terms. The report said both electric vehicle production as well as battery development were included in the proposal, and that the car could potentially be released in 2027. Apple declined to comment on the report.

Samsung Electronics on Friday said its operating profit for the quarter that ended in December likely rose 26% from a year ago to 9 trillion Korean won ($8.22 billion). It was mostly in line with analysts’ estimate of 9.1 trillion won, according to Refinitiv SmartEstimate. Samsung Electronics shares in South Korea jumped 7.12% on Friday. The company said its fourth-quarter consolidated sales likely came in at 61 trillion won, up almost 2% from a year earlier. Samsung did not break down how each business unit performed including its main profit-making semiconductor business. Full results for the December quarter are due later this month.

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.