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Daily Pulse

Canada

Canadian pension funds are seeking to boost their real estate investments, betting the slumping property market will recover as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and office workers and city dwellers return to downtown properties. Canadian pension funds held $278.7 billion in property assets in 2019, up 4% from 2018, according to the Pension Investment Association of Canada, making them the country’s largest real estate owners. In a world of slower economic growth, very low interest rates, volatility in equity markets, real estate offers an attractive opportunity for pension funds, which take a long-term investment horizon, say market participants. “We’re looking for buying opportunities,” said Hilary Spann, Head of Americas, Real Estate at CPP Investments, which manages $456.7 billion. CPP’s real estate portfolio generated 5.1% return for the year ended March 2020. CPP announced a U.S. joint venture with Greystar Real Estate Portfolio to build multiple separate housing units this month, a deal that was initiated pre-pandemic. In November, it signed an agreement with Hudson Pacific Properties to acquire an office tower in Seattle.

United-States

President Joe Biden will launch an array of initiatives on Thursday to rein in the raging coronavirus pandemic, tackling his top priority on his first full day in the White House as he tries to turn the page on Donald Trump’s tumultuous leadership. Biden will sign 10 executive orders to fight the pandemic, including ordering the use of disaster funds to help re-open schools and mandating the wearing of protective masks on planes and buses, officials said. The new Democratic president, who took the oath of office on Wednesday, has put the pandemic at the top of a daunting list of challenges he faces in his administration’s early days, including rebuilding a ravaged economy and addressing racial injustice.

This link will open in a new tab. United Airlines on Wednesday said it expects to surpass its pre-pandemic margins by 2023 but warned sales would suffer early this year as the This link will open in a new tab. Covid health crisis wears on. United swung to a net loss of $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter from a $641 million profit a year earlier. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 69% to $3.41 billion, below analysts’ estimates of $3.44 billion. The carrier’s full year net loss of $7.07 billion was the largest since 2005, according to FactSet. Here’s how United performed in the quarter, compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv: Adjusted earnings per share: a loss of $7 versus an expected loss of $6.60 a share; Revenue: $3.41 billion versus expected $3.44 billion in revenue.

Europe

British manufacturers expect a sharp fall in output in the three months ahead and there were widespread concerns about COVID and Brexit-related problems hindering the supply of components and materials, a survey showed on Thursday. The Confederation of British Industry’s quarterly measure of expected new orders fell to -17 compared with a reading of zero in the previous survey in October. New orders in the three months to January also fell to -12 from +3. Stockpiling picked up ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union’s single market on Dec. 31. Almost half of the manufacturers surveyed – the highest share since January 1975 – were worried that access to materials or components may limit their output over the quarter ahead.

Asia

This link will open in a new tab. Qualcomm’s market share of China’s smartphone chip market plunged in 2020 due to U.S. sanctions on Huawei, according to a new report. As a result, the country’s domestic mobile players turned to alternatives such as Taiwan’s This link will open in a new tab. MediaTek, according to CINNO Research. Last year, 307 million smartphone so-called system on chips (SOC) were shipped in China, down 20.8% year-on-year, the report said. Qualcomm’s shipments in China shrank 48.1% year-on-year, CINNO Research said without releasing details on the number of Qualcomm chips shipped. The U.S. giant’s market share in China fell to 25.4% in 2020 versus 37.9% in 2019.

The This link will open in a new tab. Bank of Japan on Thursday kept monetary policy steady. In a widely expected decision, the Japanese central bank kept its target for short-term interest rates at -0.1% and that for 10-year government bond yields at around 0%.

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.