It's jobs day in North America!

Your top financial and economic news for Nov. 7


The Globe and Mail’s Tavia Grant hits on something that’s in the best interests of all Canadians: the need to improve our labour market information.

Temporary foreign workers. Unpaid interns. Current jobless rates on Aboriginal reserves.

These are just a few examples of the known unknowns in Canada’s labour market – statistical gaps in our knowledge about how people are faring in the jobs market…

Reliable, complete and up-to-date labour market data is a crucial component of government policy, influencing everything from educational priorities to immigration.

Yet, fallout from faulty or missing labour market information has made headlines on a number of issues this year alone.

On the homefront

TSX 60 futures are moving modestly lower ahead of the open.


The loonie is softening against the greenback to hover around 0.874.


Canadian job figures on deck. At 8:30am (EST), Statistics Canada will release the results of October’s Labour Force Survey. This print comes amid the gloomy announcements of major job cuts from Scotiabank (BNS) and SNC-Lavalin (SNC) recently, and remarks from the governor of the Bank of Canada that reinforced the plight of young Canadians in the labour market. But none of that matters. Those pink slips weren’t handed out in October, and when it comes to Poloz, his more relevant comments on the subject are that the process of getting back to full employment is going to be a long one, and will require a marked uptick in business investment. Canada hasn’t booked back-to-back months of job growth in 2014 and if economists are right, this trend will continue. After employment growth exceeded expectations by a big margin in September, the consensus estimate is for the nation to lose 5,000 jobs in October with the unemployment rate ticking up to 6.9 per cent. A month of solid job growth wouldn’t change the broader trends by too much, but some green shoots in this department would certainly be nice to see.

UPDATE: Canadian job growth crushed expectations in October.


Valeant’s takeover attempt hits snag. Shares of the Canadian pharma company weakened substantially on Thursday after Allergan, the company it’s trying to purchase, revealed that it was in talks with another party. Bloomberg soon reported that this other player was Actavis, which had long been rumoured to be mulling over the idea of entering the fray. We spoke with Aegis Capital analyst Ram Selvaraju to get a handle on how the game changes for Valeant now that a competing bid may be on the verge of materializing.


Earnings. A number of companies release quarterly results on Friday, including Athabasca Oil (ATH), Brookfield Asset Management (BAM.A), Fortis (FTS), and Canexus (CUS).

Daily dispatches

U.S. non-farm payroll growth is expected to total 235,000, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5.9 per cent.


Russians are looking to ditch as many rubles as possible. The state-owned TACC reports that two of the country’s banks are seeing retail demand for foreign currencies surge as the ruble has weakened significantly in the past couple of weeks.


Mario Draghi did a masterful job of messaging and keeping the euro on its back foot yesterday, says IG chief market strategist Chris Weston. “You can’t deny that Mario Draghi has done a first-class job in quashing talk of a strong internal war behind the scenes,” he writes. “The other key point is that the balance sheet will also be taken to similar levels seen in March 2012. So while Mr. Draghi didn’t specify that the ECB are going to buy €1 trillion of assets, he may as well have and this should keep the euro on its weakening trend.”


German industrial production rose by 1.4 per cent month-over-month in September, a smaller advance than economists were looking for. However, after a revision, the prior month’s dropoff wasn’t as bad as originally feared. Meanwhile, industrial production in France was flat on the month. While not that impressive, that’s better than the slight decline economists had forecast.


Apple can borrow money at a lower rate than the U.S. government, writes Business Insider’s Myles Udland. This state of affairs might puzzle a number of people. Last I checked, Tim Cook didn’t have access to a printing press; it isn’t intuitively obvious why the likelihood of Apple defaulting on its obligations should be lower than that of the U.S. government (which is the inference that some may be making in light of this gap). It’s a tech company (albeit one with a ginormous pile of cash); who knows, someone could create a smartphone that cripples Apple the way Apple took BlackBerry out at the knees. The primary reason why Cook & Co. are able to borrow money at a lower rate than the U.S. government is because they raised debt in European bond markets. As such, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison, though still, to be sure, an interesting one. If nothing else, the move is a testament to Apple’s financial ingenuity.

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