Canadian GDP sees worst dip in 4 years; TSX lower
North America’s GDP figures have dominated the markets Friday as both Canada and the US digested contraction in both economies. Canada’s economy declined by 0.1 per cent after growth in the last quarter of 2014 of 0.7 per cent; it was the first decline since the second quarter of 2011 (more details below). Meanwhile the US economy contracted by 0.7 per cent, despite the Commerce Department’s forecast of 0.2 per cent growth. Both the TSX and Wall Street ended the week lower. Asian markets closed mixed earlier in the day with Japan hitting a new 15-year high while China ended lower with concern over margin financing restrictions continuing. Greek debt was the talk of European markets, although mixed GDP data in the region, Italian elections and the US economy were also in focus; all major indexes ended the week lower.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 92.91 (0.61 per cent)
The NYSE closed lower
Oil is trending higher (Brent $65.45, WTI $60.22 at 4.10pm)
Gold is trending higher
The loonie is valued at U$0.8033 (at 4.10pm)
GDP dips 0.1 per cent in Q1
New figures from Statistics Canada reveal a 0.1 per cent decline in Real GDP for the first quarter of 2015 following a 0.7 per cent growth in the last quarter of 2014. The annualized pace was a decline of 0.6 per cent. Business investment and exports were down and March was unable to contribute the expected lift to boost the start of the second quarter. The oil, gas and mining sectors posted a 30 per cent decline but were not the only weak performers with accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing services and output of real estate agents and brokers also lower. Finance and insurance, utilities agriculture and forestry increase. The public sector and professional services also advanced.
Scotiabank completes a good week for the big banks
Canada’s biggest banks have all reported results this week and have all beaten the market’s expectations. On Friday Scotiabank continued the trend with profits up almost 2 per cent to $1.73 billion on revenue of $5.94 billion (up from $5.7 billion a year earlier.) The bank announced a buy-back of up to 24 million of its shares.
Saskatchewan needs mining labour
There could be a labour shortage in Saskatchewan’s mining sector according to a report from the Mining Human Resources Council. Its latest outlook for the workforce shows that with many miners approaching retirement there will be 12,000 new workers needed over the next 10 years. At the current level of hiring there will be a little over half of that number putting the pace of production at risk.