North American equity market futures are pointing to a modestly higher open after yesterday’s mixed results. It’s still a U.S. Federal Reserve story ahead of Jay Powell’s testimony on Capitol Hill today and tomorrow – today’s testimony starts at 10 a.m. EST – where he may well warn that rates will have to move higher to combat inflation. It’s also his last scheduled public remarks before the next Fed rate decision on March 22, where (at least according to his February press conference), the Fed could move another quarter percentage point.
AWAITING THE BANK OF CANADA
Speaking of central bankers, we’re looking ahead to tomorrow’s rate decision out of the Bank of Canada, more for the commentary than the rate itself. The latter is expected to remain unchanged at 4.50 per cent – the former is more about an expansion of the view the BoC thinks it prudent to hold for the moment to see how eight hikes from the effective lower bound are impacting the economy. There’s no press conference this time around to expound on the decision, but the bank’s been good about scheduling a speech the next day that sort of acts as a proxy. In this case, it’s Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers speaking Thursday, which will offer further clues on how the bank is viewing the inflation fight.
PET VALU HIKES DIVIDEND
Decent payout increase – to $0.10 from $0.06 – from a bit of a market darling as people brought in pandemic pets. Turns out people still have a zeal for spending on their furry friends (or somewhat less furry friends – our iguana Dali is wildly spoiled). System-wide sales were up 25 per cent, and sales at stores open at least a year were up 11.8 per cent. As for the outlook, the company expects 2023 revenue to come in at as much as $1.075 billion, driven by same-store sales growth of up to 10 per cent.
CORUS SLASHES DIVIDEND
Corus Entertainment is taking a hatchet to its dividend, cutting it in half to $0.03 a share and reallocating the capital to repaying debt. Corus has been hard-hit by the current macro environment – CEO Doug Murphy told BNN Bloomberg a couple of months ago that there’s “no doubt” media is in an advertising recession as companies pull back on spending over concerns of their own revenues as consumer spending slows.
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
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