Flickers of Post-Virus Optimism Appear in Canadian Earnings
(Bloomberg) -- Corporate Canada has a message for investors: the worst of the Covid-19 crisis may be behind us.
So say the industry bellwethers that released earnings results this week as the second-quarter reporting season kicked off. About 10% of companies in the S&P/TSX Composite Index have announced results and so far, a majority of them beat analysts’ profit expectations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
After a murky first quarter that saw firms withdraw their forecasts because of the coronavirus pandemic, some companies say they now have a better understanding of the future. And that future is looking (a little) brighter.
- Canadian National Railway Co. said volumes are slowly improving and it is recalling some train crews. CN’s second quarter earnings topped expectations. But Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest is staying cautious -- the railway prepared to park equipment and furlough workers if there’s a second wave of the virus shutdowns this fall.
- Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. raised its dividend by 15% and topped analyst expectations on revenues and earnings per share. It now expects to deliver adjusted diluted EPS growth from the prior year and sees strong grain shipment continuing in 2020.
- Teck Resources Ltd. provided guidance for the second half of the year that met expectations. One of its major copper projects that was stalled by the pandemic is now getting back to work, albeit slowly.
- Rogers Communications Inc. wouldn’t give updated forecasts but expects “modest sequential financial and operating improvements” in the third quarter after a rough second quarter. June saw a “notable recovery” in equipment loads as most stores reopened, and July is trending better as well, the company said.
- Loblaw Cos., which reported a jump in second-quarter sales, said it continues to incur pandemic-related costs. But those costs will ease after it ended a short-term pandemic pay increase for employees.
- Choice Properties REIT had an “optimistic tone” while noting rent collections have improved as tenants actively reopen stores. It expects to collect 94% of total rent for July compared to 86% of total rent collected for the month of April.
Still, with about 200 companies left to report -- including Canada’s Big Six banks -- the messaging could still change as the U.S. battles with a second virus wave that could stall the recovery.
Companies like Shopify Inc., Air Canada, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, George Weston Ltd. and Kinross Gold Corp. will help with giving investors more guidance on how the Canadian and global economy could recover.
Markets -- Just The Numbers
Canadian inflation returned to positive territory in June on higher prices for gas, food and shelter. The consumer price index climbed 0.7% from the same month a year earlier, after two straight below-zero readings, Statistics Canada reported.
Retail sales have rebounded sharply after historic declines in March and April, with vendors making up almost all of their pandemic losses. Canadian consumers are emerging from nationwide lockdowns with pent-up demand and keen to spend.
Economists will be keeping an eye on GDP data due July 31.
Justin Trudeau’s finance minister acknowledged he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses from the charity embroiled in a scandal over a student grants contract, fanning the controversy. Bill Morneau, facing questions from lawmakers studying the issue in Ottawa, apologized Wednesday for not repaying more than C$41,000 ($31,000) to the WE Charity until now.
The Toronto Blue Jays will play their home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, this season.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.