Canada

After suffering its worst quarter since the global financial crisis, Canadian stocks slumped on Wednesday as investors digested worsening U.S. coronavirus figures and assessed the pandemic’s impact on corporate profits, Bloomberg News reported. The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 3.8% on the first day of the second quarter, with 10 out of its 11 sectors in the red. Gold stocks rallied as market jitters led to a surge in haven assets. Montreal-based Dollarama Inc.

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A licenced insolvency trustee in Charlottetown is calling on the federal government to put in measures to help Islanders who are dealing with job loss also deal with their debt repayment and avoid bankruptcy, The Guardian reported. "People are stressed and scared, said Walter MacKinnon, who is also vice-president with MNP in Charlottetown. He said one type of call he has been receiving recently is from people who have made an insolvency proposal that has been accepted.

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Never in modern trading history have Canadian stocks fallen so much in a single day of trading as they did this week. Growing alarm over the coronavirus and plummeting oil prices have been catalysts for the slump, Bloomberg News reported. But one historian sees two underlying factors at play: a fractured geopolitical environment that has coincided with market volatility the world over, and Canada’s thin corporate base. While the S&P/TSX Composite Index clawed back some of its lost ground on Friday, it is still down 24% from its record high on Feb. 20.

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Bank of Montreal shares fell after the lender reported earnings that showed credit weakness in its key U.S. operations, Bloomberg News reported. Earnings at the company’s U.S. banking division, which includes Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank, fell 21% to C$351 million ($264 million) in the fiscal first quarter, marking a setback for Chief Executive Officer Darryl White, who’s put an emphasis on the U.S. for growth. The bank set aside C$149 million for soured loans for the U.S., more than double the amount in the fourth quarter and up from C$6 million a year ago.

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Green Growth Brands Inc., once a suitor of Aphria Inc., is selling its CBD business and restructuring debt amid what the company is calling “serious financial difficulty,” Bloomberg News reported. In a further sign of the problems plaguing the cannabis industry, Green Growth said it will sell its CBD business to BRN Group Inc., a cannabis brand-management company, so it can focus on its marijuana operations. No terms were given. Shares tumbled as much as 42%, the most ever, to 25 cents in Toronto on Tuesday.

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As housing affordability continues to be a consistent struggle for Canadians, new data from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) confirms just how bad Canadian household debt is getting, Toronto Storeys reported. The new data revealed that 2019 saw the second-highest number of annual consumer insolvency filings ever in Canada, with 137,178 Canadians filing for insolvency, a 9.5% year-over-year growth.

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Bombardier exited commercial aviation on Thursday, selling a loss-making plane programme that ended its high-stakes gamble on a new jet that once drove it to the brink of bankruptcy, Reuters reported. The Canadian plane and train maker sold its minority stake in the A220 jet, formerly known as the CSeries, to Airbus SE (AIR.PA) for $600 million (£460 million), and said it would take a $1.6 billion charge on the programme.

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Canadian consumers filed the largest number of insolvencies in almost a decade at the end of last year, stoking concern about the impact of record indebtedness on households and the economy, Bloomberg News reported. Insolvencies totaled 35,155 in the final three months of 2019, the most in any one quarter since 2010, according to data released Monday by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada. That’s up 10.2% compared with 31,900 in the same period a year earlier and is about 5,000 shy of the record 40,589 reached in the third quarter of 2009.

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Insolvency and bankruptcy rates in Saskatchewan are rising, according to the latest MNP Consumer Index Report, Global News reported. The report indicates about 52 per cent of residents say they could not cover a $200 expense at the end of the month. Forty-five per cent believe they won’t be able to cover their expenses in 2020 without diving deeper into debt.

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Bombardier Inc. fell the most on record after warning of disappointing fourth-quarter sales and revealing that it may exit a joint venture with Airbus SE that makes the A220 jetliner and potentially take a major writedown, Bloomberg News reported. A ramp-up in A220 production will require additional cash investment, pushing back the break-even point and generating lower returns across the lifetime of the project, Bombardier said in a statement Thursday.

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