Today’s news: Trending business stories for November 20, 2023

The latest business news as it happens

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5:20 p.m.

Here are Monday’s top three performers on the TSX

Lithium Americas Argentina Corp. ($8.21, 7.18 per cent)
Shares of the miner have been stuck in a range of $7.50 to $8.50 since late October after Lithium Americas Argentina and Lithium Americas Corp. were spun off into separate entities and began trading on Oct. 4. Analysts have 15 buys, three holds and no sells on the stock and a 12-month target price of $25.77, according to Bloomberg.

Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. ($18.00, 6.51 per cent)
Shares of the Montreal-based company jumped on board changes that an analyst at financial services company Stifel Financial Corp. described as indicating the company is “truly being led towards a new chapter by an independent board.” Analysts have 12 buys, two holds and no sells on the stock and a 12-month target price of $24.77, according to Bloomberg.

Dye & Durham Ltd. ($13.13, 6.49 per cent)
Investors continued to push up shares of the legal software company from their year-to-date low on Oct. 26 on earnings that beat revenue estimates, giving them an extra boost after Dye & Durham announced last week that it had begun a strategic review with the goal of selling “non-core” assets. Analysts have six buys, no holds and one sell on the stock and a 12-month target price of $23, according to Bloomberg.

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Gigi Suhanic, Financial Post

4:34 p.m.

Market close: TSX posts gain, U.S. markets also rise

Strength in base metals and technology helped Canada’s main stock index rise on Monday, while U.S. stocks also rose as November’s gains continue.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 70.70 points at 20,246.47.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 203.76 points at 35,151.04. The S&P 500 index was up 33.36 points at 4,547.38, while the Nasdaq composite was up 159.05 points at 14,284.53.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.85 cents U.S., according to, compared with 72.88 cents U.S. on Friday.

The January crude contract was up US$1.79 at US$77.83 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down eight cents at US$3.05 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was down US$4.40 at US$1,980.30 an ounce and the December copper contract was up eight cents at US$3.81 a pound.

The Canadian Press

3:12 p.m.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce forms AI council with members including Amazon, Google

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says it has formed a council aimed at shaping public policy around artificial intelligence.
People take photos of an AI robot at the All In artificial intelligence conference in Montreal. Photo by Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS files

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says it has formed a council aimed at shaping public policy around artificial intelligence.

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The chamber says the council will advocate for government policies to be centred on the responsible development, deployment and ethical use of AI in business.

The 30-member Future of AI Council will be co-chaired by e-commerce giant Inc. and software business SAP Canada.

Other members include Meta Platforms Inc., Google, BlackBerry Ltd., Cohere, Bank of Nova Scotia and Microsoft Corp.

The chamber says the council will support government policies that establish AI as a positive economic driver, but also acknowledge the technology’s potential risks.

Among its first tasks will be looking at Bill C-27, which the federal government plans to use to curtail some of the dangers AI could cause.

The Canadian Press

1:56 p.m.

Air Canada rejects blame in $24-million gold and cash theft as it faces Brink’s lawsuit

Air Canada Inc. says it bears no responsibility for the daring theft of a cargo container loaded with gold bars and cash from its facilities earlier this year.
Air Canada Inc. says it bears no responsibility for the daring theft of a cargo container loaded with gold bars and cash from its facilities earlier this year. Photo by Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press files

Air Canada Inc. says it bears no responsibility for the daring theft of $23.8 million in gold and cash from its facilities at Toronto’s Pearson airport earlier this year.

The airline is facing a lawsuit from security services company Brink’s after a thief walked away with the costly cargo at an Air Canada airport warehouse on April 17.

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In a statement of defence, Air Canada rejected all allegations in the Brink’s suit, saying it fulfilled its carriage contract and denying any careless or improper conduct.

The country’s largest airline goes on to say that Brink’s failed to note the value of the haul on the waybill — a document typically issued by a carrier with details of the shipment — and that if Brink’s did suffer losses, a multilateral treaty known as the Montreal Convention would cap Air Canada’s liability.

In Federal Court filings last month that claim breach of contract and millions of dollars in damages, Brink’s said an unidentified individual gained access to the airline’s cargo warehouse and presented phoney paperwork about 40 minutes after an Air Canada flight from Zurich landed at Pearson.

The statement of claim says staff then handed over 400 kilograms of gold in the form of 24 bars — currently worth about $21.1 million — plus nearly US$2 million in cash to the thief, who promptly absconded with the cargo.

The Canadian Press

1:01 p.m.

Concerns emerge over NextStar’s plans to hire foreign workers for battery plant

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The NextStar battery plant construction site in Windsor, Ont.
The NextStar Energy Inc. battery plant construction site in Windsor, Ont. Photo by Dan Janisse/Windsor Star files

Concerns are rising over plans by NextStar Energy Inc. to bring in foreign workers to help build a battery plant in Windsor, Ont., that is being supported by an expected $15 billion in public funding.

Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said Monday that he is pushing for a full inquiry into the issue, and wants a commitment that no public funding will go to foreign workers.

It’s not clear how many workers NextStar Energy, a joint venture between automaker Stellantis NV and South Korea’s LG, plans to bring from outside Canada.

NextStar Energy chief executive Danies Lee says in a statement that the company is committed to hiring Canadians to fill more than 2,500 full-time jobs at the battery plant, and engage with up to 2,300 more local tradespeople to help with construction and installation.

However, he says the installation phase of the project also requires temporary specialized global supplier staff, who have proprietary knowledge and specialized expertise.

Windsor police said on social media that after meeting with South Korean ambassador Woongsoon Lim last week, it expects about 1,600 workers from South Korea to come to the community next year to help build the plant.

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The Canadian Press

12:21 p.m.

Midday markets: Base metal stocks help lead broad-based rally as TSX moves higher

Strength in the base metal stocks helped lead a broad-based rally as Canada’s main stock index moved higher in late-morning trading, while U.S. stock markets also rose.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 58.08 points at 20,233.85.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 80.56 points at 35,027.84. The S&P 500 index was up 19.07 points at 4,533.09, while the Nasdaq composite was up 107.08 points at 14,232.56.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.84 cents U.S. compared with 72.88 cents U.S. on Friday.

The January crude contract was up US$2.02 at US$78.06 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down four cents at US$2.92 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was down US$9.50 at US$1,975.20 an ounce and the December copper contract was up six cents at US$3.80 a pound.

The Canadian Press


Markets open: Traders watch huge U.S. bond sale as rates grip markets

The world’s biggest bond market’s surge toward its best month since March lost traction on Monday, with traders gearing up for a US$16 billion sale of 20-year Treasuries.

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Wall Street continued to keep a close eye on government debt auctions, especially after the United States had to offer an unusually large premium to sell 30-year securities. A strong reception would be an endorsement of the rally. And vice versa. Those sales have also been exerting a growing sway over stocks, underscoring how the path of interest rates is gripping markets of late.

Ten-year U.S. yields rose, remaining below 4.5 per cent. The S&P 500 saw a small advance after the market notched its third straight week of gains. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 headed toward its highest since January 2022. Microsoft Corp. climbed as the software giant hired OpenAI co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman to lead its new in-house advanced artificial intelligence research team. The dollar was set for its lowest since August.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was up 0.16 per cent at 4,521.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.20 per cent at 35,016.28 while the Nasdaq composite was up 0.46 per cent at 14,190.41.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 0.23 per cent 20,221.86.

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10:02 a.m.

Freeland announces tax changes to curb Airbnb, short-term rentals

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will announce tax changes designed to curb the use of Airbnb Inc. and other short-term rental services in regions of Canada where those platforms are restricted, according to media reports.

The measure will be part of Freeland’s fall economic statement on Tuesday, according to reports in Montreal’s La Presse and the Toronto Star. The government will prohibit property owners from deducting expenses on short-term rentals in areas where those services are already limited by other levels of government, the news outlets said.

The tax change, which would come into effect Jan. 1, is meant to crack down on property owners who flout local regulations, according to the Star and La Presse. A shortage of available homes to rent is an issue in places like British Columbia, where the provincial government recently introduced new legislation that makes it harder for owners to list empty properties on a short-term basis on sites such as Airbnb, VRBO and Expedia.y/Th

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Freeland said last month she was examining what tools the federal government might use against short-term rental sites, which result in “fewer homes for Canadians to rent, especially in urban and populated areas of our country.”

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp., the federal government’s housing agency, will be granted $15 billion to offer loans to real estate developers at advantageous rates for the construction of rental housing as part of a new housing package, La Presse said.

The Canadian Press

9:14 a.m.

First Quantum on verge of temporarily halting operations at Panama copper mine

Panamanians protest against First Quantum's copper mine in Panama City.
Gunas Indigenous women hold up signs tha read in Spanish “No to mining” and “Yes to life,” during a march outside the National Assembly to protest against a mining contract between First Quantum Minerals and Panama’s government over the Cobre Panama copper mine, in Panama City, Oct. 19, 2023. Photo by Arnulfo Franco/The Associated Press

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. says it has reduced operations at its Cobre Panama copper mine further and warns if a blockade of small boats at the mine’s port continues it will have to temporarily halt production.

The company says it is down to one remaining ore processing train and that without shipments arriving at the mine’s port, it expects to run out of supplies for the on-site power plant later this week.

People in Panama have been protesting an operating agreement between the company and the government for the mine that has raised nationalist anger as well as environmentalist objections.

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First Quantum says the blockade by the boats has affected the delivery of supplies for the mine’s on-site power generation plant, which is necessary for full operations.

It has also affected the loading of copper concentrate onto ships.

The company says if the blockade continues it will have to ramp down the remaining processing train this week and temporarily halt production.

The Canadian Press

7:30 a.m.

Microsoft to appoint Sam Altman CEO of new in-house AI team

Microsoft Corp. said that Sam Altman will lead the software developer’s new in-house artificial intelligence team after the OpenAI co-founder was ousted from his startup last week, a bid to shore up Microsoft’s AI plans and reassure investors.

Greg Brockman, an OpenAI board member and co-founder who also left the company last week, will join Altman and Microsoft will “move quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success,” the Redmond, Washington-based company’s chief executive Satya Nadella said in a post on LinkedIn early on Nov. 20. In another post on X, formerly Twitter, Nadella said Altman will serve as CEO of the new in-house group.

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The move, at midnight local time on Nov. 19, was the latest in a dramatic three days for Microsoft and OpenAI’s relationship, a backup plan for Nadella after his efforts to restore Altman and Brockman to OpenAI were thwarted. The OpenAI board named former Twitch chief Emmett Shear as CEO. Nadella wrote that Microsoft looks forward to getting to know Shear and working with him.


Read the full story here.

Before the opening bell: Futures steady to start the week

Stocks November 20, 2023

The United States dollar extended a decline, with a gauge of greenback strength hitting its lowest level since August, amid speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve is nearing the end of its rate-hike cycle.

U.S. equity futures were little changed after a three-week stock rally that propelled the S&P 500 to an 11-week peak. Microsoft Corp. climbed more than two per cent in pre-market trading after hiring Sam Altman, the OpenAI co-founder ousted from his startup last week, to lead its in-house artificial intelligence team. Treasury yields ticked higher ahead of a U.S. 20-year auction.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fluctuated as a slew of negative corporate news weighed on shares.

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In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed up 122.70 points to 20,175.77 on Friday.


What to watch today

Statistics Canada will release construction investment data for September at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission holds its first public hearing to consider whether online streaming services should make an initial contribution to support Canadian and Indigenous content and, if so, where these should be directed to best benefit the broadcasting system.

The 2023 Housing Central Conference, a conference on affordable housing, takes place in Vancouver.

Related Stories

Need a refresher on Friday’s top headlines? Get caught up here.

Additional reporting by The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Bloomberg

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