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Briefing highlights

  • How entrepreneurs feel
  • Stocks, loonie, oil at a glance
  • Wells Fargo names new CEO
  • Apple plans theatrical releases
  • Toyota to boost Subaru stake
  • What analysts are saying today
  • Required Reading

The I-don’t-have-a-life life

Many Canadian entrepreneurs are so tied up with their businesses that they don’t have a life.

Indeed, a survey released this week by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce shows many business owners are working long hours, they’re stressed, and they’re desperate for a vacation.

Like many of us, they want to rest, pursue a hobby or take time off work. But unlike many of us, they can’t do that.

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(Along with the survey, CIBC was promoting its “SmartBanking for Business,” a platform for managing banking, accounting and payrolls.)

Highlights of the survey, which was conducted by Maru/Blue in August among more than 1,000 small business owners:

  • Sixty-five per cent say they’re working more hours. On average, CIBC said, they’re working 46 hours a week. But that masks the fact that 17 per cent are working 60-plus hours and 22 per cent “report working too many hours ‘always’ or ‘often.’”
  • Sixty per cent “struggle to get time off from work when needed.”
  • Business owners either will take, or already have taken, an average two weeks of vacation in 2019. But again, that masks the fact that 29 per cent are taking one week or less, and 10 per cent are getting no vacation.
  • Sixty-one per cent “feel their present stress levels are much higher.”
  • Fifty-four per cent have abandoned hobbies and other activities outside work.
  • As for what they long for, 52 per cent want to travel, 38 per cent want to get together with friends and family, 35 per cent would opt for “pursuing a passion, hobby or activity,” 34 per cent would exercise or get involved with sports, and 28 per cent would flake out.

As for the business side of things, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business reported Thursday that its confidence measure declined 1.3 index points this month to 59.3. A level of about 65 “indicates that the economy is growing at its potential.”

Forty-two per cent of business owners described their operations as being in “a good state,” according to the CFIB survey, with 13 per cent saying just the opposite.

Plans to hire “continue to be weak,” the group said, as just 16 per cent plan on adding full-time positions in the next three months, with 15 per cent looking at cutbacks.

“This report falls on the softer side of the spectrum, as small business confidence moderated,” Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Rishi Sondhi said in a report.

“What's more, the share of firms rating their economic situation as ‘bad’ increased, and there was a significant climb in the share of respondents citing insufficient foreign demand as an impediment,” he added.

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“This suggests that moderating global growth and ongoing trade tensions (which intensified in August), are weighing on the minds of Canadian small businesses. Still, it’s encouraging that optimism was merely dented in the face of these headwinds, in contrast to other parts of the world where sentiment is much more dour.”

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Markets at a glance

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Wells Fargo names Scharf CEO

From The Associated Press: Wells Fargo named its third CEO in as many years as the bank attempts to put behind it a series of recent scandals. Wells Fargo said Charles Scharf will take over for C. Allen Parker, who has led the San Francisco bank since March after its second CEO stepped down in quick succession. Mr. Parker will remain in place until Mr. Scharf joins the bank on Oct. 21.

Apple to allow theatrical releases

From Reuters: Apple Inc. plans to take a different path from streaming rival Netflix and allow theatrical releases for some of the feature-length films it has begun producing for its new Apple TV+ service, the Wall Street Journal reported. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said that by pursuing traditional releases for major projects, the iPhone maker hopes to make it easier to attract big-name directors and producers to its projects.

Toyota to boost Subaru stake

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From Reuters: Toyota Motor Corp. will raise its stake in Subaru Corp. to 20 per cent from about 17 per cent, the two Japanese auto makers said as they leverage their scale to better compete in developing new technologies. The investment comes a month after Toyota and Suzuki Motor Corp. said they would take small equity stakes in each other. Such tie-ups highlight how auto makers are scrambling to chase scale, manage costs and boost development.

U.S. economy loses momentum

From Reuters: U.S. consumer spending barely rose in August and business investment remained weak, suggesting the economy was losing momentum as trade tensions linger. Still, the reports from the Commerce Department likely do not signal a recession is looming as consumer spending remains supported by solid income growth, thanks to the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years and massive savings.

IEA may cut forecasts

From Reuters: The International Energy Agency may cut its growth estimates for global oil demand for 2019 and 2020, should the global economy weaken further, its chief said on Friday.

British tanker leaves Iranian port

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From Reuters: The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker left Iran’s Bandar Abbas port and was heading for Dubai so the crew could be repatriated, the owner said, after the ship was detained in July by Iranian forces during a row with Britain.

Sentiment sinks

From Reuters: Euro zone economic sentiment plunged in September as trade tensions depressed confidence in industry, official data showed, although morale improved in services, dispelling concerns of spillover to the bloc’s largest economic sector.

Huawei producing stations without U.S. parts

From Reuters: Huawei Technologies Co. said it has started making 5G base stations without U.S. components and that total production of 5G base stations should more than double next year as more countries introduce the technology.

What analysts are saying today

“The next month is going to be politically and legally very interesting, to say the least. [The British pound] seems likely to come out worse from it.” Elsa Lignos, global head of foreign exchange strategy, Royal Bank of Canada

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“The pound slipped back to two week lows against the U.S. dollar in early trading on comments from Bank of England [monetary policy committee] member Michael Saunders, who said that rate cuts might be needed even if the U.K. were to get a Brexit deal. This is significant as Saunders has traditionally been a hawkish voice on the monetary policy committee. Saunders cited low levels of business investment, though he did see some modest spare capacity in the U.K. economy.” Michael Hewson, chief analyst, CMC Markets

“The market’s destiny is at Donald Trump’s fingertips. A single tweet from Donald Trump could send equities rallying, as it could shatter the market sentiment. And Trump’s next move is anybody’s guess.” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst, London Capital Group

“If the Mueller inquiry offers us any guideline about political instability under President Trump, investors should expect short bouts of market volatility but longer-term ambivalence … The Senate seems unlikely to wave through impeachment, so characterizing the event as another ‘witch hunt’ that will lead to nothing is reasonable. The downside risk from the impeachment proceedings is more a reflection of the different environment to when the Mueller probe was in full tilt. The difference this time around is that there are no U.S. tax cuts and there is a trade war.” Jasper Lawler, head of research, London Capital Group

Required Reading

Job numbers stronger than believed

Canada’s labour market was much stronger than previously thought in July, as employment rose sharply and wages resumed their growth, according to new data. David Parkinson reports.

Another hurdle

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Bank of Nova Scotia’s plan to pull out of nine Caribbean and South American countries hit another stumbling block this week as Guyana’s central bank turned down the lender’s proposed deal to sell its local operations, James Bradshaw writes.

Telus executive leaves

Telus Corp.'s chief corporate officer Josh Blair is leaving his executive role at the company, making him the second potential successor to CEO Darren Entwistle to depart this year. Alexandra Posadzki reports.

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