Five Canadian business stories to watch this week


Inside the banks: Royal Bank will kick off the latest earnings season for the Big Five Canadian banks on Wednesday, followed by CIBC on Thursday. Aside from their bottom lines, issues to watch include their take on the cooling housing market and the potential impact on their mortgage portfolios, as well as consumer debt levels and loan losses.

Home Capital settlement? A London, Ont., court will consider whether to approve a proposed settlement of an investor class-action lawsuit against Canada’s biggest alternative lender on Monday. Approval is a condition of an Ontario Securities Commission settlement with the company and three former executives who accepted responsibility for misleading investors about mortgage underwriting procedure problems.

Shipping and shopping: Statistics Canada will release wholesale trade numbers on Monday and retail sales figures from June on Tuesday. It’s the latest in a string of economic data that is being closely watched for signals on whether the Bank of Canada might hike interest rates again this fall. The central bank raised rates in July for the first time in seven years to 0.75 per cent from 0.5 per cent. Friday’s consumer inflation data suggested it might be climbing closer to the bank’s target of two per cent, further signalling a hike could be nigh.

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More trouble for Sears Canada: Representatives for the embattled retailer will be in court in Toronto again Tuesday to discuss issues related to the company’s corporate restructuring under creditor protection. On Friday, a judge approved a hardship fund that will provide a total of $500,000 to former employees that will come from a pool of money set aside to pay bonuses for key employees. Issues that are still on the table include the potential sale of some assets and a motion filed by a group of creditors that wants to sue the company’s executive officers and directors, alleging negligent misrepresentation and oppression.

NAFTA, NAFTA, NAFTA: The first round of trade talks in Washington, D.C., wrapped up on Sunday but the renegotiations will continue to grab headlines – that is, if the controversy surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump and his tweets don’t overshadow them. Trump’s trade czar Robert Lighthizer kicked off talks by insisting on major changes to NAFTA. The next round of talks will take place in Mexico in early September.

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