BC sheds 13,700 jobs in November as rate hikes take toll on economy

BC sheds 13,700 jobs

The West Coast answered the Bank of Canada’s late October rate-hike by shedding 13,700 jobs in November, with construction taking the biggest hit. The province’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, climbed 0.2 percentage points to 4.4 per cent.

B.C. was not able to keep up with momentum in the labour market after adding about 43,000 jobs in September and October combined. Instead, the construction sector lost 9,200 jobs last month as the central bank put pressure on the housing market by hiking its key rate by half a percentage point on Oct. 26. 

The Bank of Canada has hiked its key rate from 0.25 per cent to 3.75 per cent since the start of the year, resulting in significantly higher mortgage rates across the country and a significant decline in home sales in B.C.

B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon said we’re seeing early signs that the central bank’s efforts to slow the economy in a bid to cool inflation are working.

“We're going to watch carefully what happens in the coming months,” he said, adding unemployment still remains incredibly low. “Many of the people who have lost employment opportunities with one company are being scooped up very quick because we know that demand is there.”

The province saw notable losses in the health care and social assistance category (-8,600 jobs) as well as in the tech sector (-5,500 jobs).

But Kahlon said he wouldn’t focus too much on the survey results showing declines in health-care employment.

“It's a survey and we have very exact data on employment when it comes to health care because we're the employer,” he told BIV, adding employment in health care has grown by 37,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, gains were made in education (+4,300 jobs) and the finance, insurance and real estate category (+4,200 jobs).

B.C.’s losses come as Canada as a whole added 10,000 jobs to the broader labour force as the unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 5.1 per cent.

“Labour demand is significantly outpacing supply of workers – and unemployment is holding at very low levels longer than expected. Still, the pace of job growth has slowed,” RBC assistant chief economist Nathan Janzen said in a note, referring to the national numbers. “The impact of Bank of Canada interest rate hikes has yet to fully be felt in the economy. Some early signs that broader inflation pressures have started to ease, and indications that domestic demand is softening, mean the BoC could be close to the end of the current interest rate hiking cycle.”

He’s forecasting the central bank will hike its overnight rate 0.25 percentage points at the scheduled Dec. 7 interest rate announcement.

“Though we haven't seen it in the labour market data as of yet, the impact of the BoC's aggressive moves will eventually cool the labour market. With the recent [national] momentum, this is expected to take pace in mid-to-late 2023,” TD senior economist James Orlando said in a note.

Unlike BMO, he’s forecasting the central bank will hike its key rate by half a percentage point.

"There's nothing here to obviously sway the Bank of Canada's rate decision next week either way, but it's quite clear that the labour market remains tight and in solid shape overall," BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note, adding he predicts the Bank of Canada will hike its overnight rate by half a percentage point.


BoC expected to end year with one more rate increase, likely to pause hikes soon

One more rate hike likely

The Bank of Canada is expected to conclude a historic year marked by high inflation and aggressive monetary policy tightening with one more interest rate hike on Wednesday.

Forecasters anticipate the central bank will raise its key interest rate, which is currently at 3.75 per cent, by either a quarter or half a percentage point next week.

Even the smaller hike would bring the interest rate to the highest it's been since 2008.

In the wake of rapidly rising inflation this year, the Bank of Canada has raised its key interest rate six consecutive times since March, racing to clamp down on inflation expectations before they became unmoored.

After raising its key rate by a historic full percentage point in July, the Bank of Canada has tapered the size of its rate hikes. In September, it announced a three-quarter percentage point rate hike, followed by half a percentage point in October.

Now, the end of the rate hike cycle appears to be near.

Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said as much following the last rate decision in October.

“We are getting closer to the end of this tightening phase but we’re not there yet,” Macklem said in a news conference on Oct. 26.

TD chief economist Beata Caranci said the Bank of Canada’s recent language on the risks around rising interest rates suggests the bank is beginning to consider what the effects of the aggressive rate hikes will be.

In a speech on Nov. 22, Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers warned recent homeowners with variable-rate mortgages would likely find the adjustment to higher interest rates painful.

Rogers cited new research from the central bank that found half of variable-rate mortgages have now hit the “trigger rate,” whereby mortgage holders’ monthly payments only cover interest charges.

“That's the biggest signal I take away that they're nearing the endpoint of their rate hike cycle,” Caranci said.

Laval University economics professor Stephen Gordon said the research on mortgages indicates the central bank may want to pause rate hikes soon to see the effects of higher rates play out in the economy.

“Everybody knows that it takes some time for these interest rate increases to take effect,” Gordon said.

Economists generally say interest rate hikes can take one to two years to be fully felt in the economy.

Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz recently warned the aggressive rate hikes will likely have a stronger effect on the economy than many anticipate.

Speaking at a conference in Ottawa hosted by Western University’s Ivey Business School, the former governor said today’s economy is more sensitive to interest rates than it was 10 years ago because of high debt levels.

“Does anybody here think the sensitivity of the economy to interest rate movements is less today than it was five or 10 years ago?” Poloz asked. “I think (it) is more sensitive today than it was before.”

The Bank of Canada has justified its aggressive rate hikes by arguing that the economy is overheated and needs higher interest rates to bring inflation down.

Caranci said the Bank of Canada may find recent inflation data encouraging.

Canada's annual inflation rate in October was 6.9 per cent, down from a peak of 8.1 per cent in June but still well above the central bank’s two per cent target.

However, Caranci noted the three-month annualized inflation rate has dropped to below four per cent.

The economy has shown other signs of slowing, including a drop in household spending in the third quarter.

If the economy is indeed slowing, though, it hasn't showed up in labour data yet. Canada's unemployment rate in November was 5.1, signalling a still hot labour market.

Labour groups have been particularly concerned about the effect rate hikes will have on the employment.

But economists like Gordon say unemployment may not rise as much as it typically does during recessions because the economy is starting from a point of very low unemployment.

"You might actually see along the way two consecutive quarters of real GDP declining" — the technical definition of a recession — "but I'm not going too inclined to think that's really much of a recession," he said.

Next week, market watchers will be paying attention to the size of the rate hike as well as the Bank of Canada's language in its press release for hints on whether more rate hikes should be expected.

Caranci said December may very well not be the last rate hike.

“I think we could still get one more in January.” she said.

“I would not pull it off the table.”

November auto sales in Canada up from year ago: DesRosiers report

Auto sales up, but still low

A report by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants says light vehicle sales in November rose 4.1 per cent compared with last year.

The firm estimates 114,966 light vehicle were sold last month.

The result was up from 110,448 in November 2021.

However, DAC noted that sales totalled 143,315 in November 2019 before the pandemic struck.

DAC managing partner Andrew King says sales for the year to date stand at 1.38 million units, making it likely that sales for 2022 will finish the year below 1.5 million.

King says if that happens it will be first year the market has fallen below that threshold since 2009.

Profits in 15 sectors, including oil and gas, driving bulk of inflation: report

Profits driving inflation

A new report by the Centre for Future Work found that growth in corporate profits this year compared to pre-pandemic has been concentrated in a small number of sectors where consumer prices have also risen the fastest.

Report author and economist Jim Stanford analyzed the profits of the 52 business sectors tracked by Statistics Canada, and found that just under a third of these sectors were responsible for driving overall corporate profits up. Combined after-tax profits in the 15 most profitable sectors grew by 89 per cent during the most recent 12-month period compared to the four quarters before the pandemic hit.

Meanwhile, profits in the other 37 sectors tracked by Statistics Canada fell during the same period. Among all sectors combined, profits were up almost 30 per cent.

After-tax corporate profits in 2022 so far make up 17.4 per cent of Canada’s GDP, the highest share in history, Stanford said.

The oil and gas sector tops the profitable list by far with a $38-billion increase in profits, or more than 1,000 per cent, since 2019. Other highly profitable sectors included mining, which saw profits rise by almost 700 per cent, banking, real estate, building products, motor vehicle dealers, grocery stores and food manufacturing.

In fact, the report said that large price increases on eight specific products sold or produced by those sectors accounts for more than half of overall inflation in the past year, based on Statistics Canada data.

Stanford said he found this number “startling.”

“Both the concentration of profits in those sectors, and the concentration of price pressure in products produced by both sectors, really shows that this is not a generalized overheating problem," he said.

These eight products were home fuel oil, home natural gas, gasoline, mortgage interest, groceries, home maintenance, motor vehicles and insurance, and together Stanford calculated they accounted for 3.51 percentage points of the overall October inflation rate, which was 6.9 per cent. That’s despite the fact that those eight products make up less than 30 per cent of the weight of the CPI basket as measured by Statistics Canada.

Stanford argues that this data proves rising corporate profits are the dominant cause of inflation, since those eight products alone account for more than half the percentage-point increase in the latest inflation numbers.

Some of those eight products, like gas, also had knock-on effects on things like food prices, the report notes, which also factor into inflation.

Some economists and the Bank of Canada have expressed concern that as wages rise in the face of inflation, this could entrench inflation and cause what’s known as a wage-price spiral. In July, Tiff Macklem warned employers not to build inflation into longer-term contracts.

But so far, wages have not surpassed overall inflation. In fact, corporate profits have increased around three times as fast as wages since the beginning of the pandemic, Stanford said.

He said the Bank of Canada has been putting too much attention in recent months on the role of the labour market in persistent inflation.

“The Bank of Canada's argument that inflation is up because Canadians have too much work and too much money to spend is absolutely contradicted by this evidence.”

The Bank of Canada has said that inflation increasingly reflects domestic pressures, and has cited Canada's low unemployment rate as "unsustainable."

The report recommends measures for policymakers to consider other than interest rate hikes, measures he argues in the report would be better than “a ‘cold bath’ of employment-reducing monetary tightening.”

These include targeted price regulations to limit how much companies can profit from sector-specific disruptions, like in energy or housing; excess profit taxes; and offsetting fiscal support for consumers financed by said taxes. Stanford notes several European countries have already implemented some of these types of things, such as a price cap on energy, or excess profit taxes for the energy sector that go to household transfers. There are also examples of these measures within Canada, such as a recent tax on big bank profits, making such measures not unprecedented, he said.

“We have taken it for granted that companies are allowed to charge whatever the market will bear, even in a national emergency. And our response to the inflation that results from that assumption has been to punish the people who are trying to pay for the stuff that’s vastly overpriced,” he said.

“With targeted measures like that, you could take a lot of the steam out of this inflationary problem, rather than necessarily cooling off the whole national economy.”

Tesla delivers electric semis to PepsiCo at Nevada factory

Tesla delivers electric semis

Tesla delivered its first electric semis to PepsiCo Thursday, more than three years after Elon Musk said his company would start making the trucks.

The Austin, Texas, company formally delivered the trucks at a factory near Reno, Nevada. The event was livestreamed on Twitter, which Musk now owns.

Musk drove one of three Tesla Semis in front of a crowd inside the factory. One was white, one was painted with a Pepsi logo, and another with Frito-Lay colors.

PepsiCo, which is based in Purchase, New York, is taking part in a zero-emissions freight project at a Frito-Lay facility in Modesto, California. That project is being funded by a $15.4 million clean-freight technology grant from the California Air Resources Board that includes 15 Tesla battery-electric tractors and other electric- and natural-gas powered trucks.

Electric semis also would be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $40,000.

At an event in November of 2017 unveiling the Tesla Semi, Musk said production would begin in 2019 and the trucks would be able to follow each other autonomously in a convoy. But during Tesla's third-quarter earnings conference call in October he said the company's “Full Self Driving” system is not quite ready to be driverless.

Musk said the truck has a range per charge of 500 miles (800 kilometers) when pulling an 82,000-pound (37,000-kilo) load. The company plans to ramp up Semi production to make 50,000 trucks in 2024 in North America.

Competitors working on hydrogen-powered semis say battery-powered trucks won't work for long-haul carriers because it will take too long to recharge the huge batteries. Musk said hydrogen isn't needed for heavy trucking.

Unemployment rate drops slightly to 5.1% in November: Statistics Canada

Unemployment rate drops

Employment was little changed in November as the economy added a modest 10,000 jobs, Statistics Canada says.

In its latest labour force survey, the federal agency says Canada's unemployment was 5.1 per cent last month, down from 5.2 per cent in October.

Employment rose in several industries, including finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, manufacturing and in information, culture and recreation.

It fell in construction as well as wholesale and retail trade.

In British Columbia, the unemployment rate was pegged at 4.4 per cent, up from 4.2 per cent in October.

In Kelowna, it was 4.9 per cent, up from 4.3 per cent.

Statistics Canada also noted in its report that the employment rate among core-aged women aged 25 to 54 hit 81.6 per cent in November, a record high in comparable data going back to 1976.

Canada’s labour market has remained remarkably strong despite signs of an economic slowdown.

The unemployment rate fell to a record-low of 4.9 per cent in the summer and has edged up only slightly since then.

In November, wages were up 5.6 per cent compared to a year ago, marking the sixth consecutive month of above 5.0 per cent growth.

However, wage growth continues to lag inflation. In October, the annual inflation rate was 6.9 per cent.

Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem has characterized Canada’s low unemployment rate as unsustainable and said it’s contributing to high inflation.

The central bank is hoping to see the labour market ease in response to its aggressive interest rate hikes this year.

Recent research from the Bank of Canada suggests it believes it can bring inflation down without causing a large increase in unemployment.

The central bank began raising interest rates in March, when it delivered the first of six consecutive rate hikes.

It’s expected to deliver another interest rate increase next week.

As the Bank of Canada nears the end of the rate hiking cycle, markets will be watching out for any indication next week on whether to expect another rate hike in January.

Reform candidates lead in UAW races with 56% of vote counted

Reformers lead at UAW

Members of the United Auto Workers union appeared on Thursday to favor replacing many of their current leaders in an election that stemmed from a federal bribery and embezzlement scandal involving former union officials.

Reform-minded candidates, many part of the UAW Members United slate, are leading in multiple key races with just over 56% of the vote in. Many challengers campaigned on rescinding concessions made to companies in previous contract talks, including cost-of-living pay raises, elimination of a two-tier wage and benefit system, and other items.

That could raise costs for Detroit's three automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — and almost inevitably will drive up already expensive auto prices.

With tallies from five of nine UAW regions counted, Shawn Fain, an international union official who started at a Stellantis plant in Kokomo, Indiana, was leading a five-candidate field in the race for president, the union's top office.

Fain had 40.1% of the vote, while incumbent President Ray Curry was second with 36.3%. There likely will be a runoff election early next year between Fain and Curry since neither had a majority of the votes.

In the race for three vice presidents, Rich Boyer and Mike Booth, both Members United candidates, are first and second in an eight-candidate race, followed by union Vice President Chuck Browning. A runoff could happen there, too.

Margaret Mock, the Members United candidate for secretary-treasurer, had 63.9% of the vote to lead incumbent Frank Stuglin at 36.1%. Where tallies have been completed, candidates who campaigned on reforming the union also won three of nine regional director positions, with another heading to a runoff.

It wasn't clear when the vote count would be finished. The ballots are being counted by a company hired by a court-appointed monitor who is overseeing the election and the union.

Fain led the Members United ticket, which campaigned on reforming the 372,000-member UAW after the scandal. The election also has broad implications for contract talks with the Detroit auto companies that start next year.

Fain has advocated for more of a confrontational stance and has accused union leadership of complacency. He has said the UAW has had a philosophy for 40 years of viewing automakers as partners rather than adversaries.

He hasn't declared victory but said in an interview Thursday that the early vote totals are “a loud and clear message to the companies and the businesses to get ready, we're coming for you.”

The automakers, he said, are making making the best profits in their history, yet are closing factories and costing union jobs. He gave General Motors' 2019 closure of its Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant as an example, plus a lack of new vehicles for Stellantis' Belvidere, Illinois, plant, which he said has lost 3,000 workers.

At a candidates' forum in September, Fain said union leaders should have reversed concessions made starting in 2007 and should have won job security guarantees.

“We've had at least 10 years with perfect conditions for regaining and improving what was lost during the Great Recession,” he said.

The contract talks come at a critical juncture for the union, which faces a transition from internal combustion vehicles to those that run on batteries. With fewer moving parts, fewer people will be needed to make electric vehicles, and jobs making engines and transmissions could be shifted to battery assembly plants that might not be unionized.

The election came after union members last December decided to directly vote on leaders for the first time instead of having them picked by delegates to a convention.

Under the old system, convention delegates were picked by local union offices. But the new slate of officers was selected by the current leadership, and there was rarely any serious opposition.

A company hired by Monitor Neil Barofsky mailed out about 1 million ballots to active and retired union members. But only 106,790, roughly 10.7%, were returned.

The voting happened after 11 union officials and a late official’s spouse pleaded guilty in the corruption probe since 2017, including the two former presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. Both were sentenced to prison.

To avoid a federal takeover, the union agreed to reforms and Barofsky's appointment to oversee elections of the 13-member executive board.

Curry, appointed in 2021 to replace retiring Rory Gamble to lead the union, said he has put financial safeguards and reforms in place and has plans to bring union members “back into greater days.” He said at the candidates' forum that the union also has plans to recruit new members.

“We don't just make false demands and deliver false hopes,” he said.

Musk's company aims to soon test brain implant in people

Musk readies brain implant

Tech billionaire Elon Musk said his Neuralink company is seeking permission to test its brain implant in people soon.

In a “show and tell” presentation livestreamed Wednesday night, Musk said his team is in the process of asking U.S. regulators to allow them to test the device. He said he thinks the company should be able to put the implant in a human brain as part of a clinical trial in about six months, though that timeline is far from certain.

Musk’s Neuralink is one of many groups working on linking brains to computers, efforts aimed at helping treat brain disorders, overcoming brain injuries and other applications.

The field dates back to the 1960s, said Rajesh Rao, co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington. “But it really took off in the 90s. And more recently we’ve seen lots of advances, especially in the area of communication brain computer interfaces.”

Rao, who watched Musk’s presentation online, said he doesn’t think Neuralink is ahead of the pack in terms of brain-computer interface achievements. “But ... they are quite ahead in terms of the actual hardware in the devices,” he said.

The Neuralink device is about the size of a large coin and is designed to be implanted in the skull, with ultra-thin wires going directly into the brain. Musk said the first two applications in people would be restoring vision and helping people with little or no ability to operate their muscles rapidly use digital devices.

He said he also envisions that in someone with a broken neck, signals from the brain could be bridged to Neuralink devices in the spinal cord.

“We’re confident there are no physical limitations to enabling full body functionality,” said Musk, who recently took over Twitter and is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

In experiments by other teams, implanted sensors have let paralyzed people use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. In a 2018 study in the journal PLOS ONE, three participants with paralysis below the neck affecting all of their limbs used an experimental brain-computer interface being tested by the consortium BrainGate. The interface records neural activity from a small sensor in the brain to navigate things like email and apps.

A r ecent study in the journal Nature, by scientists at the Swiss research center NeuroRestore, identified a type of neuron activated by electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, allowing nine patients with chronic spinal cord injury to walk again.

Researchers have also been working on brain and machine interfaces for restoring vision. Rao said some companies have developed retinal implants, but Musk’s announcement suggested his team would use signals directly targeting the brain's visual cortex, an approach that some academic groups are also pursuing, “with limited success.”

Neuralink spokespeople did not immediately respond to an email to the press office. Dr. Jaimie Henderson, a neurosurgery professor at Stanford University who is an adviser for Neuralink, said one way Neuralink is different than some other devices is that it has the ability to reach into deeper layers of the brain. But he added: “There are lots of different systems that have lots of different advantages.”

Volkswagen searching in Canada for first North American battery factory site

VW searching in Canada

Volkswagen AG says it has started searching in Canada for the site of its first battery factory in North America.

The automotive giant says its chief executive Oliver Blume has signed an agreement with Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne to work to identify suitable sites. 

The agreement comes as an addition to an August memorandum of understanding between the two that committed to investigate opportunities for Canada to contribute to VW's battery supply chains, including in raw materials and battery assembly. 

Blume says the North American electric vehicle market is at a turning point, and the company is committed to investing across the region to leverage this historic opportunity.

The company says that as part of its site search it is looking not only for suitable land and infrastructure, but also adequate supplies of renewable energy and competitive financial conditions.

Canada has seen at least 10 major electric vehicle-related commitments totalling close to $16 billion since the start of 2021 as federal and provincial governments work to secure investments in the rapidly-evolving sector.  

Shoppers facing shrinkflation at the mall as discounts not always what they seem

Deals not what they seem

At first glance, it might seem like the deals have never been better as posters in store windows and online ads trumpet a steady stream of holiday sales.

But some consumers say the discounts are more hype than real, giving shoppers the illusion of a bargain rather than actually saving them money.

Call it shrinkflation at the mall.

"The promotions seem good this year but regular prices have often gone up, so even if something is on sale it may be more expensive than someone expected," said retail expert Shobhit Khandelwal.

Higher regular prices, smaller percentages off and fewer items on sale are just some of the trends consumers say they've noticed in recent weeks at stores in Canada.

Online shoppers also say they've encountered higher free shipping thresholds, a surcharge on some returns and smaller discounts overall.

While deals are now spread out over a longer period — giving people more time to hunt for bargains — experts say the spiralling cost of living is still leaving some consumers feeling squeezed.

New research from Interac Corp. found more than seven in 10 Canadians say rising inflation has made it more important than ever to feel in control of their money.

For shoppers on a budget, retail experts say there are tips and tricks to keep in mind to save cash and not be duped by the illusion of a deal.

"We've seen a return of promotions this holiday season but it's important to pay attention to the fine print," said Tamara Szames, Canadian retail industry adviser with The NPD Group.

"If the sale is up to 40 per cent off, the consumer really needs to be aware of the 'up to,'" she said. "Not every item in the store is going to be included in the sale, so you need to try not to get sidetracked."

Consumers should make a list and research prices before shopping so they know whether or not something is actually a good deal, Szames said.

While inflation has pushed up prices in some stores, other retailers have used different methods to handle rising costs.

In grocery stores, for example, food manufacturers have used shrinkflation to keep prices the same — or slightly higher — by making the product smaller.

It's a technique used in other areas of the retail industry, including the apparel sector.

"When we're talking about fashion, the closest thing to an ingredient in food is fabric," Szames said. "If your favourite sweater used to be 100 per cent cashmere, you should look closely at the label before you buy it again. It's now maybe 90 per cent cashmere and 10 per cent polyester."

Advances in fabric technology could mean the new blended fabric is just as high quality, but it's important for consumers to be aware of the change, she said.

Khandelwal said holiday discounts have always been hit or miss as retailers try to pull customers into the store with doorbuster deals while keeping other items at regular price.

The difference this year is that inflation is making all prices — even sale prices — higher, the co-founder of startups ShyftLabs and Minoan Experience said.

The trick for shoppers trying to rein in spending is to not buy more than they need — even if it's on sale, he said.

"Make a list and stick to it and if you spend too much, most retailers have good return policies."

TD Bank Group reports $6.67B Q4 profit, up from $3.78B a year ago

TD Bank profits climb

TD Bank Group reported a fourth-quarter profit of $6.67 billion, up from $3.78 billion in the same quarter last year, boosted by a one-time gain related to its deal to buy U.S.-based First Horizon Bank and the sale of Schwab shares.

The bank said Thursday the profit amounted to $3.62 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $2.04 per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenue totalled $15.56 billion, up from $10.94 billion a year ago.

TD says provisions for credit losses totalled $617 million in its latest quarter compared with a $123-million recovery of credit losses in the same quarter last year.

On an adjusted basis, TD says it earned $2.18 per diluted share in its fourth quarter compared with an adjusted profit of $2.09 per diluted share in its fourth quarter last year.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $2.06 per share, according to estimates compiled by financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

"I'm extremely pleased with our earnings performance this quarter, which capped off a strong year demonstrating the benefit of our diversified business model and prudent risk and financial management," TD chief executive Bharat Masrani said in a statement.

"The strength and resilience of our franchise enabled the Bank to invest in our business and deliver for our shareholders."

TD said its Canadian personal and commercial banking business earned $1.69 billion in its latest quarter, up from $1.53 billion in the same quarter last year.

TD's U.S. retail business, which includes its investment in the Charles Schwab Corp., earned $1.54 billion, up from $1.37 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, TD's wealth management and insurance segment earned $516 million, down from $608 million in the same quarter last year, and its wholesale banking business earned $261 million, down from $420 million in the fourth quarter last year.

TD's corporate segment reported a profit of $2.66 billion, compared with a loss of $150 million a year ago as it saw a gain related to its First Horizon acquisition and a lift from the Schwab shares in its most recent quarter.

For its full year, TD reported a profit of$17.43 billion or $9.47 per diluted share on $49.03 billion in revenue compared with a profit of $14.30 billion or $7.72 per diluted share on $42.69 billion in revenue in the previous year.

BMO Financial Group reports $4.48B Q4 profit, raises dividend

BMO raises dividend

BMO Financial Group raised its dividend as it reported fourth-quarter net income of $4.48 billion, up from $2.16 billion in the same quarter last year, boosted by a one-time gain related to its purchase of Bank of the West.

The bank says it increased its quarterly dividend by four cents to $1.43 per share.

The change came as BMO said its profit amounted to $6.51 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $3.23 per diluted share a year ago. Revenue totalled $10.57 billion for the quarter, up from $6.57 billion in the same quarter last year.

Provisions for credit losses were $226 million compared with a $126-million recovery of credit losses a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, BMO says it earned $3.04 per diluted share, down from an adjusted profit of $3.33 per diluted share a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $3.07 per share for the quarter, according to estimates compiled by financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

"Looking ahead to 2023, the economic environment remains uncertain, with inflation and higher interest rates expected to slow the economy in the near term," BMO chief executive Darryl White said in a statement.

"We will continue to dynamically manage capital and resources to grow our businesses and support our customers while finalizing preparations for the natural next step in our North American growth strategy, the approval, closing and integration of Bank of the West.

BMO said its Canadian personal and commercial banking business earned $917 million, down from $933 million a year ago, while is U.S. personal and commercial bank earned $660 million, up from $509 million in the same quarter last year.

The bank's wealth management arm earned $298 million, down from $345 million in the same quarter last year, and its capital markets business earned $357 million in its latest quarter, down from $531 million a year ago.

The bank's corporate services group reported a profit of $2.25 billion for the quarter, boosted by a gain related to its pending purchase of Bank of the West, offset in part by legal provision. The group reported a loss of $159 million a year ago.

For its full year, BMO reported a profit of $13.54 billion or $19.99 per diluted share on $33.71 billion in revenue compared with a profit of $7.75 billion or $11.58 per diluted share on $27.19 billion in revenue a year earlier.

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