Five things you should know before you start your work day on March 2

Eric Sprott

Brent Lewin / Bloomberg

Good morning, and did you know today is Old Stuff Day? Neither did we, so we’ll ignore that in favour of new stuff, such as our top business stories. Shari Kulha here to fill you in. 

MANY, MANY PENNIES 

What happens when the “kingmaker” backs your penny mining stock? A percentage gain in the thousands is what. Garibaldi Resources is exploring for nickel in B.C.’s Golden Triangle, an area explored and mined for a century without much luck. But as Gabe Friedman writes, “retired” billionaire investor Eric Sprott has been enamoured with Garibaldi, and he’s made bank on unlikely juniors before.

Quote: “I couldn’t raise a dime of hard dollars even if you put a gun to my head,” Garibaldi CEO Steve Regoci said. “There was no interest, even guys I knew in the brokerage industry, my friends, everyone was doing marijuana deals.… I keep thinking why would a guy invest that much? He didn’t know anything.”

TARIFF THREAT

Canadian stocks are under (another) cloud of uncertainty as Trump has proposed tough steel and aluminum tariffs on imports. The move could really impact Canadian producers of aluminum and steel, as well as companies in the oil and gas sector. As Jesse Snyder reports, no details were given as to whether Stelco’s semi-finished product, or rolled steel, or whether supply chains for carmakers, for example, would get hit.  

Bottom line: Canada is the largest foreign supplier of steel to the U.S., accounting for 16.1 per cent of the country’s imports. “There’s an awful lot of steel that goes back and forth,” said analyst Charles Bradford. 

SWEET STUFF

Cannabis giant Canopy Growth is considering listing on the Nasdaq. That comes only days after competitor Cronos Group became the first Canadian cannabis company to do so. As part of a broader shift in the cannabis industry, Mark Rendell writes, medical marijuana will look less like the cannabis bud smoked today and more like traditional pharmaceuticals products, taken in gel caps or inhalers for specific issues. 

Quote: “(Cannabis is) only an ingredient. It’s about as exciting over the next three, or four, or five years as the price of sugar in the context of any finished good that uses sugar,” CEO Bruce Linton said. 

COME BACK!

Foreign direct investment in Canada fell 26 per cent to $33.8 billion in 2017, Naomi Powell reports, continuing a trend of declining interest by foreign firms. And for the first time since data collection on the topic began in 2007, foreign firms sold more Canadian companies than they bought. As well, capital expenditure is expected to fall in the oil and gas sector for a fourth consecutive year, declining 12 per cent from 2017 to $33.2 billion. 

Quote: “Usually late in the cycle when the global economy is doing well, you tend to get large inflows into Canada, not the opposite,” BMO Financial’s Doug Porter said. “There is a problem here. Some of it does reflect ongoing concerns in the energy sector but I think there’s something else at play here as well.”

A TASTE OF MEDICINE

Finally, for a little Friday fun, try to determine whose words these are: “The demons that haunted me no longer all exist,” this person wrote to the judge who will hand down the sentence on Monday, which could be as much as 30 years in prison. “I have learned a very painful lesson,” and, “I hope to make your honor proud of me in the years ahead.” And more surprisingly: “I was a fool.… I wanted to be more than I was.… I exaggerated.”

Bottom line: This person caused investors to lose US$10 million and was reviled even by those who weren’t directly affected.

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