The techstock boom has well and truly arrived in Canadas market

It makes up almost 6 per cent of Canada’s stock market and is the best-performing sector this year.That’s right: technology stocks have climbed a massive 59 per cent in 2019 — more than double the next-best industry group on the S&P/TSX Composite Index. In fact, tech’s share of the benchmark index has grown at the fastest rate among all sectors in the past four years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“The tech ecosystem in Canada is very robust,” said Todd Coupland, managing director of institutional equity research at CIBC Capital Markets. “There are some high-quality growth companies that have begun to scale up over the last few years and they’ve gone public, and the success of those companies is manifesting itself in higher share prices.” Some of Canada’s hottest tech firms are weighing IPOs following success of Lightspeed, Shopify rally Crackdown on big tech rivals could be ‘tremendous’ opportunity for Shopify, analyst says Shopify is now more valuable than two of Canada’s oldest companies Canada’s tech sector hasn’t always had a smooth road. Fortunes have ebbed and flowed with the likes of BlackBerry Ltd., formerly known as Research In Motion, and now-defunct telephone equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. But the S&P/TSX Composite Information Technology Index is now on track for its seventh year of gains — its longest winning run on record — having added $108 billion (US$81 billion) in market value in 2019.Ottawa-based Shopify Inc., which has climbed more than 1,500 per cent since it went public in 2015, is a big part of the success. It has a 39 per cent weighting on the tech sub-gauge and comprises 2.18 per cent of the broader benchmark.“With Shopify getting bigger and bigger, it’s getting more on the radar of larger, more global focused investors,” said Suthan Sukumar, an analyst at Eight Capital. “That is drawing more eyeballs to the Canadian market.”It isn’t just Shopify that’s making waves. Lightspeed POS Inc. — which boasted Canada’s second-biggest IPO this year and the biggest offering by a Canadian tech firm in almost nine years — had a stunning trading debut in March. The stock has climbed 175 per cent as the company forecast annual revenue that beat analyst expectations. That performance isn’t reflected in the S&P/TSX Info Tech index, which hasn’t yet added Lightspeed.And another tech company is looking to follow in Lightspeed’s footsteps. Toronto-based Docebo announced Wednesday that it filed documents with regulators for an IPO.With valuations sky-high, it’s worth asking whether the rally can last. The price-to-earnings ratio for the S&P/TSX Composite Info Tech gauge stands at 34.6, compared with the broader benchmark’s multiple of 14.3.Sukumar says he sees opportunity in at least some corners of tech.“There is an opportunity for investors to continue rewarding higher-quality growth and growth that can prove to be resilient in these kind of market conditions,” he said.Bloomberg.com read more

Concerned over potential violence in Burundi UN chief urges resumption of dialogue

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the United Nations chief urged the Burundian authorities “to abide by their international commitments with respect to human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly.” Burundi has been embroiled in a political crisis since mid-April when popular protests erupted after the country’s ruling National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate for a third term.The situation escalated shortly thereafter, on 13 May, following an attempted coup d’état as President Nkurunziza left for the Summit of the East African Community, which was intended to try to resolve the crisis.In today’s statement, Mr. Ban called on the country’s authorities to ensure that security forces avoid the use of excessive force in handling demonstrations and stressed that those responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations would be held accountable. In addition, he noted that the Security Council intended to consider “the various tools at its disposal to safeguard peace in Burundi and ensure accountability.”Further, the Secretary-General encouraged Burundian stakeholders to “resume in earnest” the consultative political dialogue facilitated by his Special Envoy, Said Djinnit, and hoped that the parties to the dialogue will implement, without delay, the confidence-building measures already agreed.Mr. Ban also urged the swift implementation of measures “to help create the conditions for the holding of peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in Burundi,” such as the disarmament of all armed youth groups associated with political parties. The Security Council was briefed today in a closed-door session by Mr. Djinnit as well as the UN Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, who visited the country on 30 and 31 May. In a statement released to the press, the 15-member body reiterated their concern with the violent acts perpetrated in Burundi and the impact of the crisis on the region. “They called on all Burundian stakeholders to demonstrate their sense of responsibility, to exercise restraint, not to resort to violence or retaliatory attacks, to settle disputes peacefully and to prioritize Burundi’s peace and stability above all else and in the best interests of the nation.”The Council also called on all Burundian parties to reach agreement on a new electoral calendar; reinstatement of private media; protection of civil and human rights; release of detainees; holding accountable those who have used violence; respect of the rule of law; and the urgent disarmament of all armed youth groups allied to political parties.In addition, it reiterated their intent “to respond to violent acts which threaten peace and security in Burundi.”The crisis in Burundi has not only led to growing tensions within the country but has also spawned a troubling humanitarian crisis across the region as thousands of Burundian refugees stream across the country’s borders and into neighbouring States such as Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since early April, nearly 100,000 Burundians have fled their country, according to UN estimates. read more