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Bulls, bears and Bay Street: Test your knowledge of 2023’s business news

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1. What sector led a rally in North American equity markets during the first half of 2023?

a. Technology 

b. Energy

c. Banks

d. Telecommunications

2. Midway into the year, which airline division(s) did WestJet say it planned to shut down?

a. Swoop

b. Sunwing Airlines

c. Swoop and Flair

d. Swoop and Sunwing Airlines

3. In July, which company filed a trademark application for its brand’s signature colour, also known as Pantone 301?

a. Tangerine

b. Bell

c. Canadian Tire

d. Rogers

4. Which company pleaded guilty in June to four counts of price-fixing on bread products under the Competition Act, and was fined $50 million?

a. Weston Bakeries 

b. Loblaw

c. Canada Bread 

d. Maple Leaf Foods

5. How many times did the Bank of Canada raise interest rates in 2023?

a. Two

b. Three

c. Four

d. Five

6. Which Canadian company did NOT file for creditor protection in 2023?

a. Bad Boy Furniture Warehouse Ltd.

b. Hudson’s Bay Co.

c. Metroland Media Group

d. Mastermind GP Inc.

7. Who was summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee to answer for his remarks after saying publicly, “We have a bit of a disproportionate emphasis on the longer-term energy transition,” and “today we win” by focusing on oil?

a. Enbridge CEO Greg Ebel

b. Imperial Oil CEO Brad Corson

c. Suncor CEO Rich Kruger

d. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre

8. Ex-Rogers CEO Joe Natale sued his former employer this year, alleging Rogers committed wrongful dismissal and breach of contract. In the lawsuit, he accused chairman Edward Rogers and his wife Suzanne of hiring which actor from HBO’s “Succession” to create a “demeaning” video about Natale?

a. Brian Cox

b. Jeremy Strong

c. Kieran Culkin

d. Sarah Snook

9. How many homes did the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. say the country needs to build by 2030 to reach some semblance of affordability?

a. 3.1 million

b. 3.5 million

c. 4.2 million

d. 4.8 million

10. RBC faced protests from shareholders and stakeholders at its annual general meeting related to its climate policies and Indigenous consultations, despite hosting the meeting far from its headquarters in Toronto. In what city was the AGM?

a. Edmonton

b. Yellowknife

c. Halifax

d. Saskatoon

11. What airline consistently ranked near the bottom for on-time performance among North America’s 10 biggest carriers over the past six months?

a. Delta Air Lines

b. American Airlines

c. Air Canada

d. WestJet

12. Which Canadian cannabis company got into the orchid growing business in 2023?

a. Canopy Growth Corp.

b. Tilray Inc.

c. High Tide Inc.

d. Aurora Cannabis Inc.

13. When asked by reporters about changes their company made after facing challenges in 2023, which Canadian business leader said, “Do you believe everything you read?”

a. Loblaw’s Galen Weston

b. CBC’s Catherine Tait

c. Indigo’s Heather Reisman

d. Air Canada’s Michael Rousseau

14. What was the approximate value of cargo disrupted by the 13-day B.C. port workers strike in July?

a. $500 million

b. $6 billion

c. $10 billion

d. $40 billion

15. Which company was spun off and sold to Quebecor-owned Videotron as part of Rogers’ takeover of Shaw, which was finalized in April?

a. Freedom Mobile

b. Koodo Mobile

c. Fido

d. TekSavvy

16. It was a big year for banks as multiple blockbuster deals moved forward, but which one of them fell apart?

a. Royal Bank’s $13.5-billion takeover of HSBC

b. TD Bank’s US$13.4-billion takeover of First Horizon

c. BMO’s US$16.3-billion takeover of Bank of the West

d. National Bank’s acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank’s $1-billion loan portfolio in Canada

17. Teck Resources Ltd. announced a deal in November to sell its steelmaking coal business. Which company is buying a majority stake in the operations?

a. BHP Group Ltd. 

b. Glencore PLC

c. Anglo American PLC

d. JSW Steel Ltd.

18. Which company did not sign the federal government’s voluntary AI code of conduct?

a. BlackBerry Ltd.

b. Cohere Inc.

c. OpenText Corp.

d. Shopify Inc.

19. Inflation has been cooling since it peaked at 8.1 per cent in June 2022. What was the year-over-year increase in the consumer price index in June this year?

a. 2.8 per cent

b. 3.4 per cent

c. 3.9 per cent

d. 4.1 per cent

20. What commodity was in short supply in Western Canada in November due to a strike at a B.C. processing facility?

a. Steel

b. Soybeans

c. Sugar

d. Lumber

1. a; 2. d; 3. b; 4. c; 5. b; 6. b; 7. c; 8. a; 9. b; 10. d; 11. c; 12. d; 13. c; 14. c; 15. a; 16. b; 17. b; 18. d; 19. a; 20. c

1. a; A handful of large technology stocks led a narrow rally in the first half of 2023, fuelled by hopes for the growth of artificial intelligence.

2. d; WestJet revealed in June it would shut down its budget subsidiary Swoop at the end of October. Eight days after the announcement, it confirmed it would fold low-cost carrier Sunwing Airlines — which it acquired in May — into its mainline operation within two years.

3. b; Bell Canada applied to trademark the colour used across its branding as “Bell Blue.” If approved by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office – a process that typically takes years – the trademark would give the telecom and media giant exclusive rights for a decade to use the colour across certain goods and services it offers.

4. c; Canada Bread was fined $50 million, the highest price-fixing fine ever imposed by a Canadian court, according to the Competition Bureau. The settlement was a milestone in the bureau’s ongoing investigation into an alleged bread price-fixing scheme in the food industry. 

5. b; The Bank of Canada raised rates by a quarter percentage point in each of January, June and July. The central bank’s key rate has remained unchanged at five per cent since July.

6. b; Bad Boy and Mastermind filed for creditor protection in November, while Metroland filed in September.

7. c; Kruger made the controversial comments on Suncor’s second-quarter earnings call in August.

8. a; In court filings, Natale alleged Edward and Suzanne Rogers hired “Succession” actor Brian Cox to create the video about him and distribute it to their family members, friends and colleagues, before it was eventually reported on by media. The video included a message congratulating Edward Rogers on his “real-life Succession at Rogers Communications” and used an expletive to describe Natale’s departure. The allegations have not been proven in court.

9. b; In September, CMHC maintained its 2022 projection that Canada needs about 3.5 million additional housing units by 2030 to restore affordability.

10. d; RBC said it periodically hosts its AGM in other cities.

11. c; In the period between June and November, Air Canada ranked in the bottom two spots every month for on-time performance among the 10 largest airlines in North America.

12. d; Aurora is growing orchids under its subsidiary Bevo Agtech Inc., which grows flowers and vegetables.

13. c; Reisman made the remarks in October, when reporters touring a new Indigo location in Toronto asked her about what changes she may have made internally after the company saw the departure of several executives and board members, one of whom alleged “mistreatment.” Indigo said at the time it was confident in its business, finances and long-term strategy.

14. c; The job action by 7,400 dockworkers caused shippers to reroute their goods to ports on the west coast of the U.S.

15. a; Freedom Mobile, which was previously owned by Shaw, was officially sold to Videotron in April when Ottawa approved the Rogers-Shaw merger. Rogers and Shaw had agreed in June 2022 to sell Freedom for $2.85 billion in an attempt to ease competition concerns surrounding the takeover.

16. b; TD called off the deal, citing “uncertainty as to when and if it would be able to obtain regulatory approval.” It later disclosed that it was facing investigations, and expects fines, from U.S. regulators related to its anti-money laundering compliance program.

17. b.; Glencore has agreed to pay US$6.9 billion for a 77-per-cent stake in Teck’s steelmaking coal business. Japanese company Nippon Steel Corp. will acquire a 20 per cent stake and South Korean steelmaker Posco is getting a three per cent stake.

18. d; It was Shopify Inc. When the code was announced in September, CEO Lütke posted on X, “I won’t support it. We don’t need more referees in Canada. We need more builders.”

19. a; The annual inflation rate cooled to 2.8 per cent in June as the price of gasoline fell compared with the same month a year earlier. The pace of price growth has fluctuated in the second half of 2023, with the most recent data showing an annual rate of 3.1 per cent in November.

20. c; Workers at the Rogers Sugar processing facility in Vancouver began a multi-week strike on Sept. 28.

The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 20231221151228-6584a0084aef706451894e6fjpeg.jpg, Caption:

Bulls, bears and Bay Street: Interest rates, grocery prices and colourful CEOs were among the memorable business stories of 2023. Bay Street in Canada’s financial district is shown in Toronto on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

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