Stock surge could cushion broader downturn

If we’re still in a “vibecession,” someone forgot to tell the stock market — over there, things are better than ever.

What happened: The S&P500 cracked a new all-time high at the end of trading last week, closing at 4,839.81, just past the previous record set in January of 2022. 

Networks gear up for the live sports streaming era

As if supporting Canadian sports teams wasn’t hard enough on its own (please don’t talk to us about the Leafs), broadcasters could soon make it even tougher (and expensive) to tune in to games. 

Driving the news: ESPN is in talks to sell equity stakes in the network to major sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA and MLB, as part of the company’s effort to transition into the streaming era, per Axios

Roger Aliaga-Díaz on Canada’s economic outlook

 On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Roger Aliaga-Díaz, Vanguard's Global Head of Portfolio Construction and Chief Economist for the Americas, to talk about his outlook for the economy in the year ahead and how the last cycle is shaping his thinking. 

China does the population drop… again

Much like our in-laws sending us passive-aggressive Facebook posts, China is hassling its population to have kids. And also like our in-laws, China’s efforts have been ignored.

What happened: China’s population declined for the second straight year, shrinking by 2.08 million people last year, a greater decline than the previous year’s loss of 850,000. 

Scammers are picking on Canadian TV hosts

Mary Berg is many things — MasterChef Canada winner, beloved celebrity chef, host of CTV’s The Good Stuff — but now she can add “unwilling star of a crypto scam” to her resume.

What happened: All month, X users have been bombarded with ads about a fake scandal involving Berg.

Explain It Like I'm Five: Artificial General Intelligence

Tech circles can’t really agree on what constitutes “artificial general intelligence,” or AGI. Generally speaking, it’s an AI that can learn to accomplish tasks at the same level as a human, but there’s debate on what exactly “human level” means. It could be a computer that can reason, plan, and learn to do things like make coffee or build IKEA furniture with little instruction. It could be one that has “senses” and can change behaviour because of what it “sees” or “hears.”

Why hardware makers are flocking to handheld gaming

Computer and chip makers are trying to level up their business by pumping top-of-the-line components into a much smaller package.

What happened: MSI became the latest computer hardware maker to jump into handheld PC gaming when it showed off the Claw at CES this year. Using Intel’s latest Core Ultra chips, the device boasts better battery life, ergonomics, and AI-powered performance than the competition.

This round of tech layoffs came with vexing hits to company culture

Tech leaders have been trying to assure everyone that we aren’t heading for another year of mass layoffs, but the more troubling trend might be how companies are conducting themselves.

Driving the news: So far in January, 58 tech companies have laid off nearly 8,000 employees. That continued this week on Google’s advertising sales and YouTube teams, while Amazon’s Buy with Prime became the latest unit at the company to face cuts.

Could ocean waves power a province?

Ah, the sea. It’s brought life and death to many a sailor, and it might now do the same to a renewable energy concept. 

Driving the news: For years, various companies have tried to prove that harnessing tidal power from the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is a viable source of renewable energy. Most have failed, and now, the whole idea of creating energy via big salty waves is on the brink. 

Vision Pro ushers in a new era for Apple

Looking to revive the buzz of the early iPhone days, Apple’s hoping its new US$3,499 mixed reality headset will do the trick. 

Driving the news: Apple’s long-awaited Vision Pro headset is now available for pre-order in the U.S., marking the tech giant's entry into its first new product category in nearly a decade.

What is the future of Rexall?

Need a topic for small talk with your pharmacist when they’re refilling your prescription? This story has you covered.

Driving the news: If you’re in the market for ~400 pretty successful Canadian pharmacies, U.S. medical distribution giant McKesson has put up the ‘for sale’ sign on its pharmacy chain Rexall, aka, that place you pop into when there isn’t a Shoppers nearby. 

Sandwich wars head north of the border

In a move that sounds like the plot of a Martin Scorsese mafia movie, U.S. sandwich chains Jersey Mike’s and Jimmy John’s are gearing up for a turf war north of the border.

What happened: The chains are joining the growing list of fast food brands looking to take a chunk out of the lucrative Canadian sandwich market.

OMERS wants a life without LifeLabs

One of the biggest pension funds in Canada is looking to make some blood money… and by that we mean they’re looking to sell the place where you probably get your bloodwork done.

Driving the news: OMERS has been peddling LifeLabs — Canada’s largest private medical lab company — since last year, per The Globe and Mail.

The bell tolls for CEBA repayments

If your usually chipper barista seems a little on edge, it might be because today is a very stressful day for many small businesses across the country.

Driving the news: Today is the last day for businesses and nonprofits to repay their Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans — interest-free government loans — and still receive partial loan forgiveness, valued at up to a third of the loan, and avoid interest. 

Using AI and quantum computing to invent new batteries

Vehicle and device batteries are driving huge demand for lithium. Since it is a non-renewable resource, scientists are looking for ways to replace or use less lithium, but with so many combinations of materials, it can be hard to know what’s worth exploring.

Feds list over 100 foreign institutions deemed security risks for tech research

Canadian researchers in some of the most innovative fields are going to face greater government scrutiny over who they work with.

What happened: The federal government released a list of over 100 schools and research organizations from China, Russia, and Iran that it says pose a risk to national security. It also defined 11 “sensitive” research areas representing leading-edge and disruptive technologies that may also interest those “seeking to misappropriate Canada’s technological advantages.”

What I learned building an app for the ChatGPT Store

It can be hard to grasp how the ChatGPT store and app builder work unless you’ve gone hands-on with them. So I did. 

Canada’s sugar industry gets a sweetener

An up-and-coming company’s Canadian expansion is giving ‘Big Sugar’ a run for its money. 

What happened: Florida-based sugar producer Sucro will invest $135 million to build what could be Canada’s biggest sugar refinery, according to The Globe and Mail. The upstart aims to take on the country’s sugar duopoly, as demand for the sweet stuff grows. 

Are work wellness programs doing anything?

Warning: If you are an HR manager implementing wellness initiatives at your workplace, this story contains content that you may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

Driving the news: A new study on the effectiveness of work wellness programs came away with a shocking conclusion: All those apps, courses, and puppy yoga classes aren’t doing anything to improve workers’ mental health.