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Markets have bounced back from losses sustained earlier this week.

Traders gauged remarks by central bank chairs in both Canada and the U.S. hoping for an ease on further monetary policy tightening. The Bank of Canada recently released minutes from its January policy meeting, where it raised interest rates by 25 basis points. The bank’s Governor said no further interest rate hikes would be needed if the economy stalls and inflation comes down as expected.

U.S. stock markets were also struggling as investors took stock of comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on how long it may take to control inflation. Traders worry that the central bank will keep hiking interest rates this year, with analysts betting the benchmark rate could rise above 5 per cent in May and peak at 5.18 per cent in July.

Always a solid metric to gauge investor sentiment is what people on the Bullboards are talking about, so let’s dive in and see what the story was this past week ….

Canadian clean tech company Exro Technologies Inc. (TSXV:EXROForum) signed a channel partnership agreement with Greentech Renewables Southwest.

Greentech Renewables is a division of one of the largest solar equipment distributors in the U.S.

This non-exclusive partnership has been planned to accelerate and amplify Exro’s market presence for its Cell Driver Energy Storage System product offering, targeting Greentech’s growing demand for energy storage in commercial and industrial applications as well as EV charging stations.

The company’s primary objectives for this year are to introduce the Cell Driver product to Greentech’s network of commercial integrators. This will happen in two phases beginning with the development of a joint sales and marketing plan which includes a pilot project. Sites are already being evaluated for the pilot.

The second phase of the agreement will have Greentech provide a flexible product demand forecast on a rolling 12-24-month period over the five-year term of the agreement.

The collaborative energy storage system, made up of Exro’s Cell Driver ad Greentech’s solar panel products and services, will be designed to serve as a flexible energy asset that supports peak shaving and grid reliability while also having potential applications for fully off-grid projects.

The Exro Cell Driver provides increased control over battery cells for superior charging, deeper discharge rates, enhanced safety, and continuous operation. The Cell Driver product remains on schedule to complete the certification required to connect to the power grid in North America by late 2023.

PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (TSXV:PYRForum), a high-tech company that designs, develops, manufactures and commercializes plasma-based processes, received a $2.4 million payment from a major international iron ore producer.

The payment was triggered by PyroGenesis’ delivery of four 1-MW plasma torch systems for use in the client’s iron ore pelletization furnaces – a key upstream part of the steelmaking process.

The torches use renewable electricity, allowing the client to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil-fuel burners.

Pelletization significantly reduces the cost of transporting iron ore, which is an essential feedstock for blast furnaces.

Torch installation and trials are slated to be finalized by Q2 2023.

Finally, the world’s annual premier mineral exploration and mining convention, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is just around the corner and this year, investor attention is squarely focused on the potential of the lithium market.

One of the key companies exhibiting at PDAC in this space is Critical Elements Lithium Corp. (TSXV:CREForum), who reported a new ruling in favour of its wholly-owned Rose Project in Québec.

The Environmental and Social Impact Review Committee (COMEX), an independent body appointed by the governments of Québec and the Cree Nation, recommended authorization for Hydro- Québec’s connection to the Rose Lithium-Tantalum mine and the 315-kV Eastmain-1-Nemiscau powerline relocation project.

The recommendation paves the way for final approval from the Québec Minister of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks.

Final approval will allow Hydro- Québec to relocate a segment of the Eastmain-1-Nemiscau line, which crosses the future mine site, then construct a 315/25-kV transformer substation and connect the mine to the Eastmain-1-Nemiscau powerline.

Next week we’ll shift focus to other sectors with a better understanding of how governments on both sides of the border will help people and the economy, along with what challenges still await.

The Market Herald keeps you in the loop on the hottest small-cap stocks, keeping you ready for the shift to a recovery, and with it, a buyer’s market.

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