Thursday, July 31, 2008

Starbucks posts first quarterly loss

Coffee giant Starbucks Corp. has posted its first quarterly loss due to poorer-than-expected sales and a large restructuring charge.

It lost $6.7 million US, or one cent a share, in the three months ended June 30. That compares to a profit of $158 million, or 21 cents per share, for the same period last year.

The company absorbed a restructuring charge of $168 million in its third quarter. These extra costs are associated with the company's plans to scale back its global operations.

Economy shrinks by 0.1% in May

Economic activity in Canada retreated in May, as the country's gross domestic product for the month saw a surprising contraction of 0.1 per cent, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

Economists had been looking for growth of 0.2 per cent for the month.

"Overall, this result is a clear disappointment, especially since almost all preliminary indications for the month pointed to modest growth," said BMO Capital Markets economist Douglas Porter.

TMX Group earnings up after merger with Montreal Exchange

TMX Group earnings up after merger with Montreal ExchangeTMX 3-month chart

TMX Group Inc., which merged with Montreal Exchange Inc. in May, said Wednesday its earnings for the second quarter grew by 26 per cent.

Don't expect big tax breaks: Flaherty

Canadians should not expect big tax cuts or big spending this year, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Wednesday.

Flaherty made the comments to reporters at the Conservative Party caucus meeting in Lévis, Que.

"We're on track in our budgeting, but as you know we did not budget for a large surplus in this fiscal year 2008-2009," he said. "I'm satisfied and I'm confident that we're on track in terms of our revenues and our expenses over the year."

Forestry: Green hope or no hope?

There's a ray of green light visible at the end of the very dark tunnel where Canadian forestry product workers, communities and companies have struggled since the business began to implode in 2003.

Since then, production has tumbled; mills have closed; at least 38,000 workers — and perhaps 50,000 — have lost their jobs. The forest companies' shares are trading for a fraction of their former prices.

Forestry: Green hope or no hope?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Steelmakers forge profit from soaring prices

ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steel producer, posted quarterly profits that blasted past analysts' forecasts and continued a trend of stellar news in the white-hot steel sector.

Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittel earned $5.8 billion US for the second quarter of 2008, more than double the $2.7 billion it made in the same three-month period last year.

On a per-share basis, ArcelorMittal posted a gain of $4.20 in the latest quarter versus $1.97 for the second quarter of last year.

Looking ahead: Is forestry the future in Red Rock?

A new billboard at the side of the highway into Red Rock, Ont., might be a sign of progress for a small town struggling to survive.

Looking ahead: Is forestry the future in Red Rock?

Colgate brushes off slumping world economy with strong Q2

Consumer products giant Colgate-Palmolive Co. bucked growing economic headwinds and posted strong sales growth and record operating profits in its latest quarter.

On Tuesday, Colgate — which makes toothpaste, soap and antiperspirant among other well-known consumer items — said it earned net income of $494 million US, or 92 cents a share, for the April to June period. That figure represented a two cent per-share miss when compared to analysts' predictions.

WestJet's Q2 profit loses altitude but beats estimates

Upstart airline WestJet lost some profit altitude in its second quarter, mainly because of higher fuel costs. But the Calgary-based carrier still managed to beat analysts' profit expectations in its latest three months.

WestJet earned $30.2 million, or 23 cents a share, for the second quarter of 2008. That represented a drop in profit of three cents a share compared to the same quarter one year earlier. In the April to June period of 2007, WestJet made $33.7 million excluding an extraordinary charge.

Ont. wants further studies into electric car safety

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is studying the safety of the Zenn Motor a low speed electric vehicle, built by a Toronto company. According to a promotional video it costs about a penny a mile to operate the car.

"The Zenn requires no gas and is as simple as plugging in a cellphone to recharge," says the video.

But unlike in British Columbia and Quebec, the Toronto-based company's cars are still not street legal. The Ontario Transportation Ministry is examining whether the cars are safe to drive.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WTO talks collapse over import rules

A bid by the world's major trading powers to salvage trade talks collapsed on Tuesday after the United States, India and China failed to agree on farm import rules.

The failure of the discussions between seven commercial trading powers likely signals the end to efforts by the World Trade Organization to gain an overall global trade pact.

The WTO has been trying since 2001 to secure a deal on the rules governing trade. But the prospects for such an agreement have been damaged by continual disagreements between Western nations and emerging economic powers, such as India and China, over manufacturing and agricultural rules.

GMAC to end subsidized vehicle leasing

GMAC to end subsidized vehicle leasingZero per cent interest rate availability is draped on the side of an unsold 2008 Denali at a GMC Truck dealership in Littleton, Colo.. in July. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Why coal is once again king

When Teck-Cominco Ltd. agreed to buy Fording Canadian Coal Trust recently for $14 billion US, the deal might have raised some eyebrows among casual market observers.

After all, the purchase price, $82 US a share plus a bit of a Teck Cominco share, is pretty rich compared with Fording's 52-week stock low of $27.39 US, reached last August.

Why coal is once again king

Teck-Cominco bids for Fording Canadian Coal Trust

Teck-Cominco bids for Fording Canadian Coal TrustTeck-Cominco B 3-month TSX chart

Teck Cominco Ltd. said Monday it will buy the assets Fording Canadian Coal Trust for a combination of cash and stock worth $14.1 billion.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Workers set up pickets at Sask. potash mine

Striking potash workers set up picket lines at a Saskatchewan mine site on Monday as the union representing employees and Potash Corp. continue to spar over a new contract.

The workers established the pickets at Potash's Cory mine site in order to highlight their dispute with the giant potash producer.

The United Steelworkers of Canada (USW) represent a total of 500 Potash employees, who have been without a contract since last April. The union said it has met with management more than 40 times since April in an effort to reach an agreement.

Bell Canada cutting management staff by 2,500

Bell Canada will cut about 2,500 management jobs to reduce costs, the telecommunications company's parent firm, BCE Inc., announced Monday.

The cuts amount to about 15 per cent of Bell Canada's management jobs, or about six per cent of the company's total workforce.

The cuts include the 30 per cent staff reduction announced on July 11.

The job cuts, together with earlier cost-lowering moves, are expected to help Bell save about $300 million annually.

Canada better than U.S. for corporate taxes: KPMG

Canada has a more competitive tax system for companies than the United States, according to a KPMG study released Monday.

KPMG says Canada, often thought of as a high-tax country, scored third-best out of 10 countries according to the consultancy's total tax index.

The Canadian score placed this country ahead of seven other major industrialized economies, including the U.S., the United Kingdom and Japan. Only Mexico and the Netherlands posted a better, or lower score, than Canada.

Toyota cuts 2008 car sales forecast

Toyota Motor Corp. cut its 2008 sales forecast on Monday, a sign of further trouble for the global car industry.

The revised predication also means the automobile maker will reduce production at its main subsidiary for the first time in seven years.

Toyota, now the world's largest vehicle producer, said it expects to sell in the range of 9.5 million cars and trucks in 2008. That figure represented a cut of 350,000 vehicles, or 3.5 per cent of total production, compared to the 9.85 million units the company figured to sell in earlier forecasts.

Melnyk drops challenge in Biovail board election

Melnyk drops challenge in Biovail board electionBiovail 3-month TSX chart

Eugene Melnyk is dropping his attempt to get his slate of directors elected to the board of Biovail Corp.

Canadian housing sales slump in 1st half of '08

Canada's housing market slumped considerably in the first six months of 2008, said the Canadian Real Estate Association on Monday.

The number of residential homes sold across the country sagged by 13 per cent for the January to June period, according to figures released by the organization.

The numbers appear to be further proof that Canada is sliding into an economic downturn.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development predicts that the Canadian economy will grow by only 1.2 per cent this year. In periods of slower growth, potential home buyers often hold off purchases until the economy improves.

GM, CAW reach deal in dispute over truck plant closure

The Canadian Auto Workers union and General Motors have reportedly reached a settlement in a bitter dispute over the closure of a truck plant in Oshawa, Ont., that involves building two extra models at another plant in the city.

Under the deal, a new flexible car plant being built in the city east of Toronto will produce two other types of vehicles in addition to another two planned, including the Camaro muscle car.

Another key element involves paying senior GM employees a portion of their wages for up to four years until they reach the 30 years of seniority necessary to qualify for a special retirement incentive. The agreement also includes buyouts for employees leaving the company permanently.

Class action suit filed against Bell, Telus for new texting fees

A Quebec man has launched a class action lawsuit against Bell Mobility and Telus, following a move by the cellphone providers to charge customers for incoming text messages.

Eric Cormier, who has subscribed to Bell Mobility for the past decade, says by introducing the new fees, the companies have changed the terms of their cellular contracts.

"This was something that was free up until then and the problem for the consumers is that they cannot re-negotiate the contract," said lawyer Noel Saint-Pierre.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Federal government runs $517M deficit in April, May

The federal government ran a deficit of $517 million over April and May, the first two months of the current fiscal year, mainly due to lower corporate income tax and GST revenues.

Over the same time period last year, the government ran a $2.8 billion surplus.

The federal finance department said Friday that during this April and May revenues declined by $1.6 billion, or 4.1 per cent.

The revenue estimates for the first two months of the year include the impact of tax reduction measures for people, businesses and the GST.

Fuel-efficient rentals find favour over luxury cars, SUVs

Canadian consumers looking to save on gas are booking fewer luxury vehicles and SUVs from rental car companies, according to a travel reservation company.

Texas-based Sabre Holdings, the company that owns Travelocity, said Canadian bookings for luxury vehicles and SUVs have dropped 11 per cent and 30 per cent respectively in yearly comparisons. Meanwhile, demand for fuel-efficient cars has increased eight per cent, said Stephen Fitzgerald, the company's vice-president of car distribution.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sask. potash workers ready to talk: union

The union representing about 500 workers at three Saskatoon-area potash mines says it wants to return to the bargaining table rather than go on strike.

The strike/lockout deadline came and went Friday, with neither the United Steelworkers union nor the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan taking any action, even though both are now in a legal position to do so.

A union spokesperson said starting Saturday unionized workers at the Allan, Cory and Patience Lake mines will refuse to work overtime.

Feds deny Air Canada exemption from labour rules

Ottawa has denied Air Canada's request for an exemption from federal labour law, a move which could make the implementation of planned 2,000 job cuts more difficult.

Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said no Friday to Air Canada's application to obtain a holiday from some labour rules concerning the creation of layoff committees.

"After carefully examining the application, I have decided that there are insufficient grounds to grant a waiver to Air Canada," Blackburn said in a statement.

Loblaw Q2 profit up 18%

Loblaw Q2 profit up 18%Loblaw 3-month TSX chart

Loblaw Companies Ltd. said Friday it posted an 18 per cent profit increase in the second quarter as its sales gained 1.5 per cent on higher drugstore and gas bar revenue.

The Toronto-based company said it made $140 million, or 51 cents, a share in the quarter. A year earlier, the company made $119 million, or 43 cents a share, in a quarter when it took 18 cents a share in restructuring charges.

Kinross to acquire Aurelian Resources in $1.2B friendly deal

Kinross to acquire Aurelian Resources in $1.2B friendly dealAurelian 3-month TSX chart

Shares of Aurelian Resources Inc. jumped Thursday after the company announced a friendly takeover offer from Kinross Gold Corp.

Crocs shares slide after profit warning

Shares in shoemaker Crocs Inc. fell more than 44 per cent in Friday trading after the company said second-quarter sales and profit would be lower than anticipated.

Colorado-based Crocs, which is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, closed at $4.95 US, down $4 from yesterday's close.

On Thursday, Crocs, which makes colourful plastic shoes, said sales in April to June period would range between $218 million and $223 million. The company had expected revenue to be between $247 million and $258 million.

Friday, July 25, 2008

U.S. June home sales drop 2.6% from May

U.S. home sales in June fell 2.6 per cent from the May figure and are 15.5 per cent below the June 2007 number, the U.S. National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Thursday.

Prices also dropped, but the situation was different in the two market sectors, the large single-family homes contingent and the much smaller condominium and co-op sales group.

Single-family home sales in June dropped 3.2 per cent to an annual rate of 4.27 million from 4.41 million in May, NAR said. That left the the total 14.8 per cent below the 5.01 million figure a year earlier.

U.S. regulators charge firm with energy market manipulation

U.S. regulators have charged a Dutch firm and three executives with trying to manipulate the oil and gasoline market.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Thursday it has filed civil charges of manipulation and attempted manipulation against Optiver Holding BV, along with two of its subsidiaries.

The commission also charged head trader Chris Dowson, supervisor Randal Meijer and CEO Bastiaan van Kempen.

The CFTC alleged the defendants profited by about $1 million US from the manipulation scheme during an 11-day period in March 2007.

Canada's trade picture to darken in 2009, EDC says

Canada's trade picture will darken in 2009 because of lower oil prices and a slowing world economy, the Export Development Corporation said on Thursday.

The value of Canada's exports should slip one per cent next year as economic factors play havoc with the country's ability to sell products and services overseas, the Crown corporation said in its latest global export forecast.

"There hasn't been much good news for Canadian exporters. Losses due to the U.S. sub-prime crisis, the impact of soaring commodity prices upon consumers continues to increase, and proof of slowing global production is rampant," said Peter Hall, the EDC's chief economist in a news release.

XM, Sirius deal closing in on FCC approval: reports

The proposed merger of the U.S.'s two satellite radio broadcasters is expected to be approved after the companies agreed to pay $19.7 million US to settle rules violations.

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin said Thursday the regulatory agency reached agreements Wednesday night in which XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. will pay $17.5 million and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. will pay $2.2 million to settle agency violations.

Celestica reports Q2 profit

Toronto-based Celestica turned a loss into a profit in the second quarter, even though sales fell, the company said Thursday.

Profit for the three months ended June 30 was $39.8 million US (17 cents a diluted share), compared with a loss of $19.2 million (eight cents) a year earlier.

Revenue was $1.88 billion, compared with $1.94 billion.

Profit for the six months ended June 30 was $69.6 million (30 cents a diluted share), compared with a loss of $53.5 million (23 cents) a year earlier.

Producers' profits mixed despite higher energy prices

Producers' profits mixed despite higher energy pricesSuncor Energy CEO Rick George waits to addresses shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Calgary on Thursday.(Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Peru declares state of emergency at Canadian mine site

The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency at the site of a mine owned by a Vancouver company, saying its toxic chemicals are putting the capital's water supply at risk.

A 60-day state of emergency was put in place in the San Mateo district, 90 kilometres east of Lima, where Gold Hawk Resources runs the Coricancha metals mine.

Government officials said the mine's storage dump is unstable and at risk of collapse, which could release arsenic and other toxic chemicals into the Rimac River, Lima's main water source.

Oil prices push Husky profit

Oil prices push Husky profit Three-month TSX trading in Husky Oil

The first large Canadian energy company to report second-quarter results set records in revenue and profit.

Husky Energy Inc. reported that sales and operating revenue for the three months ended June 30 more than doubled to $7.20 billion from $3.16 billion in 2007. That was a record, president and CEO John C.S. Lau said in a release Wednesday.

Ford reports $8.7B US net loss in Q2

Rising gas prices and declining demand for large trucks are prompting Ford Motor Co., which reported a huge net loss in the second quarter on Thursday, to realign some of its North American production lines to build smaller, fuel-efficient cars.

Ford reported from its head office in Dearborn, Mich., that its second-quarter results included a net loss of $8.7 billion US, or $3.88 US a share. The loss included $8.03 US billion in writedowns on the value of Ford's North American assets and the lease portfolio of Ford Motor Credit Co.

Maple Leaf Foods Q2 losses widen

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. saw its loss widen in the second quarter as the giant food producer lost $9.4 million for the three months.

The next three months, however, should see an improvement in its fortunes, the company said Thursday.Maple Leaf Foods Q2 losses widen

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gas-fuelled inflation rate rises to 3.1 per cent

Fuelled by a 26.9 per cent one-year increase in prices Canadians paid at the gasoline pumps, the national annual inflation rate jumped to 3.1 per cent in June, up from the 2.2 per cent rate in May.

The jump in overall inflation was the biggest one-month increase since September 2005, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.

June's increase was larger than the 2.9 per cent jump that economists had been expecting.

If the cost of gasoline was factored out, the inflation rate would have been a tamer 1.8 per cent for June.

Shareholders suing CIBC over bad loan losses

Disgruntled shareholders have launched a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against CIBC over the bank's bad loans in the U.S. subprime mortgage market.

The group alleges that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce failed to disclose the extent that the bank had loans outstanding to companies in the failing part of the U.S. mortgage sector.

"In the particular, CIBC [said] its total exposure … was not a major issue when, in fact, the bank had exposure to billions of dollars of losses," the group said in a news release issued Wednesday.

U.S. nears passing housing support bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is close to approving a bill that would help homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure and allow two giant mortgage companies to get government money.

Until Wednesday, U.S. President George W. Bush had been threatening to block the bill because of a provision that would give $3.9 billion US to areas hard hit by the housing crisis.

White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters Wednesday that Bush now agreed with the bill. "We believe this is not the time for a prolonged veto fight," she said.

WestJet Airlines disables airport kiosks amid fraud probe

WestJet Airlines disables airport kiosks amid fraud probeAn audit of self-service kiosks found the machines to be safe, a GTAA spokesman said.(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

40 per cent of recent immigrants send money abroad: StatsCan

About four in ten immigrants who recently arrived in Canada have sent money to family and friends, with the average annual amount totalling about $1,450, Statistics Canada said in a report released Wednesday.

"On an annual basis, the average amount was approximately $1,450, accounting for about six per cent of personal and three per cent of family income before taxes," said the report, based on immigrants who arrived in 2000-01.

Immigrants from the Philippines and Haiti were the most likely to send money, with 60 per cent of people reporting doing so within two to four years of arriving in Canada. About 40 per cent to 50 per cent of immigrants from Jamaica, Nigeria, Romania, Guyana and Ukraine sent remittances.

Oil price fall nearly $4 US

Oil prices slid again Wednesday after a positive U.S. government inventory reports and a rise in the U.S. dollar against the euro.

Crude oil was down $3.98 a barrel to $124.44 in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That follows a drop of $3.09 on Tuesday.

The price slid after the U.S. government reported that crude supplies fell less than expected in the week ended July 18, and that there was more gasoline in stockpiles than had been expected.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fuel costs, soft economy derail CPR earnings in Q2

A soft North American economy and rising fuel prices led Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. to cut its earnings outlook for the year on Tuesday.

The profit warning came as CPR said its second-quarter profit dropped 40 per cent.

CPR told investors it made $155 million, or $1 a share, in the period, down from $257 million, or $1.64 a share, a year earlier.

The railway said its total revenues were "essentially flat" at $1.22 billion. Revenue from shipping of industrial and consumer products grew by 17 per cent, intermodal transport revenue was up nine per cent and coal was up six per cent.

Ford to offer more small cars in U.S. market

As consumer demand for fuel-efficient cars continues to grow, the Ford Motor Co. plans to make six of the small models it currently sells in Europe available in the U.S.

The Michigan-based automaker, known for building pickup trucks and SUVs, is expected to announce model changes on Thursday when it releases its second-quarter earnings.

A source familiar with the company's plans revealed the changes to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Cellphone carriers already feeling the competition: Prentice

Cellphone carriers already feeling the competition: PrenticeMinister of Industry Jim Prentice declined to say how the spectrum auction proceeds will be spent. (CBC)

Gas prices push up retail sales

Higher prices consumers paid for gasoline in May helped push overall retail sales for the month up by 0.4 per cent to $35.8 billion.

Economists had been looking for monthly sales growth of 0.6 per cent, which would have matched April's increase.

Statistics Canada said Tuesday that the advance in overall sales was primarily due to increased sales at gasoline stations, largely owing to gasoline prices that were 8.8 per cent higher in May compared with April 2008.

Federal pension fund hurt by writedowns

The pension fund that invests the money intended to provide for the retirement of federal employees, the military and RCMP, has taken a $920-million charge to account for faltering financial investments in the 2008 financial year.

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board's annual report released Tuesday said the writedowns caused it to report a negative return for the year ended March 31, 2008.

The fund said it wrote down $450 million of its $1.97 billion in asset-backed commercial paper, and $470 million of its $1.4 billion in collateralized debt obligations, a financial asset based on a portfolio of fixed income investments.

Recession not real, but U.S. consumers still hurting

Recession not real, but U.S. consumers still hurtingHigher gas prices will cost U.S. consumers about $100 billion this year, Conference Board researcher Kip Beckman says. (CBC)

Oil prices slip as storm not expected to affect Gulf output

Oil prices tumbled on Tuesday as companies said they don't expect crude production to be disrupted by tropical storm Dolly in the western Gulf of Mexico.

Dolly is expected to make landfall near the U.S.-Mexico border late Tuesday or early Wednesday as a Category 1 hurricane.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $3.09 US a barrel to close at $127.95. Earlier in the trading session, oil got as low as $125.63 and as high as $132.07.

Monday, July 21, 2008

CN's second-quarter earnings beat expectations

Canadian National saw its net income fall by more than 10 per cent in its fiscal second-quarter, citing a tough economy. But the rail giant still made more money than analysts expected.

CN earned $459 million, or 95 cents a share, for the three months ended June 30, down 11 per cent compared to the same 90-day period last year.

CN made $1.01 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2007.

The railroad released its earnings after the close of trading on North American stock exchanges on Monday.

TransAlta eyes takeover by U.S. private equity firms

TransAlta eyes takeover by U.S. private equity firmsTranAlta 3-month TSX chart

TransAlta Corp. said Monday that private equity investors want to buy the power generation and marketing company for $39 a share.

Daylight cedes takeover battle for Cadence to Barrick

Calgary-based Daylight Resources said Monday it has decided against increasing its takeover offer for Cadence Energy Inc.

The move came after Cadence recommended its shareholders accept a higher financial bid from Barrick Gold Corp. According to the current bid, Barrick will pay $410 million, or $6.75 a share, for control of the small Canadian oil producer.

Daylight will receive a $9-million break-up fee in the deal as part of earlier merger negotiations with Cadence.

EU offers to cut farm tariffs by 60 per cent for trade pact

The European Union said Monday it will slash farm tariffs by 60 per cent, an offer meant to kickstart talks in Geneva over a new world trade pact.

More than 30 trade officials have gathered in the Swiss city for a week-long session described as a make-or-break World Trade Organization meeting to try to deliver a deal.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson told reporters he hopes emerging economies like Brazil, India and China will respond by improving their offers on industrial tariffs. The EU has previously proposed a 54 per cent cut to tariffs.

Quebec gas price-fixing scheme may have been widespread

A gas price-fixing scheme in Quebec that led to several arrests last month may have been operating on a larger scale than originally reported, according to an investigation by the CBC's French-language network.

Court documents obtained by Radio-Canada include transcripts of conversations among gas retailers allegedly discussing price fixing in Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Valleyfield, Sorel, Le Gardeur and Saint-Hyacinthe.

In June, the Federal Competition Bureau accused 13 people and 11 companies of illegally fixing gas prices in Victoriaville, Thetford Mines, Sherbrooke and Magog.

New Biovail board vote set for Aug. 8

Biovail Corp. said Monday it will hold a new vote for the election of its board of directors on Aug. 8.

An Ontario Supreme Court judge on July 16 ordered the Toronto-based pharmaceutical company to reconvene its annual meeting so investors can vote again on a board of directors. Justice Herman Siegel had given the company a maximum of 90 days from the original June 25 meeting to hold a new vote.

At the company's June annual meeting, founder Eugene Melnyk and his backers withdrew their votes from the board election, leaving less than 51 per cent of the shares outstanding represented. Melnyk had proposed his own dissident slate of directors.

Cellphone market poised for shakeup as spectrum auction ends

Cellphone market poised for shakeup as spectrum auction endsGlobalive CEO Anthony Lacavera is backed by heavyweight telecommunications investors from Egypt and Iceland.(Globalive)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

MDS cutting over 200 jobs in restructuring

MDS cutting over 200 jobs in restructuringMDS 3-month TSX chart

MDS Inc. said Friday it will cut 210 employees and take $18 million in charges as it restructures two divisions — MDS Pharma Services and MDS Analytical Technologies.

Oil falls for fourth straight session

Oil prices saw a fourth consecutive losing session on Friday as crude finished a week that saw it tumble more than $16 US a barrel.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery ended this week at $128.88 after losing 41 cents on Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Friday decline followed tumbles of $5.31 on Thursday, $4.14 on Wednesday and a drop of $6.44 on Tuesday.

Just last week, crude traded above $147 a barrel.

20% increase in energy efficiency in 12 years, premiers pledge

Canadian premiers said Friday they have committed to achieving a 20 per cent increase in energy efficiency in their provinces by 2020.

"In the context of rising energy prices, which is a very serious concern to all our governments, the council is going to emphasize — as all Canadians should — energy efficiency and conservation," Quebec Premier Jean Charest said at a news conference wrapping up the meeting of the Council of the Federation in Quebec City.

Asian immigrants lag in Canadian labour market integration: StatsCan

Employment for recent immigrants who received their university education in Asia lags behind Canadian-born university graduates by 25.2 percentage points, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

While 90.7 per cent of Canadian-born university graduates were employed, only 65.5 per cent of immigrants who had university degrees from Asia were employed, the study states.

It reveals that university-educated immigrants between 25 and 54 who arrived in Canada between 2002 and 2007 were less likely than their Canadian-born counterparts to be employed in 2007 regardless of the country in which they obtained their degree.

Travel to and from Canada inches up: StatsCan

Travel to and from Canada inches up: StatsCanSame-day travel from the U.S. to Canada increased 2.2 per cent in May.(CBC)

Travel in and out of the country increased modestly in May, according to a report released Thursday by Statistics Canada.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Economy still 'robust,' Bank of Canada governor says

The Bank of Canada sees the economy rebounding from its first-quarter contraction to eke out slim growth in the second quarter of this year.

"The Canadian economy remains robust," governor Mark Carney told a news conference Thursday, after the bank released an update to its monetary policy report.

The central bank projects annualized second-quarter growth of 0.8 per cent, a turnaround from the -0.3 annualized contraction seen in the January-March period.

Conrad Black seeks another appeal

Conrad Black has asked a U.S. federal appeals court to revisit his 2007 convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice, after a three-judge panel upheld them last month.

The Montreal-born Black, 63, and his three co-accused — John Boultbee, Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis — were convicted of mail fraud for defrauding shareholders of newspaper company Hollinger International Inc., while Black was also convicted of obstruction of justice.

Top court rules against N.B. miner in mandatory retirement case

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled against a New Brunswick miner who had challenged his company's right to compel him to retire at age 65.

Melrose Scott was forced to retire from his job at the Sussex potash mines in 2004, the year he turned 65, as a requirement of his employee pension plan. He filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission and won, but the decision was appealed all the way to the top court in Ottawa.

Microsoft 4th quarter profits leap on strong software sales

Microsoft Corp. says its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 42 per cent from a year ago, helped by strong sales of its Office and Windows software.

Earnings rose to $4.5 billion US or $0.46 US per share, but that missed Wall Street's expectations by a penny per share.

Revenue increased 18 per cent to nearly $16 billion US from just over $13 billion US last year, just ahead of Wall Street's average forecast, according to a Thomson Financial survey.

12 months vs. 1 year? Study finds long-term thinking best for budget

Consumers concerned about stretching a dollar should set out their budgets on an annual basis rather than planning monthly, a new U.S. study suggests.

'When budgeting, it seems to be wiser to assume that one's knowledge is unreliable.'—Gülden Ülküman, researcher

Lead researcher Gülden Ülküman of the University of Southern California suggests in a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research that consumers tend to be over-confident when planning in the short-term.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

U.S., euro-zone inflation rates hit multi-year highs in June

Inflation in the United States and the European countries that share the euro hit multi-year highs in June, driven up by booming energy prices.

The U.S. government said Wednesday that the inflation rate last month hit the second-highest rate in 26 years, reaching 1.1 per cent for the month. That trailed only the 1.3 per cent increase seen in September 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.

Energy prices rose in June by 6.6 per cent and accounted for two-thirds of the overall increase for the month as consumers paid more for gasoline, natural gas and home heating oil.

New RIM market pitch: BlackBerry's not just for business

Facing competition from a new and faster iPhone from Apple, Research in Motion (TSX:RIM) is launching a campaign to try to broaden the appeal of the Blackberry beyond business users.

RIM told its annual meeting this year that it wants to change the perception of its brand to deliver the message that Blackberrys are for more than just work.

The move follows lower than expected first-quarter earnings that caused shares to slump by 12 per cent in one day last month.

HBC gets new CEO

A veteran of the U.S. retail industry is the new chief executive at Hudson's Bay Co.

Richard Baker, the governor of HBC, said Thursday that Jeffrey Sherman has been appointed to the post.

Sherman arrives at HBC from Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., where he was president and chief operating officer of Polo Retail Group. Sherman oversaw the company's retail stores in the U.S., Europe and Asia, Club Monaco and

Previously in his 30-year career, Sherman was the CEO of the The Limited stores and the president of Bloomingdales.

House sales seen falling this year: Royal LePage

House prices are expected to see a modest rise this year, but national sales are projected to fall from last year's levels, according to new forecast released Thursday from Royal LePage.

The realtor sees the national average house price is forecast to rise by 3.5 per cent, to $318,000 by the year's end.

However, home sales are expected to decrease by 11.5 per cent to 461,000 unit sales by the end of 2008.

"After several years characterized by a persistent shortage of listings, home buyers have felt the pressure of bidding wars and take-it-or-leave-it counter offers ease during 2008; home sellers have had to come to grips with the longer time it is taking to sell properties, but can take comfort in a market that continues to support reasonable price increases," said Phil Soper, the president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

720 jobs slashed at Ont. truck plant

A truck plant in the southwestern Ontario city of St. Thomas is the latest company in the auto sector to cut hundreds of jobs as the industry falters due to an economic slowdown.

Sterling Truck Corp. has announced 720 jobs will be slashed, on top of nearly 600 previous layoffs.

Media reports state the workers will receive official layoff notices Thursday and be out of work by November.

Local union chair Dave MacArthur blamed economic slowdown south of the border as hurting demand for trucks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

HBC sold to new U.S. owner

Hudson's Bay Co. has been sold to a new American owner, NRDC Equity Partners, the parent of upscale U.S. chain Lord & Taylor.

HBC's first American owner was South Carolina businessman Jerry Zucker, who bought the venerable retailer in January 2006 for $1.1 billion. Zucker died of cancer in April.

Under the terms of the deal, NRDC — which has 47 Lord & Taylor's stores in the United States — would launch 10 to 15 of the stores in Canada. They will be located in existing Bay stores or in other HBC real estate.

Final settlement reached in Crocus Fund lawsuit

The last defendant in the class-action lawsuit over the failed Crocus Investment Fund has agreed to an out-of-court settlement, clearing the way for money to begin flowing to fund investors.

Wellington West Capital, the fund's lead underwriters, will pay $500,000 to receiver Deloitte Touche.

Bernie Bellan, one of the investors who spearheaded the lawsuit, said the receiver will now have about $73 million, and investors should see at least $5 per share.

Judge orders new vote on Biovail board

An Ontario court judge on Wednesday ordered Biovail Corp to reconvene its annual meeting so investors can vote again on a board of directors.

In Ontario Superior Court, Justice Herman Siegel gave the Toronto-based pharmaceutical company 90 days from the original June 25 meeting to hold a new vote.

At the company's June annual meeting, founder Eugene Melnyk and his backers withdrew their votes from the board election, leaving less than 51 per cent of the shares outstanding represented. Melnyk had proposed his own dissident slate of directors.

Manufacturing sector sees solid May

Canada's manufacturing sector in May posted its biggest monthly sales increase since March 2007, Statistics Canada said Wednesday,

Sales for May rose by 2.7 per cent to $51.4 billion, marking the fourth increase in five months.

Gains were widespread as sales increased for 16 of 21 industries, representing 94 per cent of total manufacturing sales.

Sales of petroleum and coal products rose by 9.2 per cent, accounting for almost half of the growth in manufacturing sales in May. Sales climbed to $7.7 billion, and have increased by almost 20 per cent since March 2008. Statistics Canada said rapidly rising prices accounted for most of this growth, as prices for petroleum and coal products increased by about 17 per cent during the same period.

DFO considers licensing N.L. food fishery

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is considering licensing the recreational cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, after officials discovered the amount of fish caught could be four times what it estimated.

CBC News obtained documents under the Access to Information Act that show two different sets of numbers collected by DFO for the 2007 recreational fishery, or food fishery.

The 2007 food fishery allowed anyone to catch as many as five fish per day, with a boatload limit of 15 when more than three people are on a vessel.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bernanke foresees slow U.S. growth

The U.S. economy is in for slow growth for the next several years, and there is much uncertainty even in that prediction, U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday.

If the forecast is wrong, there is a greater chance that growth will be slower than expected, rather than faster, he told the Senate Banking Committee.

For the rest of 2008, "output would expand at a pace appreciably below its trend rate," and "growth is projected to pick up gradually over the next two years as residential construction bottoms out and begins a slow recovery and as credit conditions gradually improve," he said in his prepared text.

Bank of Canada holds line again on key interest rate

The Bank of Canada has cut its economic growth outlook for the country this year, and left a key interest rate unchanged on Tuesday.

The bank left its overnight rate — what big banks charge each other for overnight loans — steady at three per cent. Economists had widely expected the bank's decision to stand pat on borrowing costs.

The Canadian dollar gained strength against the U.S. dollar following the rate announcement. The loonie briefly pushed back above parity with its U.S. counterpart, but ultimately closed at 99.77 cents US, up 0.29 of a cent on currency markets.

Stocks under pressure over U.S. banking worries; oil tumbles

Canada's main stock index lost 383 points on Tuesday as investors continued to fret over the health of the U.S. financial system and oil prices tumbled.

The S&P/TSX composite index shed 2.8 per cent to close at 13,357.56. Every sub-index except health care was down, lead by energy, financial services, metals and materials.

Oil prices tumbled Tuesday in a volatile session. Crude was down at one point by $9.16 US per barrel as Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke offered a pessimistic picture of the U.S. economy. The price of light, sweet crude for August delivery later settled at $138.74 a barrel, down $6.44 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Investors turn to money market funds

Investors continued to move their wealth into money market funds in June to avoid market volatility, the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) said Tuesday.

The group's monthly report on mutual funds contains a number of statistics showing the popularity of money market funds, investments in short-term loans often seen as a safe harbour or a place to "park" money when markets are uncertain.

According to IFIC, in June:

Money market funds ballooned to $70.1 billion from $48.7 billion in June 2007.Net sales (sales less redemptions) of all funds were $1.6 billion; money market funds accounted for three-quarters of the total.Investors have put $19.3 billion into money market funds in the past year, compared with $4.2 billion in the previous year.

GM cutting spending, salaries to raise cash

General Motors said Tuesday it will reduce its white-collar workforce, suspend its dividend, cut spending on marketing and make more production cutbacks.

Rick Wagoner, the automaker's chair and chief executive officer, said the actions, along with raising new capital and selling assets, will generate about $15 billion US through the end of 2009.

GM cutting spending, salaries to raise cash

Monday, July 14, 2008

This Bud's bound for EU

Brewer InBev SA said Monday it will buy U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion US to create the world's largest brewer.

The deal will see control over America's largest brewer move overseas as it forms the fourth largest consumer product company under the name Anheuser-Busch InBev.

InBev promises that the takeover will help global bestseller Budweiser expand into emerging markets like China, Russia and Brazil, generating large profits as revenue from beer sales in North America and Europe fall flat.

U.S. regulator toughens subprime mortgage rules

U.S. regulator toughens subprime mortgage rules Deceptive lending practices lured some U.S. buyers to purchase homes they now can't afford.(Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

Barrick launches $354M bid for Cadence Energy

Barrick launches $354M bid for Cadence EnergyCadence 3-month TSX chart

Seeking to cut its energy costs, Barrick Gold Corp. said Monday it has launched a proposal for a $354-million takeover bid for Cadence Energy Ltd., topping a $300-million offer from Daylight Resources Trust.

Bush lifts presidential ban on U.S. offshore drilling

U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday lifted the executive order prohibiting offshore drilling along much of the U.S. coastline.

The move — aimed at stimulating exploration and easing supply worries — still won't amount to much, however, unless the U.S. Congress decides to scrap its own ban on offshore exploration.

Drilling along the U.S. coast — except for part of the western shore line of the Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska — has been prohibited for 27 years. Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, was the first president to sign the executive ban.

Scotiabank buys E*Trade Canada

The Bank of Nova Scotia said Monday it will double its size in the online investing market by buying E*Trade Canada for $444 million.

President and CEO Rick Waugh said the deal is "an excellent growth opportunity" and fits with bank plans to increase its Canadian wealth-management business.

Trading stocks online is becoming more important to Canadians, said Chris Hodgson, the vice-president in charge of the bank's domestic personal banking arm.

Shell to pay $5.6B for Duvernay

Three-month TSX trading in Duvernay.

Shell Canada is laying out about $5.6 billion cash to buy Duvernay Oil Corp., a Calgary-based conventional gas and oil exploration and production company.

Shell will pay $83 a share, 42 per cent over Duvernay's close Friday of $58.44, and 36 per cent above the average price on the TSX in the previous 20 days, Duvernay said in a release Monday.

Duvernay stock rose to $82.00, up $23.56 in TSX trading.

Touring trends bringing bigger acts to smaller cities

The willingness of smaller cities to collaborate and shifting trends in the music industry are making it easier to attract big acts to Atlantic Canada, officials say.

British music icon Elton John is the latest musician to announce that he will be performing on Canada's East Coast.

Moncton, Halifax and Saint John, which often compete to lure big stars, decided to work together to bring the pop musician to the area, said Shane Porter, major event co-ordinator for Moncton.

More iPhones available this week

More iPhones available this weekApple is well on its way to selling 10 million iPhones by the end of the year.(Jason DeCrow/Associated Press)

Apple Inc. is almost three-quarters of the way to its goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of this year after a "stunning" launch for its new-and-improved device this weekend, with new stocks hitting Canadian stores on Tuesday.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bombardier announces new fuel-efficient regional jet

Bombardier announced the launch of a new CSeries regional jet on Sunday, saying the "greenest single-aisle aircraft in its class" will be manufactured mostly at the company's Mirabel plant north of Montreal.

The manufacturer said the aircraft is designed to be more fuel efficient than other aircraft in its class.

"These game-changing aircraft emit up to 20 per cent less CO2 (carbon dioxide) and up to 50 per cent less NOx (nitrogen oxides), fly four times quieter and deliver dramatic energy savings — up to 20 per cent fuel burn advantage," company officials said.

Companies hurt while inventories waylaid at ports by CBSA rules

Newly expanded rules at the Canada Border Services Agency to test for fumes in containers arriving at ports across the country are putting businesses — and Canadian trade — under threat, business owners say.

The backlog of containers docked at ports across the country has been growing since the CBSA added formaldehyde to the list of fumigants its employees must test for before the marine containers can travel to their final destinations.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Regulators take over troubled U.S. mortgage lender

Regulators take over troubled U.S. mortgage lenderIn this Jan. 15, 2008, file photo, an IndyMac branch office in Burbank, Calif., is seen. (Reed Saxon/Associated Press)Bank regulators seized California-based mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc. on Friday afternoon after panicky depositors began withdrawing their money, leaving the institution short on cash.

New housing prices rise at slowest rate in 6 years: Stats Can

New housing prices rise at slowest rate in 6 years: Stats CanHousing prices increased 4.1 per cent between May 2007 and May 2008, according to Statistics Canada.(Patti Edgar/CBC)

Unemployment rate creeps up to 6.2%

Canada's unemployment rate crept up 0.1 percentage points in June to 6.2 per cent as the economy lost about 5,000 jobs.

Statistics Canada said Friday that gains in part-time employment last month largely offset declines in full-time work.

The job report was weaker than economists had been expecting. Economists polled by Bloomberg news service had an average forecast of an addition of 6,500 jobs for the month.

The Canadian dollar closed down just 0.01 of a cent at 99.09 after trading lower earlier in the morning.

Trade surplus increased to $5.5B in May

Record Canadian exports to countries other than the United States helped push the country's trade surplus to $5.5 billion in May, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The trade surplus increased from $4.8 billion in April.

Canadian exports grew for the fifth consecutive month, rising 5.4 per cent to $42.1 billion, while imports increased 3.9 per cent to $36.6 billion, their largest increase since July 2007.

Exports to countries other than the United States surpassed the $10-billion mark, with export growth doubling the rise in imports. The country's trade deficit with countries excluding the U.S. narrowed to $2.5 billion from $3.3 billion. Statistics Canada said the growth was partially attributed to increased coal exports to Japan and South Korea, where it is used to produce steel.

Airline industry hurt by high oil costs

Record oil prices drove two developments in the airline industry on Friday, and may have been behind the drop in share prices of the company that owns 75 per cent of Air Canada.

In the U.S., there was a call for controls on energy speculation while an analyst predicted that a huge international aviation show may not produce the usual rash of aircraft orders.

In Washington, a spokesman for the Stop Oil Speculation Now coalition said the U.S. government must act to stop traders working around rules intended to limit speculation in commodities.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mortgage stocks cut losses in frantic NYSE trading

The losses in shares of two huge U.S. mortgage companies and guarantors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, eased in New York trading on Friday afternoon after a key U.S. politician said the companies were sound.

Mortgage stocks cut losses in frantic NYSE trading

Canwest stock up on good operating results

Canwest stock up on good operating resultsSix-month TSX trading in Canwest

Shares of Canwest Global Communications added 24 cents in early TSX trading after the media company posted good third-quarter operating results.

US Airways cuts films from domestic flights to save on fuel

US Airways is removing movie screens from its domestic flights in a bid to save on fuel and other expenses.

Spokesman Phil Gee said Wednesday the move is expected to save the airline about $10 million US.

He noted the airline plans on testing alternate entertainment systems — which weigh less than the current 225-kilogram systems — later this year. Movies will still be shown on flights to international destinations and Hawaii.

TSX falls to where it started 2008

TSX falls to where it started 2008Three-month track of the TSX composite index

The TSX composite index has given back nearly all the gains it made earlier this year.

At the close of trading on Friday, the index had fallen nearly 35 points to 13,709.

Hundreds disappointed by low iPhone stocks

Hundreds disappointed by low iPhone stocksCustomers line up in the rain in Toronto Friday morning, waiting to purchase the Apple iPhone.(Peter Nowak/CBC)They came for breakfast and iPhones, and all they got was granola bars.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Magellan gets work on new Orion shuttle

Magellan gets work on new Orion shuttleMagellan 3-month TSX chart

Magellan Aerospace Corp. said Thursday it has won a $12-million US contract to build new heat shields for the Orion space shuttle replacement program.

Central bank should raise key interest rate, expert group says

The Bank of Canada should raise the key overnight interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 3.25 per cent on July 15, the C.D. Howe Institute's monetary policy council recommended Thursday.

But the council, seven academics and one member each from a bank and a Bay Street investment house, was split on the recommendation. Four opted to hold the rate at three per cent, four wanted the quarter-point increase and one recommended going to 3.5 per cent.

Air Canada cuts more than 600 flight attendant jobs

Air Canada is closing its flight attendant bases in Halifax and Winnipeg, and making big job cuts in Vancouver.

Roughly 200 jobs will be cut in Halifax, 145 in Winnipeg and 300 in Vancouver as the airline aims to eliminate 2,000 positions in the face of higher fuel costs.

The news emerged during a meeting in Toronto on Wednesday between Air Canada and CUPE.

"We are shocked and we are in a state of disbelief," said Lisa Vivian Anthony, president of CUPE Local 4090 in Halifax. "Our base has been in operation in Halifax for 32 years, so this is essentially the end of an era for us."

Ottawa tightens mortgage insurance rules

Ottawa tightens mortgage insurance rules  Canada's housing market is strong and secure, the government says, but will still be subject to tighter mortgage insurance rules.(Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

HBC could get new U.S. buyer: reports

Hudson's Bay Co. could be the target of a possible acquisition by the owner of U.S. department store chain Lord & Taylor, according to published reports on Thursday.

The owner of 47-store Lord & Taylor, NRDC Equity Partners, already owns about 20 per cent of HBC, and NRDC's chief executive officer, Richard Baker, is on the board of the 338-year-old Canadian company.

The future of HBC has been a bit uncertain since governor and CEO Jerry Zucker died of cancer in April. Zucker's widow, Anita Zucker, became the company's governor. The Zucker family said it would continue to hold HBC, but there were some suggestions it might try to sell the company.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Economy needs a drop in energy prices: report

Soaring oil prices have created a boom in several parts of the country, but a Bank of Montreal economist said Wednesday that high prices for energy have become too much of a good thing for Canada's economy.

"There is a strong case to be made that the surge in oil and gas prices crossed the tipping point this spring from providing some economic ballast for the domestic economy to acting as a heavy anchor," said BMO Capital Markets deputy chief economist Douglas Porter.

Industry minister calls on Bell, Telus to explain new text charges

Industry Minister Jim Prentice is calling on the chief executive officers of Bell and Telus to meet with him and explain their decision to charge consumers for incoming text messages.

'I believe this was a poorly thought out decision.'—Jim Prentice, industry minister

Prentice, who has sent letters to the heads of the two companies, said the decision to charge consumers without text bundling packages will hurt consumers. The companies must meet with him before Aug. 8.

Norbourg's ex-CEO gets jail sentence reduced

A Quebec court has reduced Norbourg founder Vincent Lacroix's jail sentence by 42 months from the original 12 years he was given in January.

The former CEO of the Montreal-based Norbourg investment fund was found guilty in December 2007 of taking $115 million from the fund for his personal use.

Quebec Superior Court Judge André Vincent on Tuesday decided the original sentence was too harsh.

But he confirmed that Lacroix must pay the original $255,000 fine.

Housing starts cool in June: CMHC

Housing starts fell in June, though the number of new construction projects remains high, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said Wednesday.

Starts fell from 227,700 in May to 217,800 units in June, the federal agency said.

"Despite the decrease in June, total housing starts remain at high levels," said CMHC economist Bob Dugan in a release. "This is mostly due to the multiple segment, which has been continuously above the 100,000 unit threshold since the beginning of the year."

Rogers caves on iPhone pricing, sort of

Rogers caves on iPhone pricing, sort ofRogers is now offering a basic iPhone plan that allows six gigabytes of internet usage, up from 400 megabytes.(Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

Rogers Communications Inc. has bowed to public pressure and temporarily lowered the price of internet usage on Apple Inc.'s hotly awaited iPhone, which is being released in Canada on Friday.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Apple to Rogers on iPhone: you're on your own

Apple to Rogers on iPhone: you're on your ownCanadians who want the iPhone will be locked into the longest contracts in the world.(Jason DeCrow/Associated Press)

Apple Inc. will not be selling the hotly awaited iPhone in its six Canadian stores when it is released this Friday, leaving Rogers Communications Inc. and its Fido subsidiary to sell the device on their own.

Hargrove to retire as CAW president in September

Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove will step down as head of the union following a convention in September, the CAW said Tuesday.

The move means Hargrove, who has been head of the union for 16 years, will leave his post six months before his 65th birthday.

Roughly 800 delegates are due to vote on Hargrove's successor at the September convention.

Running for the post of next CAW president are Local 444 president Ken Lewenza — who was endorsed by Hargrove on Tuesday at a news conference in downtown Toronto — plus Hargrove assistants Hemi Mitic and Tom Collins.

Oil falls more than $5 US

The closely watched crude oil futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell $5.33 US to $136.04 a barrel Tuesday.

Coupled with Monday's decline of $3.92 US, oil is off more than $9 US over the past two trading sessions.

The price fell Tuesday amid a lessening of Mideast tensions, the strengthening of the U.S. dollar and the declining probability that Hurricane Bertha will do damage in U.S. oil-producing areas. The U.S. National Hurricane Center downgraded Bertha to a Category 2 storm on Tuesday morning.

Dozens of Canaccord clients own $132M of ABCP

Dozens of Canaccord clients own $132M of ABCPThree-month TSX trading in Canaccord Capital

Canaccord Capital Inc. has dozens of clients who own relatively large amounts of asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP), the troubled investment which has cost the investment dealer millions.

WestJet inks co-operation deal with Southwest Airlines

WestJet inks co-operation deal with Southwest AirlinesWestJet 3-month TSX chart

Discount airline WestJet said Tuesday it had signed a distribution and codeshare deal with Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, the company that pioneered the model of the low-cost carrier.

Plenty of beer, but no one to deliver it: Manitoba distributor

Can't find your favourite brew? Manitoba's main beer distributor says a "perfect storm" of weather, illness and labour problems is to blame for empty shelves at Winnipeg vendors.

Officials with Brewers Distributors Ltd., which supplies 90 per cent of Manitoba stores' suds, say the sudden arrival of summer weather has combined with a labour shortage, making it difficult to get cases from the warehouse to stores fast enough to meet demand.

U.S. trade with Iran increases tenfold under Bush administration

Iran may be part of the “axis of evil,” but it is good enough to be able to buy increasing amounts of American products — including bull semen, brassieres and possibly even weapons — despite U.S. sanctions that have been in place for decades.

An analysis of seven years of U.S. trade statistics done by the Associated Press shows that exports from the United States to Iran grew more than tenfold during President George W. Bush's years in office, even as he accused the Mideast country of having nuclear ambitions and helping terrorists.

Monday, July 7, 2008

N.B. inmates training to be oil rig workers

Inmates at the Westmoreland Institution in New Brunswick are being provided with the chance to train to be oil workers.

The Dorchester-based minimum-security penitentiary is offering a 20-day course to teach inmates the basics of becoming a roughneck on an oil rig.

A similar program has also been offered to inmates who are on parole and has had a high success rate, said Isabelle Leblanc-Gallant, who is setting up the job training at the institution.

Building permits higher in May: StatsCan

The value of building permits taken out in May climbed by 1.1 per cent from the previous month, despite a sharp drop in residential permits.

Statistics Canada said contractors took out $6.6 billion in permits in May, which made it the highest value for permits since October 2007. The total was 6.7 per cent above the monthly average for 2007.

"It was the first back-to-back increase in construction intentions since November 2006, and could point to busy construction sites in the coming months," the federal government agency said Monday. The value of building permits has followed an upward trend since the beginning of the year.

Slowing economy will stall stock market: economist

Slowing economy will stall stock market: economist Three-month chart of the S&P/TSX composite index

With the economy moving toward stagflation, the key Toronto Stock Exchange index is not going to gain much more this year, according to a bank economist.

Oil prices drop, but relief likely temporary

The slumping price of crude oil dragged Toronto stocks down on Monday.

The price for oil — and related commodities, like natural gas — fell on the New York Mercantile Exchange because of easing Mideast tensions and a stronger U.S. dollar.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery closed down $3.92 US a barrel at $141.37, after dropping almost $6.

The drop pulled down the TSX composite index by more than 300 points in early trading, led by the heavily weighted energy companies. But by the final bell, the TSX trimmed the loss to 232.77 points. The close at 13,777.6 was a 1.7 per cent drop from Friday.

Linamar acquires U.K. plant

Linamar acquires U.K. plantLinamar 3-month TSX chart

Canadian auto parts maker Linamar Corp. said Monday it is making its first venture into the United Kingdom, announcing the acquisition of a plant in Wales.

Linamar, which is headquartered in Guelph, Ont., said it is buying a former Visteon plant in Swansea. The acquisition brings with it 400 employees.

Inmet bids $321M for Petaquilla

Inmet bids $321M for Petaquilla Three-month TSX tradig in Petaquilla Copper

The stock price of junior miner Petaquilla Copper Ltd. doubled Monday in the wake of a $2-a-share takeover offer from Inmet Mining Corp.

Shares of Vancouver-based Petaquilla closed up 98 cents to $1.94 on the TSX. The stock has traded between 83 cents and $3.70 in the past year.

InBev pushes to oust Anheuser board

Brewer InBev turned up the heat in its $46-billion US bid for Anheuser-Busch, announcing Monday that it will attempt to remove the company's entire board.

An alternate board, which would include Adolphus Busch IV, the uncle of Anheuser CEO August Busch IV, will give shareholders "a direct voice" in the takeover, InBev said.

InBev plans to file a preliminary consent solicitation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, asking Anheuser's board to consult shareholders over the firing of 13 current board members.

Bell's internet throttling illegal, Google says

Bell's internet throttling illegal, Google saysGoogle says the internet is too important to allow Bell or other service providers to act as a 'gatekeeper.'(Jens Meyer/Associated Press)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Spectrum auction almost over with nearly $4.2B raised

Spectrum auction almost over with nearly $4.2B raisedRogers and its Fido subsidiary will be facing new competition once the spectrum auction is over and new cellphone carriers start up.(J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Record number of Canadians shopping for cars across border

Record number of Canadians shopping for cars across borderNew vehicle sales in the U.S. continue to drop, due to surging fuel costs and a slumping economy. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Purchasing managers remain optimistic

A report on the activities of purchasing managers suggests the Canadian economy is doing reasonably well, but also that prices are rising quickly.

Purchasing managers upped their buying in June from May, the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) reported Friday.

Some of the rise may be due to higher prices, as the Ivey price index was at its highest level ever, the index website said.

"As a consequence, the Ivey PMI is undoubtedly higher than it should be given a more normal level of inflation," director Michiel Leenders said.

What's behind the big NHL free-agent salaries?

What's behind the big NHL free-agent salaries?Sweden's Mats Sundin, who played last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, is one the top free agents being courted by National Hockey League clubs. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

BCE takeover is a go, telecom company says

BCE takeover is a go, telecom company says3-month TSX trading in BCE

Telecom giant BCE Inc. says the $51.7-billion takeover of the company is a done deal.

The company said Friday that it has a final agreement with the takeover group headed by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which will take the iconic company — operator of the Bell phone system — private.

Historic China-Taiwan flights a sign of warming relations

Direct tourist flights began Friday between China and Taiwan for the first time in six decades, a sign of warming relations between the longtime foes.

A China Southern Airlines flight carrying 230 passengers was the first mainland China flight to touch down in Taiwan, arriving at the Taoyuan International Airport in northern Taiwan.

Fire trucks shot water at the plane in a welcoming gesture. Passengers, some wearing matching white-and-pink shirts, were greeted by an arch made of colourful balloons, traditional dragon dances and greetings from Taiwanese officials.

'Incorrectly priced' instruments cost TD $96M

The securities arm of the Toronto-Dominion Bank has "regrettably" identified a huge problem from "incorrectly priced financial instruments" in its London office.

TD Securities said Friday that the problem will cost it about $96 million pre-tax.

"This situation is associated with the activities of an individual who is no longer with the company," it said in a release.

"We are very disappointed that this has occurred," said Ed Clark, president and CEO. "We deeply regret this incident."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

European Central Bank raises rate to fight inflation

The European Central Bank increased its benchmark lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.25 per cent on Thursday.

Like other central banks, the ECB has shifted from stimulating the economy by cutting rates to worrying about inflation. Both the U.S. Federal reserve and the Bank of Canada held rates stable in their most recent decisions because of concern about rising prices.

Inflation may remain high "for a more protracted period than previously thought," ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet told reporters Thursday.

ATCO to work on housing 20,000 in Abu Dhabi

ATCO to work on housing 20,000 in Abu DhabiThree-month ATCO trading on the TSX

A unit of the ATCO Group is going to work with a large local company to build housing for 20,000 temporary workers building the Saadiyat Island project off the city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Jazz Air eliminating 270 jobs, cutting service

Regional carrier Jazz Air LP said Thursday it is cutting 270 jobs and trimming its capacity by five per cent in the wake of cutbacks announced last month by Air Canada.

On June 17, Air Canada said it was chopping 2,000 jobs, and reducing domestic capacity by two per cent and transborder capacity by 13 per cent. Air Canada buys almost all of Jazz's fleet capacity.

The cutbacks stem from sharply higher fuel costs that airlines are paying with the rapid rise in the world price for oil.

Royal Bank optimistic about economy

Royal Bank optimistic about economyThe Royal Bank is forecasting oil will fall to $90 US a barrel in 2009. (CBC)

The Royal Bank of Canada is forecasting the current economic turmoil will ease, with forces such as the high dollar, surging oil prices, flagging growth and inflation improving over the next two years.

U.S. economy sheds more jobs

U.S. employers cut their payrolls by 62,000 jobs in June, marking the sixth straight month of job losses for the weak U.S. economy.

The unemployment rate for June held steady at 5.5 per cent, the U.S. Labour Department said Thursday.

Last month's job loss was slightly larger than the 60,000 reduction that economists had been projecting. They had also forecast the unemployment rate to ease to 5.4 per cent.

"The backdrop for the labour market remains weak, even as the June reading was in line with expectations," said Charmaine Buskas, senior economics strategist at TD Securities.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Investors dump coal stocks

Investors dump coal stocks Three-month TSX trading in Fording Canadian Coal Trust

Canadian coal stocks got hammered Wednesday as investors followed an international trend and sold off shares.

A drop in coal prices of $20 a tonne, or about 10 per cent, was behind the nosediving shares.

Microsoft reported seeking partners for Yahoo bid

Microsoft reported seeking partners for Yahoo bidYahoo 3-month Nasdaq chart

Shares of Yahoo Inc. trade up more than seven per cent on Wednesday amid reports that Microsoft Corp. is talking to other players about a joint bid for Yahoo's search business.

Consumers to pull back from spending 'like drunken sailors': report

Canadian consumers over the next two years are expected to rein in their spending habits as the job market softens and the real estate market cools, according to a TD report released Wednesday.

The report suggests spending growth will pull back from above five per cent in 2008 to 2.6 per cent in 2009 in year-over-year comparisons.

Consumers to pull back from spending 'like drunken sailors': report

Stocks punished as oil hits fresh highs

North American equity markets fell sharply as oil prices touched another record high on Wednesday.

In afternoon trading, the S&P/TSX composite index was off 428 points at 14,038, led lower by an eight per cent drop in the mining sector. The materials sector was down more than five per cent, while industrials were off four per cent and the information technology group shaved more than three per cent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 87 points to reach 11,294. The Nasdaq composite index dropped almost 32 points, falling to 2,273.

Uranium One gets financing, approval

Uranium One gets financing, approvalThree-month TSX trading in Uranium One. Inc.

Shares of Uranium One Inc. edged up initially after the company reported a new credit deal, higher second-quarter production and permission to raise production at its Kazakhstan mine.

Credit crunch hitting junior miners, E&Y says

Tight credit markets have hit the junior mining companies that do most of the exploring for new mineral reserves, consultants Ernst & Young said.

There have been roughly the same number of initial public offerings in Canada among mining companies this year as last, but the dollars raised are "significantly lower," the consulting firm said in a news release.

"That means the credit crunch is hitting the mining sector's exploration-stage companies," said Tom Whelan, an Ernst & Young partner and mining specialist.

GM Canadian sales down 23.8% in June

Sales by General Motors of Canada crashed 23.8 per cent in June, the company said Wednesday.

The company sold 32,355 vehicles in the month, compared with 42,466 in June 2007.

Truck sales were down 35 per cent, and cars down almost 12 per cent.

“GM Canada's June sales reflected the significant ongoing market impact of rising gas prices and the resulting further consumer shift toward cars and smaller crossovers,” Marc Comeau, vice-president of sales, service and marketing, said in a news release.