Flaherty cautiously optimistic about Canadas economy following 2nd quarter GDP results

by News Staff Posted Aug 31, 2012 6:04 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Canada|economy|Jim Flaherty|optimism Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the Canadian economy following Friday’s report on the second quarter GDP. Flaherty said the 1.8 per cent annualized growth rate is modest, but they underscore Canada’s relatively strong position on the global stage. “Indeed Canada continues to have the strongest economic growth of all of the G7 industrialized countries,” he said, Friday. In addition, he said he’s encouraged by the 9.4 per cent growth rate in business investment. However, he warned that the economy still faces risks because of global economic growth concerns, and the federal government could act to stimulate the economy if necessary.   Flaherty ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Canada’s economy following 2nd quarter GDP results read more

Home Depot 3Q results top Street on strength at US stores raises

Home Depot 3Q results top Street on strength at US stores, raises fiscal 2013 forecast ATLANTA – Home Depot’s fiscal third-quarter profit climbed as sales at its U.S. stores strengthened amid the improvement of the housing market.The results for the nation’s biggest home improvement company beat analysts’ estimates and the chain also lifted its full-year forecast again on Tuesday. Its shares briefly touched an all-time high.Home improvement companies have been benefiting from record-low interest rates and rising home prices, spurring customers to spend more to renovate their homes.“We were pleased with our performance in the third quarter as sales exceeded our expectations,” said Craig Menear, executive vice-president of merchandising. “Strength in the core of the store, the continued resurgence of our pro(fessional) customers and mild temperatures helped us overcome difficult comparisons cycling last year’s storm related sales.”For the three months ended Nov. 3, Home Depot Inc. reported net income of $1.35 billion, or 95 cents per share, up from $947 million, or 63 cents per share, a year ago. The prior-year period was weighed down by a one-time charge of 11 cents per share tied to store closings in China.Analysts expected lower earnings of 89 cents per share for the latest quarter, according to FactSet.Revenue for the Atlanta-based company rose 7 per cent to $19.47 billion from $18.13 billion. Wall Street predicted $19.18 billion.In the third quarter, the chain reported that sales at stores open at least a year, a key retail metric, rose 7.4 per cent. In the U.S., that figure increased 8.2 per cent.Smaller rival Lowe’s Cos. reports quarterly results on Wednesday.Home Depot now foresees fiscal 2013 earnings to be up about 24 per cent to $3.72 per share. Revenue is expected to be up approximately 5.6 per cent. The company had also increased its full-year outlook in August. It previously predicted earnings of $3.60 per share, with revenue up about 4.5 per cent. Based on 2012’s revenue of $74.75 billion, the new guidance implies approximately $78.9 billion.Analysts expect full-year earnings of $3.70 per share on revenue of $78.63 billion.Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter, who rates Home Depot “Outperform,” said the results were “another well executed quarter.”“We continue to like Home Depot given the U.S. housing recovery, share gains from weaker competitors (Sears), strong execution, and internal initiatives,” he said.Shares rose $1.67, or 2.1 per cent, to $81.34 in morning trading after hitting an all-time high of $82.27 earlier in the session. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Nov 19, 2013 4:18 am MDT read more

Orders for US durable goods fell 1 pct in Jan but some

In this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, photo, a woman walks through a display of refrigerators at a Lowe’s store in Cranberry Township, Pa. The Commerce Department releases durable goods for January on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Orders for US durable goods fell 1 pct. in Jan., but some demand recovers after Dec. stumble by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Feb 27, 2014 6:36 am MDT WASHINGTON – American businesses ordered fewer durable manufactured goods in January, cutting demand for planes, autos and machines. But a key category that reflects business investment rebounded on the strength of demand for electronics and fabricated metals.The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods fell a seasonally adjusted 1 per cent in January from December. Much of the decline was driven by a 20.2 per cent drop in demand for commercial aircraft, a volatile month-to-month category. Orders for all transportation-related equipment fell 5.6 per cent.More encouragingly, orders rose 1.7 per cent in a closely watched category, known as core capital goods, which excludes volatile transportation and defence orders. This category had dropped 1.8 per cent in December.Economists track this category to determine whether business investment is expanding. Last month’s rebound nearly erased all of December’s decline, a sign that companies might be anticipating more business during spring.“There is some evidence that the growth rate of equipment investment is strengthening,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. But “we won’t know for sure until the weather improves.”Frigid weather and snowstorms have cut into factory output in recent months. As manufacturing has slowed, the effects have echoed across the economy to dampen hiring, retail demand and home sales.Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting in January, as cold weather delayed shipments of raw materials and caused some factories to shut down, the Federal Reserve has reported. Factory production plummeted 0.8 per cent last month, ending five straight months of gains.The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said its index of manufacturing activity fell to 51.3 in January, from 56.5 in December. It was the lowest reading since May, though any reading above 50 signals growth in manufacturing.The broad slowdown emerged after the economy had picked up momentum during the final half of 2013.Retail sales tumbled last month, including a 2.1 per cent dip in auto purchases. Sales of existing U.S. homes plummeted in January to the slowest pace in 18 months, according to the National Association of Realtors.Most economists say the economy will pivot to stronger growth this year after a halting recovery that followed the recession’s end in June 2009. Many analysts are forecasting the economy will grow by around 3 per cent in 2014, an increase of more than a percentage point for 2013.Much of the hope for a better 2014 reflects a belief that the federal government will be less of a drag this year. In 2013, higher taxes and across-the-board spending cuts trimmed about 1.5 percentage points from growth. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Republicans block Senate bill that would curb tax breaks for firms moving

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Republicans block Senate bill that would curb tax breaks for firms moving operations overseas by Stephen OhlemacHer, The Associated Press Posted Jul 30, 2014 9:25 am MDT WASHINGTON – Republican senators blocked an election-year bill Wednesday to limit tax breaks for U.S. companies that move operations overseas.The bill would have prohibited companies from deducting expenses related to moving their operations to a foreign country. It also would have offered tax credits to companies that move operations to the U.S. from a foreign country.The Senate voted 54-42 to end debate on the bill, six short of the 60 votes needed to advance it. The White House says President Barack Obama supports the legislation.“Today in the United States, any time an American company closes a factory or plant in America and moves operations to another country, the American taxpayers pick up part of that moving bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “Frankly, a vote against this bill is a vote against American jobs.”Republicans called the bill an election-year stunt. They noted that Democrats tried to pass a similar bill two years ago, right before the last congressional elections.Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the bill is “designed for campaign rhetoric and failure, not to create jobs here in the U.S.”Republicans also complained that Reid wouldn’t allow any amendments. The legislation now joins a growing number of bills that have stalled in the Senate this year because Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on amendments.The bill would have cost U.S. companies that move overseas $143 million in additional taxes over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, which analyzes tax legislation for Congress. Companies moving into the U.S. would have seen their tax bills drop by $357 million over the same period.The difference — $214 million — would have been added to the budget deficit.___Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap read more

Transat says its wellpositioned to currency hit of Scottish independence vote

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Transat says it’s well-positioned to currency hit of Scottish independence vote by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Sep 11, 2014 8:19 am MDT MONTREAL – Vacation package operator Transat A.T. says it’s well-positioned to withstand fluctuations in the values of the British pound and the euro, should Scotland vote next week to separate from the United Kingdom.Polls that suggested the Yes side was gaining momentum ahead of the Sept. 18 referendum has sent jitters through the markets, prompting investors to sell of the British pound. The currency fell earlier this week to a 10-month low but recovered Thursday.A lower pound could make it more expensive for British customers travelling to Canada but less expensive for Canadians to go the other way. Having operations on both sides of the Atlantic should help Montreal Transat to mitigate the impact of a currency change, he said.About 60 per cent of Transat’s transatlantic traffic is from Canada, compared with 40 per cent from Europe.“I think we are well-positioned to face these kind of situations, if they happen,” chief financial officer Denis Petrin said Thursday during a conference call about its third-quarter results.Transat said this year’s summer seasons got off to one of the best starts in the company’s history, even though its profits dropped primarily due to the cost of fuel-hedging last year.The Montreal-based company, which operates Air Transat and a variety of other travel-related businesses, earned $25.8 million or 66 cents per diluted share for the three months ended July 31. That’s down 37 per cent compared $1.07 per share a year earlier when net profit was $41.1 million.About $12 million of the $15 million difference was attributable to fuel hedging, a non-cash, non-operating item. Adjusted net income before non-operating items was $26.7 million or 69 cents per diluted share, down 13 per cent compared with $30.8 million or 80 cents in the third quarter of 2013.Analysts expected Transat would earn 67 cents per share in adjusted profits on $966 million of revenues.Transat CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said the company had one of its best third quarters in spite of an increase in transatlantic capacity from rivals including Air Canada’s Rouge (TSX:AC.B).“In the entire history of the company, we’ve done better on only two occasions, including last year, which was a record. So we’re talking about a very satisfying start to the season,” he said.Revenues were up 1.6 per cent at $941.7 million, compared with $927 million a year earlier.The number of travellers was stable during the quarter, while average selling prices were higher on a lower Canadian dollar compared to the euro and British pound.Transat’s North American revenues decreased four per cent or $27.9 million as the number of travellers decreased 2.8 per cent. The segment’s operating incomes was $19.8 million, compared with $28.1 million a year earlier. The company reduced its transatlantic capacity by 2.1 per cent during the quarter and increased its supply to Sun destinations by eight per cent.European business unit sales increased by 17.8 per cent or $42.6 million due largely to the lower loonie. Operating income increased to $15.3 million from $13.7 million in the prior year. The number of travellers increased 12.1 per cent while average selling prices were down.The company said it expects to record “satisfactory” but lower results during the fourth quarter as transatlantic capacity from August to October is similar to last summer.A total of 86 per cent of that capacity has been sold to date, with load factors down 1.5 per cent and selling prices up one per cent. The weak Canadian dollar net of the change in fuel costs are expected to increased operational expenses by 3.8 per cent.Transat’s capacity to Sun destinations from Canada is up seven per cent.Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Capital Markets said the better-than-expected results, unchanged outlook for the coming quarter and cost reduction initiatives should boost the company’s share price.“We like management’s disciplined approach to improving margins by focusing on capacity management and higher selling prices,” he wrote in a report.Transat said it also remains on track for a $20 million improvement in margins this year and $20 million in 2015 when the full benefits will be realized from the operation of its narrow-body fleet. It is also working on a 2015-2017 strategic plan taht Poirier expects should add at least $25 million more in cost savings.Analyst David Tyerman of Canaccord Genuity said the “modest upside surprise” in the third quarter should improve the inexpensive Transat shares.“We continue to believe Transat’s results have substantial recovery potential. However, there may be risk from Air Canada’s rouge expansion and industry competition,” Tyerman wrote.Transat A.T. is an integrated international tour operator with more than 60 destination countries.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Transat’s shares lost 13 cents or 1.5 per cent to clost at $8.57 in Thursday.Follow @RossMarowits on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version correctly said net income was down 37 per cent from a year earlier but erroneously blamed the impact of increased market capacity. A bigger factor was fuel hedging. read more

Indonesian military says air force plane crashes in residential neighbourhood of Medan

Indonesian military says air force plane crashes in residential neighbourhood of Medan city JAKARTA, Indonesia – An Indonesian military spokesman says a Hercules C-130 plane has crashed into a residential neighbourhood of Medan city in Sumatra.Indonesian television on Tuesday broadcast blurry images from the city of a downed aircraft in flames.Maj. Gen. Fuad Basya confirmed the crash but had no other details. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Jun 29, 2015 11:46 pm MDT read more

Regulators find lots of fake news aimed at stock investors

Regulators find lots of ‘fake news’ aimed at stock investors by Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press Posted Apr 10, 2017 4:59 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 10, 2017 at 5:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – “Fake news” is not limited to presidential politics and conspiracy theories. Investors also have to be on the alert for stock promotions masquerading as unbiased reports online.Federal regulators have brought civil fraud charges against 27 businesses and individuals for deceiving investors into believing what they were reading on websites were independent, impartial analyses of stocks.The writers were secretly paid for writing the bullish articles, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday.More than 250 articles had false statements attesting that the writers hadn’t been compensated by the companies they were writing about, the agency said in a series of orders and lawsuits.One writer was said to have used at least nine pseudonyms as well as his own name. One of the phoney identities was “an analyst and fund manager with almost 20 years of investment experience.”By law, a company paying someone to publish or publicize articles about its stock must publicly disclose the payments.“Our markets cannot operate fairly when there are deliberate efforts to reach prospective investors with positive articles about a stock, while hiding that the companies paid for those articles,” Melissa Hodgman, associate director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in a statement.The SEC also issued an investor alert warning that articles on an investing website that appear to be an impartial source of information or that provide commentary on several stocks may be part of a paid stock promotion that hasn’t been disclosed. People should never make an investment based only on information published on an investment research website.Of the 27 businesses and individuals charged, 17 agreed to settlements calling for penalties and restitution ranging from $2,200 to about $3 million, the SEC said. Cases are pending against the other 10. The 10 companies, stock promotion or communications firms are Lidingo Holdings, CSIR Group, DreamTeam Group, Mission Investor Relations, QualityStocks, Dunedin, Galena Biopharma, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Lion Biotechnologies and Lavos. read more

Huge cyberattack ebbs as investigators work to find culprits

People walk in front of the headquarters building of Hitachi Ltd., center, in Tokyo, Monday, May 15, 2017. The global “ransomware” cyberattack hit computers at 600 locations in Japan, but appeared to cause no major problems as Japanese started their workday Monday even as the attack caused chaos elsewhere. Hitachi spokeswoman said emails were slow or not getting delivered, and files could not be opened. The company believes the problems are related to the ransomware attack, although no ransom appears to have been demanded so far. They were installing software to fix the problems. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) Huge cyberattack ebbs as investigators work to find culprits NEW YORK, N.Y. – The global cyberattack that took computer files hostage appeared to slow on Monday as authorities worked to catch the extortionists behind it — a difficult task that involves searching for digital clues and following the money.Among their findings so far: The first suggestions of a possible link between the “ransomware” known as WannaCry and hackers linked to North Korea. Those findings remain quite tentative; one firm advancing them described them as intriguing but still “weak.”Experts had warned that WannaCry might wreak renewed havoc on Monday, particularly in Asia, which was closed for business on Friday when the malware scrambled data at hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses.But while there were thousands of additional infections there, the expected second-wave outbreak largely failed to materialize, in part because security researchers had already defanged it .Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for the Finnish security company F-Secure, said the perpetrators of WannaCry made one crucial mistake.“The malware became too successful,” Hypponen said. “When you are a cybercriminal gang and your mission is to make money, you don’t want to infect 200,000 work stations. You don’t want to end up on the covers of magazines. There will be no shortage of investigation.”ABOUT THAT NORTH KOREA LINKWannaCry paralyzed computers running mostly older versions of Microsoft Windows in some 150 countries. It encrypted users’ computer files and displayed a message demanding $300 to $600 worth of the digital currency bitcoin to release them; failure to pay would leave the data scrambled and likely beyond repair .The Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab said Monday that portions of the WannaCry program use the same code as malware previously distributed by the Lazarus Group, a hacker collective behind the 2014 Sony hack blamed on North Korea.But it’s possible the code was simply copied from the Lazarus malware without any other direct connection. Kaspersky said “further research can be crucial to connecting the dots.”Another security company, Symantec, has also found similarities between WannaCry and Lazarus tools, and said it’s “continuing to investigate for stronger connections.”FOLLOW THE MONEYResearchers might find some additional clues in the bitcoin accounts accepting the ransom payments. There have been three accounts identified so far, and there’s no indication yet that the criminals have touched the funds. But what good is money just sitting there as digital bits?Although bitcoin is anonymized, researchers can watch it flow from user to user. So investigators can follow the transactions until an anonymous account matches with a real person, said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer with the California security company McAfee.But that technique is no sure bet. There are ways to convert bitcoins into cash on the sly through third parties. And even finding a real person might be no help if they’re in a jurisdiction that won’t co-operate.Another possible slip-up: Nicholas Weaver, who teaches networking and security at the University of California, Berkeley, said good ransomware usually generates a unique bitcoin address for each payment to make tracing difficult. That didn’t seem to happen here.TELL-TALE SIGNSJames Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said U.S. investigators are collecting forensic information — such as internet addresses, samples of malware or information the culprits might have inadvertently left on computers — that could be matched with the handiwork of known hackers.Investigators might also be able to extract some information about the attacker from a previously hidden internet address connected to WannaCry’s “kill switch.” That switch was essentially a beacon sending the message “hey, I’m infected” to the hidden address, Weaver said.That means the very first attempts to reach that address, which might have been recorded by spy agencies such as the NSA or Russian intelligence, could lead to “patient zero” — the first computer infected with WannaCry. That, in turn, might further narrow the focus on possible suspects.THE PLAYERSForensics, though, will only get investigators so far. One challenge will be sharing intelligence in real time to move as quickly as the criminals — a tricky feat when some of the major nations involved, such as the U.S. and Russia, distrust each other.Even if the perpetrators can be identified, bringing them to justice could be another matter. They might be hiding out in countries that wouldn’t be willing to extradite suspects for prosecution, said Robert Cattanach, a former U.S. Justice Department attorney and an expert on cybersecurity.On the other hand, the WannaCry attack hit — and annoyed — many countries. Russia was among the hardest, and Britain among the most high-profile, and both have “some pretty good investigative capabilities,” Cattanach said.___Lori Hinnant in Paris and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this story. by Anick Jesdanun And Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press Posted May 15, 2017 6:52 am MDT Last Updated May 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Efficiency gains fail to boost bottom line for oil and gas drillers

CALGARY – A new report suggests western Canadian oil and gas drillers are their own worst enemies because they have greatly increased drilling efficiency while revenues have fallen.Analysts at GMP FirstEnergy say rigs are drilling more than a third deeper in an average day in 2017 than they were in 2014 but their average earnings per day has actually fallen by a quarter, from more than $26,000 in 2014 to less than $20,000 now.The research represents more bad news for the industry because it suggests fewer rigs will be needed in the future, translating into fewer jobs and more rig retirements.Mark Scholz, president of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, says the sector continues to struggle with poor drilling activity because of volatile oil prices that are stuck below US $50 per barrel.He says so many skilled workers have quit the job since oil fell from over $100 per barrel in 2014 that hiring remains challenging.The association reports there were only 234 rigs working on Monday out of a western Canadian fleet of more than 600. Each rig directly employs between 20 and 25 staff. Efficiency gains fail to boost bottom line for oil and gas drillers: report by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 21, 2017 3:22 pm MDT Last Updated Aug 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Perpetrators of mass rapes in Guinea must be brought to justice stresses

“It is equally crucial that all victims, other witnesses and their families are afforded full protection and that no effort is spared to ensure their safety throughout this process. Known abusers must not be allowed to hold positions of authority,” said Zainab Bangura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.“Addressing these atrocities is crucial for fostering reconciliation, for trust in the justice system, and for a durable peace,” she added in a statement. On 28 September 2009, civilians organized an opposition rally in a soccer stadium in Conakry when Guinean security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least 150 and resulting in the rape and sexual abuse of 109 women.Lieutenant Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara was charged earlier this year by a national court for the atrocities – including mass rape – committed that day. Earlier this month, Colonel Abdoulaye Chérif Diaby, former Minister of Health, was also indicted for his alleged responsibility in the events. “It is important that these and other charges are processed swiftly and thoroughly, as justice in Guinea has already been delayed for too long,” said Ms. Bangura. “Although Lieutenant Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara earlier this year was charged for his role in the massacre, to date not a single perpetrator has been convicted.”The envoy, who was appointed in June, added that her office is committed to supporting the Government’s efforts to address impunity for sexual violence and to ensuring that such atrocities are never repeated. read more