Business News as of 6 p.m. ET
(Canadian Press Broadcast Wire (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THURSDAY, JAN. 17, 6 p.m. ET
BUSINESS NEWS ADVISORY
Here are the top Business News stories from The Canadian Press as of 6 p.m. All times Eastern unless otherwise stated. Coverage plans are included when available. Entries are subject to change as news develops.
Queries should be addressed to the business desk at 416-507-2138. To reach CP Business by email, send messages to business(at)thecanadianpress.com.
TOP BUSINESS NEWS THIS HOUR
Rio Tinto CEO departs after $14B writedown
The chief executive of Rio Tinto is stepping down following a $14-billion asset writedown, much of it related to the aluminum operations acquired by the global mining company when it bought Montreal-based Alcan several years ago. Rio said that $10 billion to $11 billion of the writedown is related to the aluminum business, while it will record another $3 billion related to an African coal acquisition and $500 million in other parts of the company. PHOTO. Will be updated.
Sun Life expands in Malaysia
TORONTO _ Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX:SLF) and Malaysian state-owned investment fund Khazanah Nasional are teaming up to purchase 98 per cent of a Malaysian life insurance company from its two current owners. Toronto-based Sun Life and Khazanah are purchasing the CIMB Aviva Assurance life insurance company as well as CIMB Aviva Takaful, which provides Sharia law compliant insurance, for a total shared cost of $586 million. PHOTO.
H&R says Target signals change for malls
TORONTO _ The decision to purchase Primaris Retail REIT was easy to make in a changing shopping mall landscape that will see the arrival of Target stores in the coming months, the head of H&R Real Estate Investment Trust says. ``The dynamics of these malls are going to change,'' said H&R president and chief executive Tom Hofstedter in an interview Thursday.
More Canadians did Christmas shopping online
TORONTO _ Canadians went online to do their Christmas shopping this year more than ever before, according to a new report. MasterCard Advisors says Canadian consumers spent $2.8 billion shopping online in December, representing about 6.6 per cent of the month's total retail sales.
Technology a focus of AIMCo in 2013
CALGARY _ Alberta Investment Management Corp. is seeking opportunities to invest in technology this year, the CEO of the provincial fund manager said Thursday. When Leo de Bever took the helm of the $70-billion fund in 2008, he made food, energy and materials the focus of AIMCo's investments.
Gold bull run forecast to continue in 2013
MONTREAL _ Gold is expected by many to continue to sparkle as an investment opportunity over the next two years despite a 12-year bull run that briefly took the precious metal as high as US$1,900 an ounce before pulling back. Investment strategist Gavin Graham says gold should rise from its current price of US$1,689 an ounce to approach the 2011 high price later this year before perhaps hitting US$2,000 in 2014. PHOTO.
Intel 4Q profit down, beats Street
NEW YORK _ Intel Corp., the world's largest chipmaker, on Thursday said its fourth-quarter net income fell 27 per cent from the previous year, as PC sales continued to weaken. Net income was $2.47 billion, or 48 cents per share, for the October to December period. That was down from $3.36 billion, or 64 cents per share, a year ago. PHOTO.
US home construction in 2012 highest in 4 years
WASHINGTON _ U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace in 4 1/2 years and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis. The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That's 12.1 per cent higher than November's annual rate. And it is nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009. PHOTO.
Legal expenses drag down Citigroup 4Q earnings
Citigroup's fourth quarter earnings fell short of Wall Street's expectations as the bank's legal expenses rose and it released less money from its loan-loss reserves. The bank, based in New York, said a big chunk of the legal expenses came from a settlement reached last week over illegal foreclosure practices in the aftermath of the housing bust. PHOTO.
Lessons learned, BofA makes a new mortgage push
NEW YORK _ Bank of America wants a bigger slice of the mortgage market. This time, the bank is being more careful about how to get it. On Thursday, the bank sketched out plans for regaining some of the ground it has lost in home lending. That's a change from the strategy of the last few years, when it has concentrated on shedding the parts of its mortgage business that it saw as undesirable. PHOTO.
Lithium batteries central to 787 woes
WASHINGTON _ Lithium batteries that can leak corrosive fluid and start fires have emerged as the chief safety concern involving Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, a problem that apparently is far more serious than government or company officials acknowledged less than a week ago. The Federal Aviation Administration late Wednesday grounded Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced jetliner until the risk of battery fires is resolved. The order applies only to the six Dreamliners operated by United Airlines, the lone U.S. carrier with 787s. Other airlines and civil aviation authorities in other countries quickly followed suit.
Oil hits 4-month high on US data, Algeria
NEW YORK _ The price of oil rose to a four-month high Thursday on positive reports about the U.S. economy. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude gained $1.25 to finish at US$95.49 a barrel, the highest close for crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange since Sept. 17. Oil has now gained four per cent this year.
ALSO IN THE NEWS
TSX advances amid rising commodities
TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market was higher Thursday amid rising commodity prices and positive U.S. economic data. The S&P/TSX composite index gained 65.91 points to 12,674.73 while the TSX Venture Exchange was up 2.95 points to 1,233.15. PHOTO.
Loonie higher amid rising commodities
TORONTO _ The Canadian dollar closed higher Thursday amid rising prices for oil and metals and positive U.S. economic data. The loonie shook off early losses to gain 0.04 of a cent to 101.45 cents US as weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits hit a five-year low and U.S. home construction surged in December to the highest level in 4 1/2 years. PHOTO.
Electricity from N.L. cheaper than Quebec
HALIFAX _ A study conducted for the Nova Scotia government says buying electricity from the proposed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project would be $402 million cheaper than importing it from Quebec. The study, released today by consultant John Dalton, concludes that supporting the Labrador project would cost $1.5 billion less than using a mix of wind and natural gas over the 35 year life of the commercial contract for the hydro project. Moves Atlantic and Business, please guard against duplication;
Michelin gives $64M boost to tire plant
WATERVILLE, N.S. _ Tire manufacturer Michelin has announced it is going to spend $64.1 million to expand one of its plants in Nova Scotia. The company has announced an expansion of its facility in Waterville in the hopes of adding 50 jobs to the 1,300 who are already employed there. Moves Atlantic and Business, please guard against duplication; Will be writethru
Sportscene suffered from NHL lockout
MONTREAL _ The operators of Quebec's La Cage aux Sports restaurant chain said its decision to purchase a majority stake in three non-sport-themed restaurants helped to offset the impact in its latest quarter from the NHL lockout. The Sportscene Group (TSXV:SPS.A) said Thursday that sales fell 8.9 per cent to $25.5 million during the period ended Nov. 25 without NHL hockey.
TransForce makes another U.S. acquisition
MONTREAL _ TransForce is expanding its North American same-day and courier business by acquiring Texas-based Velocity Express and its network of 80 locations in the United States and Western Canada. ``The acquisition of Velocity further enhances TransForce's density in the same-day North American package and courier market and reflects our disciplined and selective approach in building our network,'' stated TransForce CEO Alain Bedard.
CRTC had 75 complaints on traffic throttling
GATINEAU _ The CRTC says it received 75 ``throttling'' complaints last year against Internet service providers. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission oversees how companies sometimes limit or ``throttle'' traffic to manage their networks. Will be updated with more comment form the CRTC
High court will not hear wheat board battle
OTTAWA _ The federal government has won another court battle over its changes to the Canadian Wheat Board. The Supreme Court of Canada says it will not hear an appeal by eight former board directors of a lower-court ruling. Will be writethru. Moves on national and business wires. Guard against duplication
Canadian investment abroad up in November
OTTAWA _ Statistics Canada says Canadian investment in foreign securities strengthened to $7.8 billion in November, nearly all in U.S. instruments. The agency says foreign investment in Canadian securities slowed to $5.6 billion, mainly federal government debt instruments. PHOTO.
Taxman wants more Canadians to file online
OTTAWA _ The Canada Revenue Agency is pushing more people toward filing their tax returns online. The agency has discontinued its free Telefile service that allowed people with basic returns to file by entering their tax information using the telephone. Will be writethru; Moves National and Business; Guard against duplication
Porter ordered to change liability rules
TORONTO _ Canada's airline regulator has ordered regional carrier Porter Airlines to rewrite its policies on lost baggage and delayed flights to make clear passengers may be entitled to compensation. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) ruled that Porter's current policies were ``silent'' and ``unreasonable'' because they do not state that the airline can be held liable if a flight is late, rescheduled or a passenger's baggage is misplaced, which is required by law. Moves Business and Travel
Joint-venture partner sues BHP over Ekati
TORONTO _ A joint-venture partner is suing BHP Billiton over its plan to sell its stake in the Ekati diamond mine and surrounding exploration properties to Harry Winston Diamond Corp. (TSX:HW). C. Fipke Holdings Ltd. (Fipco) has accused BHP Billiton of not complying with its pre-emptive rights to buy the assets under the joint-venture agreement and alleged Harry Winston was complicit.
Provincial economic gap narrowing: BMO
TORONTO _ Bank of Montreal says the gap between economic growth rates in Western Canada and the rest of the country appears to narrowing. The resource sector continues to fuel growth in Western Canada, but the bank says it will be slower.
Ticketfly now taking on Ticketmaster in Canada
TORONTO _ Canadian concertgoers may soon notice there's a new online ticketing company in town aiming to compete with Ticketmaster. The San Francisco-based Ticketfly announced Thursday that it's expanding into Canada and has reached deals with national event promoter Union Events and Toronto-based Collective Concerts to sell tickets online.
Algoma Central raises quarterly dividend
TORONTO _ Algoma Central Corp. (TSX:ALC) increased its quarterly dividend by a penny to seven cents per share on Thursday. Trading in the company's shares was halted pending the announcement.
Bauer's largest shareholder reduce stake
TORONTO _ Sports equipment maker Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. said Thursday that its largest shareholder, Kohlberg Funds, has signed a deal to sell part of its stake in the company in a secondary offering worth about $35 million. Kohlberg Funds has signed a deal with a syndicate of underwriters, led by RBC Capital Markets and Paradigm Capital Inc., for three million shares at $11.60 per share.
Kitchener defends special treatment of RIM
WATERLOO, Ont. _ The City of Kitchener is defending its decision to get behind BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) in the lead-up to the launch of its new smartphones. In an article published by the Waterloo Region Record daily newspaper, the city says it hasn't sold out to corporate interests by making a temporary exception to local policies about corporate advertisements. Moves Business and National
Renewed push for Keystone pipeline approval
REGINA _ Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and 10 U.S. Republican governors are urging President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The political leaders have sent a joint letter to Obama that says the pipeline is crucial for energy security and the future economic prosperity of both countries. Espy AP. Moves on west-regional and business wires. Guard against duplication
Nexen North Sea oil project approved
CALGARY _ Nexen Inc.'s (TSX:NXY) U.K. subsidiary says it has received regulatory approval to develop its Solitaire oil field in the North Sea. The project is northeast of the $3.3-billion Golden Eagle development, which is under construction.
Mining company agrees to hand over resumes
VANCOUVER _ A mining firm is reluctantly turning over the resumes of about 300 failed job applicants for a northern B.C. mining project that is the subject of a court challenge over its Chinese workers. A lawyer for HD Mining says his clients don't want to hand over the documents, but they're making an effort to preempt a federal judge's order for the government to attempt to retrieve the material. Will be writethru
Partners to buy 5 Montreal-area properties
VICTORIA _ Partners Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:PAR.UN) has signed agreements to buy five retail properties in the Montreal region for $78.5 million. The deals, which include four newly constructed properties, will see the Victoria-based REIT add a total of about 286,500 square feet of gross leasable space.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
(The Canadian Press)
(c) 2013 The Canadian Press
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