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TMCNet:  Prep-Business Report

[December 28, 2013]

Prep-Business Report

(Canadian Press Broadcast Wire (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Toronto stock market surged today as it played catch-up with U-S indexes after being closed for Christmas and Boxing Day.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 69.96 points to 13,587.98 _ the highest level since May 2011. The loonie fell 0.75 of a cent to 93.42 cents U-S.

The gain on the T-S-X came as the market digested news that BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis has cashed in 26 million dollars worth of shares in the struggling smartphone company.

The transaction, reported after the T-S-X closed early on Tuesday, now brings Lazaridis' stake in the tech maker to five per cent. BlackBerry shares dipped 5.09 per cent, or 42 cents, to $7.83.

Meanwhile, U-S indexes ended the week relatively flat as the Dow Jones industrials dropped 1.47 points to 16,478.41, and the S&P 500 index declined 0.61 of a point to 1,841.41. The Nasdaq took back 10.59 points to 4,156.59.

Gold prices rose $1.70 to US$1,214 an ounce, as February crude rose 77 cents to US$100.32 a barrel. March copper fell a penny to US$3.39 a pound.

(Aeroplan-Revamp) Aimia is poised to enter a new era in 2014 with T-D Bank as its new partner and long-standing ally C-I-B-C both offering credit cards linked to Aimia's Aeroplan rewards.

However, current customers of C-I-B-C Aerogold Visa cards won't initially see any change and the companies are saying it won't be until mid-2014 until the transition is completed.

Under an interim agreement between the two banks, C-I-B-C will continue to process the accounts until new T-D cards are issued to about half a million affected customers.

The trio of companies says they have completed a previously announced deal that enables C-I-B-C to retain about half of its portfolio of Aeroplan customers. T-D becomes the primary issuer of new Aeroplan Visa cards for the next 10 years, and it will acquire the half of the C-I-B-C Aerogold customer base that doesn't have broader banking relationships. (The Canadian Press) (US-Target-Data-Breach) Target says customers' encrypted PIN data was removed during the massive data breach that occurred earlier this month.

Previously Target had said that encrypted data was stolen but stopped short of identifying it as PIN numbers. But the company says in a new statement that additional forensic work has shown that encrypted PIN data was removed along with customers' names and card numbers.

Data connected to about 40 million credit and debit cards used at Target stores in the U-S were stolen between November 27th and December 15th.

Security experts say it's the second-largest theft of card accounts in U-S history, surpassed only by a scam that began in 2005 involving retailer T-J-X Cos. (The Associated Press) (YEAR-BlackBerry) BlackBerry hopes to clean the slate again as it heads into the new year with another lease on life and a leader who believes he can do what his predecessors couldn't _ save the company from a slow death.

After months of painful uncertainty and dismal financial results, BlackBerry is in the hands of chairman and chief executive John Chen who hopes to navigate the company into 2014 with reinvigorated vision.

The odds are stacked against him, but Chen insists he will rebuild the BlackBerry name by chasing the business customers who helped make the company a powerhouse in the smartphone industry.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has spent the last few years losing the fight for a stronger position in the market as Apple's iPhone and other smartphones on the Android operating system pulverized its reputation with consumers as a cutting-edge technology developer. (The Canadian Press) (Alta-Pipeline-Guilty) A Calgary-based natural gas company will pay 350 thousand dollars in fines after pleading guilty to a pipeline leak that killed hundreds of fish and damaged a creek in northern Alberta.

SemCAMS U-L-C made the plea after 850 thousand litres of salty, chemically contaminated wastewater was released into a small creek and muskeg near Fox Creek, Alberta in August 2010.

The company originally faced numerous charges under both federal and provincial legislation but pled guilty to only one count under each.

SemCAMS gathers and processes natural gas, operating four gas processing plants and nearly one thousand kilometres of pipeline in Alberta. (The Canadian Press) On the markets: The S&P/TSX composite index rose 69.96 points to 13,587.98.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.75 of a cent to 93.42 cents U-S.

The Dow Jones industrials dropped 1.47 points to 16,478.41.

The Nasdaq took back 10.59 points to 4,156.59.

(The Canadian Press) (c) 2013 The Canadian Press

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