Bank of Canada could announce overnight interest rate increase Tuesday

Canada’s top bank could up rate as February inflation passes 2% threshold

The Bank of Canada is scheduled to make an announcement concerning the key overnight interest rate on Tuesday, where it could announce an increase in the rate to curve inflation.

The top bank initially outlined a plan that said it would keep the interest rate the same at 0.25-percent until after the second quarter of 2010. The bank initially set that rate in April 2009, and is the lowest overnight lending rate Canadian banks have ever seen.

Economists and analysts expect the top bank to leave the rate unchanged, but it is possible the bank could opt to increase it as inflation has been higher than expected according to recent numbers from the consumer price index (CPI), which measures inflation.

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Regional Canadian airline company Porter says it wants an IPO

Porter Airlines says it is readying IPO to fund future growth

Update Apr 17 11:20am: Confirmed, RBC Capital Markets is an underwriter

The Canadian airline company, Porter Inc., confirmed today the company plans to go public with an initial public offering (IPO) to raise capital.

The company declined to answer when it could happen, nor any other information including who the underwriters would be and what type of underwriting would be used such as a firm commitment underwriting.

The regional aviation company currently flies planes from Toronto’s downtown island airport to destinations in both Canada and the United States.

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General Electric reports higher than expected Q1 earnings

General Electric (GE) Company today reported higher than expected Q1 2010 earnings as the economy begins to show signs of recovery.

The company reported total revenue of $36.6-billion, down slightly from $38.4-billion in the same period last year. The company said total profits were $1.87-billion ($0.17 per share) in Q1 2010, compared to $2.75-billion ($0.26 per share) in Q1 2009.

Most of the losses stemmed from the aviation and rail industry as demand for products declined as a result of the credit crisis.

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Report: Germany wants smaller EU Monetary Union

The investment bank Morgan Stanley said today Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is considering exiting the European Monetary Union, as the country believes some European nations pose a significant risk to the country.

Germany is reportedly proposing a smaller bloc of European nations that are more economically sound to unite in a new and smaller monetary union.

Specifically, with the Greek debt bailout looming, Germany believes it is setting a bad precedent for other European members that are also heavily indebted and not well capitalized to seek their own bailouts.

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UBS expects massive $2.34B profit in Q1 2010

Switzerland’s largest financial intermediary today said it expects to post a CHF 2.5-billion (USD $2.34-billion) before tax profit for the first quarter of 2010.

The numbers would mark the largest quarterly profit from over 3-years ago after the bank saw more than 75-percent of its market capitalization fall in late 2008. UBS’ current market cap on the NYSE is 60.45-billion as at today in early morning trading, with the stock trading up more than 3.80-percent to $17.15 per share.

UBS CEO Oswald Gruebel, 66, is hoping for the bank to reach annual before tax profits of CHF 15-billion within the next 5-years, levels not seen after the financial crisis. Gruebel says this goal would be accomplished mainly by focusing on the fixed-income trading unit at the bank.

The bank said it would publish actual financial earnings for the quarter on May 4th.


Semiconductor sales continue to increase as February has $22B in sales

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) today released the latest chip sales figures from February 2010.

The report says total semiconductor sales in February were $22-billion, down by 1.3-percent from January, but up 57-percent from the same period last year. The growth can be attributed to an increase in demand of consumer electronic products as a result of a recovery of the global economy.

The most sales were from Asia Pacific with $12.17-billion, compared to $3.75-billion in the Americas.

The SIA projects mobile phones and computers (leading drivers of semiconductor sales) to grow in the low to mid-teens in 2010, thereby increasing demand for semiconductors.

The association cautiously said it expects continued semiconductor growth past November 2010 as there are encouraging signs global economies would continue to recover.


Bombardier reports full year 2009 earnings

Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier warns of continued expected decline in demand

Canada’s plane and train maker Bombardier today reported Q4 2009 earnings and full year earnings for fiscal 2009.

The company reported total sales of USD $5.4-billion in Q4, with total sales in fiscal 2009 as $19.4-billion. Total sales were down insignificantly from fiscal 2008, which were $19.7-billion.

Bombardier reported net income of $179-million in Q4 2009 ($0.10 per diluted share), compared to $312-million in the same period last year.

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Canadian economy grows 0.6-percent in January 2010

Statistics Canada has published the latest economic growth numbers, indicating the Canadian economy grew by 0.6-percent (GDP) in January 2010, marking the fifth straight month of growth.

The increase was above estimates that were closer to 0.5-percent, including by analysts surveyed by Reuters.

The growth is attributable to strong growth in various sectors, including manufacturing production, that was up 1.9-percent in January.

A rebound in the housing market helped grow construction by 1.7-percent in January.

The positive economic news for the Canadian economy comes as the United States, Canada’s largest trading partner, lost a significant number of private sector jobs.


Athabasca readying TSX IPO, could top $1.5B

The Calgary-based energy firm Athabasca Oil Sands Corporation is readying a $1.35-billion initial public offering (75-million shares) by the end of next week on the TSX. The shares will debut at $18 per share.

The underwriters are GMP Securities and Morgan Stanley. Due to increasing demand in this hot IPO, including major interest from international investors, particularly Asian-based institutional and private investors, the IPO could raise $1.5-billion in capital for the firm as the underwriters exercise valuable options to buy more discounted shares.

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Blockbuster says it could enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Blockbuster says it could enter bankruptcy protection, warns of declining sales and revenues

The video game and movie rental giant Blockbuster made interesting comments found in the latest 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today.

The company warned, “Over the next 12 to 18 months, we expect to continue facing the challenges of the macroeconomic environment, increased industry competition and fragmentation,”

Blockbuster recently has experienced a significant decline in total revenue as consumers shift to different more efficient and cost effective channels from competitors to get their movies.

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