Hurting Canada’s reputation – Castanet.net

The Canadian Press – Nov 25, 2016 / 5:57 am | Story: 181916

Photo: The Canadian Press

Canada’s pipeline gridlock is harming its global reputation as an attractive place to invest in oil and gas projects, says a leading industry group.
Tim McMillan,…

Gap and Abercrombie tumble; Salesforce and Ross Stores rise

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Friday:

Salesforce.com Inc., up $2.58 to $77.77

The customer management software maker gave a solid quarterly report and issued strong guidance.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co., down $2.33 to $14.60

The teen clothing retailer reported weak sales and a smaller profit than analysts expected.

Gap Inc., down $5.10 to $25.61

The retailer’s profit fell as it closed stores and said fewer people came to its remaining locations.

Ross Stores Inc., up $2.47 to $68

The discount retailer posted a larger-than-expected profit and better sales.

SolarCity Corp., down 6 cents to $20.34

Shareholders approved the solar power company’s plan to combine with electric car maker Tesla.

Marvell Technology Group Ltd., up $1.44 to $14.80

The chipmaker reported much higher sales than Wall Street expected and gave a surprisingly strong forecast for the current quarter.

Hibbett Sports Inc., down $4.90 to $40.40

The sporting goods retailer cut its annual forecasts after a weak third-quarter report.

Nuance Communications Inc., up $1.36 to $16.91

The voice and language technology company’s results in the fiscal fourth quarter came in ahead of expectations.

How the Dow Jones industrial average fared on Friday

Major U.S. stock indexes slipped Friday, led by declines in health care companies and makers of consumer goods. Drug companies fell the most, but small-company stocks continued to surge.

On Friday:

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.89 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 18,867.93.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 5.22 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,181.90.

The Nasdaq composite shed 12.46 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,321.51.

For the week:

The Dow picked up 20.27 points, or 0.1 per cent.

The S&P 500 rose 17.45 points, or 0.8 per cent.

The Nasdaq jumped 84.40 points, or 1.6 per cent.

For the year:

The Dow is up 1,442.90 points, or 8.3 per cent.

The S&P 500 is up 137.96 points, or 6.7 per cent.

The Nasdaq is up 314.10 points, or 6.3 per cent.

Feds don’t love ‘I Love NY’ signs on roads, welcome centres

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York’s top transportation official will travel to Washington to discuss an ongoing dispute with federal officials over the state’s highway welcome centres and roadside “I Love NY” signs.

Federal officials say the signs violate signage rules and could distract motorists. Federal authorities are also concerned that the state-run Taste NY stores in highway welcome centres may run afoul of rules governing commercial activity at rest stops.

A spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration says agency Administrator Greg Nadeau is scheduled to meet with state Department of Transportation Commissioner Matt Driscoll next month to discuss the conflict.

The state defends the signs and welcome centres as successful ways to market tourism and locally made products.

The dispute was first reported by the USA Today Network.

Trump agrees to $25M settlement to resolve Trump U lawsuits

SAN DIEGO – President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to a $25 million settlement to resolve three lawsuits over Trump University, his former school for real estate investors.

The deal announced Friday by New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would settle a lawsuit he filed three years ago, plus two class-action lawsuits in California filed on behalf of former Trump University students.

The suits allege that Trump University failed to deliver on its promise to teach success in real estate through programs that cost up to $35,000. They say the program misled students by calling itself a university when it wasn’t an accredited school and by saying that Trump “hand-picked” instructors.

Messages left with several of Trump’s attorneys and a spokeswoman were not returned Friday.

Trump has strongly denied the allegations and said during the campaign that he wouldn’t settle. He told supporters at a May rally that he would come to San Diego to testify after winning the presidency.

“I could have settled this case numerous times, but I don’t want to settle cases when we’re right. I don’t believe in it. And when you start settling cases, you know what happens? Everybody sues you because you get known as a settler. One thing about me, I am not known as a settler,” Trump said at the time.

The deal does not require Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing.

Schneiderman said the $25 million to be paid by Trump or one of his business entities includes restitution for victims and $1 million in penalties to the state.

“Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeals and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phoney university. Today, that all changes,” Schneiderman said in a statement. He called the settlement “a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.”

A federal judge in California had been set Friday to consider arguments on Trump’s latest request to delay a trial until after Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Trump’s attorneys said in a court filing last week that preparations for the White House were “critical and all-consuming.” Six months ago, when they unsuccessfully sought a delay until after Inauguration Day, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli said the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to a trial during the campaign.

“The task is momentous, exceedingly complex, and requires careful co-ordination involving the respective staffs and teams of both President (Barack) Obama and President-Elect Trump,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. “In fewer than three months, the President-Elect must be prepared to manage 15 executive departments, more than 100 federal agencies, 2 million civilian employees, and a budget of almost $4 trillion.”

Trump’s attorneys also raised the prospect of having the president-elect testify by video recording before the trial begins in the class-action lawsuit on Nov. 28.

___

Klepper contributed from Albany, N.Y.

The Latest: Trump University lawsuits settled for $25M

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Latest on litigation over Trump University (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

New York’s attorney general says President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to a $25 million settlement to resolve three lawsuits over Trump University, his former school for real estate investors.

The deal announced Friday by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE’-dur-muhn) would settle two class-action lawsuits in California and a civil suit filed by Schneiderman.

The suits had alleged that Trump University failed to deliver the quality real estate investing education it promised.

Schneiderman says the $25 million to be paid by Trump or one of his business entities includes restitution for students and $1 million in penalties to the state.

The deal doesn’t require Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing.

Messages left with Trump’s attorneys weren’t immediately returned. Trump has strongly denied the allegations and said during the campaign that he wouldn’t settle.

___

2 a.m.

A federal judge in San Diego will consider arguments on President-elect Donald Trump’s latest request to delay a civil fraud trial involving his now-defunct Trump University until after his inauguration on Jan. 20.

Trump’s attorneys said in a court filing ahead of Friday’s hearing that preparations for the White House were “critical and all-consuming.” Six months ago, when they sought a delay until after Inauguration Day, Trump’s legal team said the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to a trial during the campaign.

Trump’s attorneys also raise the prospect of having the president-elect testify by video recording before the trial begins in the class-action lawsuit on Nov. 28.

New York’s Yeshiva University new president works in Israel

NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York’s Yeshiva (yeh-SHEE’-vuh) University has chosen the head of a Jewish heritage centre in Israel as its new president.

The university’s board says Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman will officially start work in July.

He’s currently the head of the Hechal Shlomo (HAY’-kal SHLOH’-moh) Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

Before moving to Israel, he served as rabbi of The Jewish Center in New York City.

US home construction jumps by largest amount in 34 years

WASHINGTON – Builders broke ground on the most new homes in nine years last month, a response to strong demand that should lift the economy.

Home construction soared 25.5 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 1.3 million in October, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That is the biggest gain since July 1982. New construction is also at the highest level since August 2007, months before the Great Recession began.

Americans are clamouring to buy homes, but there are few properties on the market. That has driven up prices. Mortgage rates remain low, however, making more homes affordable.

Steady hiring and some signs that pay gains are picking up have bolstered demand for housing. Younger Americans, buoyed by higher pay, are moving out on their own, renting apartments or seeking to buy houses. Sales of new and existing homes have picked up in recent months.

“With improved employment and income prospects, millennials are an expanding portion of housing demand, as they move out of their parents’ homes,” David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, said.

The increase was driven by a 75 per cent jump in apartment construction, a notoriously volatile category. That was the biggest gain in five years. Single-family home construction rose 10.7 per cent.

Still, the future is a bit cloudy for housing. Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election has led to higher interest rates on 10-year bonds, a sign investors expect higher inflation in the coming years. Those increases should lift mortgage rates from their current very low levels. The average rate nationwide on a 30-year fixed mortgage last week was just 3.57 per cent.

Trump’s policies could affect housing in different ways. Restrictions on immigration could limit the supply of available workers for construction firms, which have already complained for years of labour shortages.

Yet Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at data provider Trulia, points out that Trump could loosen regulations on banks and reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, potentially increasing the flow of credit.

Sales of new homes climbed 13 per cent in September from a year earlier. Yet the supply of new properties was equivalent to just 4.8 months of sales, down from 5.8 months a year ago.

And sales of existing homes bumped up 3.2 per cent in September from the previous month. But supply is tight there as well: The number of existing homes for sale was barely above 2 million, 6.8 per cent lower than a year earlier.

Those shortages are likely fueling more construction. Homebuilding rose strongly last month in the Northeast, where new construction has lagged for months and is up just 2.2 per cent in the past year. The increase was also strong in the Midwest, followed by the West and South.

Applications for building permits, a good sign of future activity, barely rose to 1.23 million, the highest in a year. Still, that followed a much larger 6.3 per cent gain in the previous month.

Employers are adding an average of about 175,000 jobs a month, and the unemployment rate fell to a low 4.9 per cent in October. Average hourly pay rose in the past year by the fastest pace since before the recession began, boosting the confidence of would-be buyers.

Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 43-year low

WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since 1973 last week, evidence that businesses are confident enough in the economy to hold onto their workers.

The Labor Department says that applications for unemployment aid dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 235,000 last week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 253,500.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, which have fallen to near-record low levels, according to separate government data. Hiring is typically solid when layoffs are scarce, suggesting that steady job gains should continue.

Companies have slowed their hiring from last year but are adding jobs quickly enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. The economy gained 161,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent.

Higher gas prices push US consumer inflation up 0.4 per cent

WASHINGTON – Rising energy costs pushed consumer prices higher in October, but overall inflation remains tame.

The Labor Department said Thursday that its consumer price index rose 0.4 per cent last month, the most since April and up from a 0.3 per cent increase in September. Over the past year, consumer prices are up 1.6 per cent. That’s the most since October 2014 but below the Federal Reserve’s 2 per cent annual inflation target.

Despite low inflation, the Fed has hinted that it might resume raising U.S. interest rate at its next meeting Dec. 13-14. The Fed raised rates nearly a year ago for the first time since 2006 and was widely expected to follow up with several more hikes in 2016. But it held off as the U.S. economy stalled from late 2015 through mid-2016 and the global economy continued to look weak.

Energy prices rose 3.5 per cent last month, led by a 7 per cent hike in gasoline prices. The cost of shelter rose 0.4 per cent on a 1.8 per cent rise in hotel rates. Food prices were unchanged for the fourth straight month. Medical care prices were also flat.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, rose a modest 0.1 per cent last month and is up 2.1 per cent over the past year.

A steady uptick in consumer prices, along with President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to cut taxes and increase infrastructure spending, mean “inflation risks for the foreseeable future are to the upside,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research report.

Testifying before a congressional committee Thursday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen described an improving U.S. economy and said “the case for an increase” in interest rates has strengthened.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. passes stress test extreme scenarios

OTTAWA – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says its stress testing shows it will be able to withstand even the most extreme economic scenarios.

The agency tested its mortgage loan insurance and securitization businesses against several scenarios including different changes in the unemployment rate and home prices.

The tests looked at the impact of a severe and prolonged economic depression and a plunge in the price of oil.

Other situations that were tested included a strong earthquake and a sudden rise in interest rates that causes a drop in housing prices and the failure of a Canadian financial institution.

They also looked at what would happen if a U.S. style housing correction occurred in Canada.

CMHC says the tests confirm that its capital holdings are sufficient.

“Stress testing involves searching out extreme scenarios that have a very remote chance of happening and planning for them,” said Romy Bowers, CMHC’s chief risk officer.

“Rigorous stress testing is an essential part of our risk management program and allows CMHC to evaluate its capital levels against these scenarios.”

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