Here are our editors’ picks of some of the best reads of the week. (The articles are available to Globe Unlimited subscribers only.)
Apple feels the bite of hedge funds
What prompted the exodus that has sent the high-tech darling’s stock down 40 per cent since last September? ROB Insight’s David Parkinson found that in the last quarter, just 10 of the biggest hedge funds had Apple as on of its top-10 holdings, down from 23 in the previous quarter, when it was their most popular holding. Now it’s not even in bronze-medal position. Meanwhile, Apple was a top-10 holding among 14 U.S. mutual funds in the fourth quarter, down from 22 in the second quarter.
An airport garage sale?
With Ottawa looking to fill that deficit gap there’s one asset class that deserves a closer look – commercial real estate, writes Boyd Erman in Streetwise. Holding title to Canada’s airports – currently leased to local authorities – provides a steady stream of income offering a compound annual growth of about 5 per cent. And the responsibility for operating costs rest with the airports, meaning all a landlord has to do is cash the cheques.
Let’s beat up on Canada
Haven’t seen enough storm clouds yet? Looks like more are on the way and everyone’s piling on. High household debt levels, a strong loonie weighing on exports, and a depressed mining industry are just a few of the factors weighing on the economy. Whether these are enough themselves to drag down growth further is beside the point, writes ROB Insight’s Scott Barlow: a steady drumbeat of bad economic news in itself can be enough to suppress growth.
Numbers don’t add up for PKP
Pierre Karl Péladeau didn’t have to beat a retreat from the family business, but maybe a look at the numbers convinced him otherwise, Boyd Erman says in Streetwise. After 14 years at the helm of Quebecor, the stock has gained roughly an average 1.8 per cent a year compounded. That outpaced rival BCE, but when you factor in the latter’s dividend payouts, BCE comes out well ahead.
Sugar's artificial sweeteners
News that the U.S. is moving to further subsidize its sugar industry likely drew eye-rolls from most free marketers. But after following the sector for the past 13 years, ROB Insight’s Sean Silcoff finally decided to buy stocks of one of Canada’s two producers – Rogers Sugar Inc. Why? Trade barriers keep U.S. and EU production out, and thanks to the duopoly, Canadian prices artificially high. Rogers stock yields a 5.6-per-cent dividend, and that’s excluding a one-time payout earlier this year.