Every day ROB Insight delivers exclusive analysis on breaking business news and market-moving events. Streetwise offers news and analysis on Bay Street and the world of finance. Insight the Market delivers up-to-the-minute insights on developing market news.
Here are our editors’ picks of some of the best reads available to Globe Unlimited subscribers this week.
Ratcheting up pressure with oil
Washington is being pressured to use oil as a strategic weapon to prise Crimea out of Russian hands. Moscow depends on energy revenues for about half its budget, and a price of about $115 (U.S.) a barrel is needed to fund this year’s spending commitments. The idea is to lift the U.S. ban on oil exports and persuade allies in the Middle East to bump up production, undercutting prices so as to hit Russia where it hurts. But it’s not as simple as that, writes Carl Mortished in ROB Insight, as he explains the geopolitical nuances which would ultimately preclude the scheme from working.
Who wins a Google-Apple cage match?
They’re both giant, innovative and profitable tech companies, so which is the better investment? In Inside the Market, Gordon Pape makes his call, and then dodges the flak from those who think he lacks “any understanding at all about the tech industry.” While he admits he can’t predict whose R&D will bear the most fruit, Mr. Pape carefully walks readers through all the reasons he thinks one company will outperform, and possibly become “the Berkshire Hathaway of the 21st century.”
What’s on Watsa’s mind?
Prem Watsa has written to shareholders to outline the pitfalls he sees ahead in the global economy. After a year booking losses of around 5 per cent while the S&P 500 advanced 30 per cent, the Fairfax boss reminded investors that extensive hedging to preserve the value of investments was always going to have a cost. Although he thinks the tech sector is one of the brighter spots, Jacqueline Nelson writes in Streetwise, Mr. Watsa cautions that valuations are getting overheated. And speaking of overheated, just ask him for his take on the Chinese housing market.
Static in Ottawa’s wireless signal
Painting itself as the champion of the little guy, the federal government pledged to find a viable new entrant to the wireless sector to bust the hegemony of the big three players and lower costs for the consumer. After several false starts, Quebecor’s Vidéotron made the commitment and Ottawa loudly proclaimed “mission accomplished.” So when Quebecor’s controlling shareholder Pierre-Karl Péladeau announced he would run as a PQ candidate in the upcoming provincial election and work toward Quebec’s independence, the feds must have felt they had the wind taken out of their sails just a little bit, writes Brian Milner in ROB Insight.
Put drone stocks on your radar
Despite their use for military and surveillance purposes, the notion of drones being used for everyday commercial activities has been thought of as no more than sci-fi until recently. After Jeff Bezos suggested Amazon might be dropping – literally – a book off at your place, the industry has flown onto the radar of investors. The U.S. FAA has called the commercialization of unmanned aerial systems “the most dynamic growth sector within the aviation industry.” In Inside the Market, David Berman looks at the companies best poised to benefit from the nascent sector.
Trading volumes, financings rebound
As surging U.S. equity markets left Canada in the dust in 2013, trading volumes slumped and sagging commodities put the brakes on financings. But the new year has brought with it a new story on markets, where average daily volumes are outpacing those of 2012 and 2013, and newfound interest in domestic stocks is driving financings higher. What’s changed? In Streetwise, Boyd Erman takes a look at the changed landscape and the factors fuelling the rebound.