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A demonstrator at a bus station in Brasilia shouts slogans during a protest on May 27, 2014, against the FIFA World Cup. Many Brazilians are protesting against the huge amounts of money spent by the government on the tournament. (Eraldo Peres/AP)
A demonstrator at a bus station in Brasilia shouts slogans during a protest on May 27, 2014, against the FIFA World Cup. Many Brazilians are protesting against the huge amounts of money spent by the government on the tournament. (Eraldo Peres/AP)

The Week’s Highlights

No fun in games for world’s taxpayers Add to ...

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. Inside the Market delivers up-to-the-minute insights on market news as it develops.

Here are our editors’ picks of some of the best reads available to Globe Unlimited subscribers this week.

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Don’t let the Games begin?

The prestige and national pride associated with hosting big global sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup appears to be on the wane. The fierce competition normally associated with winning the chance to raise the five-ringed flag has fallen victim to concerns about corruption, the enormous cost, and facilities that almost invariably become white elephants. Seventy per cent of Krakow’s citizens last week voted to pull out of the running for the 2022 Winter Games, the mayor of Stockholm declined to make a bid, and electorates in Munich and in Switzerland’s Davos and St. Moritz have already said “no thanks.” Soccer’s World Cup is having its share of problems, too, with concerns about civil unrest and unfinished venues plaguing the tournament that starts next week in Brazil, and governing body FIFA embroiled in allegations that a former official paid millions in bribes to help his home country secure the 2022 event. In ROB Insight, Carl Mortished examines the tarnish covering these and other big global sporting fests and the backlash around the world.

Financing sees two black swans in a week

Bought deals are rarely repriced after their launch, so seeing two of them bumped down in the same week is particularly notable. The fact that both were for junior energy players is even more of a surprise, Tim Kiladze writes in Streetwise, as the sector has been particularly hot of late. Madalena Energy lowered the price of its offering to fund the acquisition of Argentinian assets on Wednesday, only a day after Bellatrix Exploration not only did the same, but also slashed the size of the deal by a whopping 40 per cent. That’s one big black swan.

Tech-shy investors missing out

In the wake of the tech boom-bust at the turn of the millennium, many investors became understandably wary of the sector and have remained so ever since. The behaviour of the brokerage industry during the boom, widely dissected in the aftermath, led many to treat the sector as radioactive. But to have done so means having missed out on booking some big gains. So could tech stocks now be actually undervalued? In two Inside the Market posts, Scott Barlow dissects the State of the Internet report from tech expert Mary Meeker, and puts into perspective the excesses of the last tech boom and how it mirrors the railway boom-bust of the 19th century, which later saw the industry flourish and reward investors handsomely.

Jobs glass is half-full, half-empty

This week’s employment report showed a reversal of last month’s job losses by pretty much the same amount, so that’s good news. But looking back over the past year, there’s a much more concerning trend unfolding. Canada added 112,000 part-time positions in the past year – many of which are in lower-paying job segments such as accommodation and food services – but actually lost more than 26,000 full-time jobs in the same period. In ROB Insight, David Parkinson parses the numbers, and looks across the border at the U.S. employment landscape, where a pervasive problem with “underemployment” is now giving way to a decline in both long-term unemployment and involuntary part-time work, while job gains have pushed the overall labour force back up above pre-recession levels.

Brokers reach the light at end of tunnel

Two years’ worth of dark days for Canada’s brokerages have taken a toll, but for those that have kept their heads above water, the good times appear to be back. The last week of May was the best one for underwriting in five years, with 14 deals totalling $4.4-billion, according to CIBC, with Scotiabank’s sale of CI Financial stock accounting for about half that figure. In Streetwise, Boyd Erman looks at how brokerages have coped and how the landscape has changed since the drought ended.

A second-quarter rally in the cards?

There’s still a dark cloud hovering over the U.S. economy that made the first quarter a bit of a letdown. But for market optimists, that’s in the past, and they’re expecting great things for this quarter. The S&P 500 has returned a stunning 180 per cent over the past five years without suffering a big correction (and you bought GICs?). But are the bulls looking ahead through rose-tinted glasses? In Inside the Market, David Berman combs through some of the warning signs, including the first-quarter contraction in U.S. GDP and the decline in the yield on 10-year Treasuries.

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