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The Week’s Highlights

Time to flee that haven 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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Those havens aren’t looking so safe

In the wake of the financial crisis, institutional investors have poured into havens where they could safely park their capital. But it’s these very havens that are now posing the greatest risk, writes Brian Milner in ROB Insight. In an interview with Alain Bokobza, the head of global asset allocation with Société Générale in Paris, he examines why growth in stable markets such as the U.S. has negative repercussions for financial returns, and looks at the markets and asset classes that investors should avoid and those that have the brightest prospects.

Profiting from a hungry China

Despite government efforts to move toward self-sufficiency, China’s food imports have soared and look set to continue along their upward trajectory for the foreseeable future. A diet that is slowly becoming more Westernized is driving demand for meat products, and consequently, grains used for animal feed. According to Lester Brown, a former farmer, U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher and founder of the Earth Policy Institute, if they start consuming as much meat per capita as Americans do, an eye-popping 240 million tons of feed grain will needed. In Inside the Market, Scott Barlow examines the demand and the wide range of equities in the food and agricultural sectors that can expect to benefit.

Constellation has its cake, eats it too

Corporate borrowers can’t have it both ways. If they want cash on terms most favourable to them with few covenants that tie their hands, they have to pay up with big yields. Conversely, if they want to borrow as cheaply as possible, they have to offer investors debt that is light on covenants. But Constellation Software may have found a way to have its cake and eat it too. In Streetwise, Adrian Myers walks readers through the ins and outs of the tech company’s new offering.

U.S. lenders chasing risky business

You’d think they would have learned, but U.S. banks are again sticking out their necks, this time to hang onto their shares of the lending business. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the U.S. regulator that oversee banks, issued a warning this week as banks loosen underwriting standards, extend maturities and offer easier credit terms in the automotive and wider commercial lending markets. In ROB Insight, Carl Mortished looks at the shadow banking upstarts eating their lunch and how, out of reach of regulators, these alternative lenders with around $71-trillion in global assets pose a threat to financial stability.

A chat with an investing legend

If you were to draw up a list of pioneers in the world of investing, John Bogle’s name would surely be on it. The founder of the Vanguard Group – the world’s largest mutual fund company – is credited with creating the very first index mutual fund, now one of the most popular investments among retail investors. Named by Time magazine in 2004 as one of the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people, and called one of the investment industry’s four “giants of the 20th century” by Fortune magazine in 1999, Mr. Bogle joined Inside the Market’s Darcy Keith for an exclusive hour-long discussion about investing, the markets, and new trends in the industry. He also reveals how he personally would invest $100,000 today. Have your pen and paper ready.

Insurers keen to invest in crumbling Canada

Infrastructure investments hold a particular appeal for institutional investors looking for a yield in a low-rate climate. A new report from insurance industry representative Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association is calling on governments at the provincial and federal levels to commit to playing their part in revitalizing Canada’s transportation network. The group says that because there have been insufficient opportunities at home, they’ve been forced to go abroad to find long-term investment opportunities. In Streetwise, Jacqueline Nelson explains the concerns of the industry and the various models that could benefit both private investors and the nation as whole.

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