These are stories Report on Business is following Monday, May 28, 2012. Get the top business stories through the day on BlackBerry or iPhone by bookmarking our mobile-friendly webpage.
Testing nerves It's going to be a tense week in global financial markets.
Investors are watching closely for the latest poll results from Athens, the amount of money being pulled out of Greek and Spanish banks, and signs for a referendum in Ireland Thursday will play out. Add to that the key U.S. jobs report on Friday, and all the ingredients are there for a crazy few days.
U.S. markets are closed today for Memorial Day, but, already, Greek polls are moving markets, and shares of Spain's Bankia are plunging.
"With pro-bailout parties gaining in Greek opinion polls, the [Swiss central bank]threatening capital controls, Spain talking of injecting bonds into Bankia, and U.S. non-farm payrolls due on Friday, we are starting the week with a 'risk bounce,' said Kit Juckes, the chief of foreign exchange at Société Générale.
Investors were buoyed somewhat today by these opinion polls that show the pro-bailout forces slightly ahead of those that want to rip up the rescue agreements in the run-up to a June 17 election. But borrowing costs in Spain surged again.
Those who want to change the harsh austerity terms of the bailout made surprising inroads in the last vote, leaving a political make-up too fractured to form a coalition government.
"The reaction to poll results may be seen as a little fickle and we have got used to any positive news quickly getting swamped by the next tranche of disappointment, but it has lifted the London index back to its best levels for nearly a week," said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index in London.
Then, as mentioned, there's the Irish referendum.
"Polls have shown a clear lead for the 'Yes' camp by about 60 per cent to 40 per cent, but the actual result may be a lot closer," said observers at RBC Dominion Securities.
"Although the fiscal compact does not require Irish ratification to come into effect, EU leaders have tied future bailout disbursements to Ireland to a positive outcome on the referendum."
Then there's Friday's U.S. employment report, one of the most widely watched measures and one that frequently moves markets.
Economists generally expect to see job creation of about 150,000 and an unemployment rate of 8.1 per cent.
"A slight improvement in May’s payrolls will do little to alter the impression that hiring in the U.S. economy has slowed noticeably since the winter," said Andrew Grantham of CIBC World Markets.
"Job gains of this magnitude are consistent with the more moderate GDP growth of Q1, rather than the strong advance of [the fourth quarter of last year]"
- Spain's Bankia plunges, borrowing costs soar
- Crisis draws squatters to Spain's empty buildings
- Euro zone crisis raises worries in Greece, Spain
RIM loses top lawyer Research In Motion Ltd. has lost another of its top guns, this time chief legal officer Karima Bawa.
The key executive, who has been with the BlackBerry maker since 2000, will stay on for a while until a replacement can be found.
Today's development comes on the heels of the recent departure of global sales chief Patrick Spence, and before what are expected to be thousands of job cuts as RIM's market share erodes.
As The Globe and Mail's Iain Marlow reported this weekend, several senior officials have left the company since Thorsten Heins was put in charge.
And now, sources say, RIM plans a major restructuring of its global operations beginning in the next two weeks that would lead to job losses of at 2,000 positions.
- RIM's chief legal officer quits
- Tim Kiladze's Streetwise: RIM needs new blood - Why spate of exits is a good thing
- RIM prepares for radical measures with global restructuring
Postmedia cuts back Postmedia Network Inc. is slashing editorial jobs across Canada, at the same timing halting Sunday newspapers in several big markets.
The company told employees this afternoon that Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton would lose their Sunday papers and that the National Post would stop printing on Mondays through the summer, The Globe and Mail's Steve Ladurantaye writes.
The chain will also stop publishing on holidays such as Victoria Day and Canada Day.
Raitt intervenes in strike Canada's Labour Minister is forcing an end to the crippling strike against Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
Lisa Raitt's decision to introduce back-to-work legislation follows a stalemate between CP and its union that has hobbled freight traffice across the country.
As Brent Jang writes in today's Report on Business, companies are howling for the Labour Minister to put an end to the strike by more than 4,800 members of the Teamsters union.
What else to watch for this week On Friday, Statistics Canada releases its report on how Canada's economy fared in the first quarter of the year, and analysts expect to see annualized growth of between 1.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent, compared to 1.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
"Net trade and an unintended inventory build-up are expected to be significant contributors to growth," said economist Diana Petramala of Toronto-Dominion Bank.
"Real exports are estimated to have expanded by 9.2 per cent, met by a less sultry 5.3-per-cent gain in imports," she said in a report Friday.
"With housing starts running hot as builders continue to take advantage of a low interest rate environment, new home construction is also likely to have added favourably to growth. On the flip side, we expect the release to show a sharp deceleration in consumer spending (+1.5 per cent) and business investment (+4 per cent), both of which are coming off decent gains in the prior quarter. The government sector remains a wild card, as spending unwinds from past stimulus measures."
For investors, bank earnings continue, with Bank of Nova Scotia tomorrow, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada on Thursday.
- Tavia Grant's Economy Lab: Apprenticeships a profitable substitute to college
- Canadians taking extra steps to tackle debt load
- Tax resolution to boost RBC third quarter