These are stories Report on Business is following Friday, Sept. 21, 2012.
RIM still 'likely needs' sale
Research In Motion Ltd. reports second-quarter results next Thursday, prompting analysts to publish their projections.
For analyst Steven Li of Raymond James, another “challenging quarter” is in the works and a sale of the BlackBerry maker is probably what’s required.
Mr. Li noted the delay of RIM’s new BB10 devices, while its competition “refreshes” the line-up this year.
So, he said in a research note today, “we believe that could set RIM further back on the specs curve and the possibility of a comeback is diminishing.”
The analyst did cite the fact that RIM chief Thorsten Heins suggested recently that the company now has 80 million subscribers across the globe, up from 78 million.
That would, of course, be a good sign, though Mr. Li wondered whether those additions are “likely lower quality” in terms of plans and geography.
He also speculated that the BB10 delay could “dampen” interest among developers.
“With that in mind, we believe at this point a sale is likely needed,” Mr. Li said.
“Without a sale, we expect the deteriorating fundamentals to continue to erode value.”
Mr. Li’s note came amid a short-lived but widespread outage in BlackBerry service in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Get a new iPhone 5 today (if you can find the Apple Store on the map)
It appears people found their way to the Apple Store today, after all. Without the help of Google Maps and despite the troubles with the new mapping function on Apple’s new system.
The debut of the iPhone 5 was greeted with lineups around the world in what is already a record-breaking launch. In the first 24 hours of pre-orders alone, Apple chalked up two million sales, twice the number for the iPhone 4S.
But as The Globe and Mail’s Omar El Akkad reports, the switchover to Apple’s iOS6, the new system for the iPhone and iPad, was not without its problems.
Notably, Apple ditched Google maps for its own, and had some trouble, well, finding its way.
Some of the popular Google features aren’t there, and there are some inaccuracies that sparked criticism yesterday.
Canada’s annual inflation rate dipped in August to 1.2 per cent, from 1.3 per cent a month earlier, as the price of women’s clothing slipped.
Prices rose, however, for cars, restaurant outings and, of course, gasoline.
Month over month, and seasonally adjusted, consumer prices rose 0.4 per cent, Statistics Canada said today, after three months of falling prices.
The annual so-called core rate, which excludes volatile items and helps guide the Bank of Canada, also slowed, to 1.6 per cent in August from 1.7 per cent.
Every category posted increases over the 12 months, but for clothing and footwear.
And that, noted the federal agency, was driven by lower prices for women’s clothes.
But, they always get you one way or another. Jewellery prices rose 4.2 per cent.
It's also worth noting that there's nothing here to push the Bank of Canada on interest rates.
"With core inflation tracking well below the Bank of Canada’s Q3 forecast, the housing market softening and the Fed stepping harder on the monetary accelerator, rate hikes in Canada remain at least a year away," said Robert Kavcic of BMO Nesbitt Burns.
- Kevin Carmichael's Economy Lab: Low inflation freezing Carney's trigger finger
- Canada's inflation rate dips, little interest rate pressure seen
Focus shifts to Chrysler
The crucial contract talks between the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Detroit Three auto makers are now down to just one.
As The Globe and Mail’s Greg Keenan reports, General Motors Co. and the union reached a deal late Thursday. Having already struck an agreement with Ford Motor Co., that leave just Chrysler Group LLC to go.
The deal came together after GM agreed to match the pattern contract set in talks with Ford.
GM also agreed to pump $675-million into its Canadian operations and give a doomed assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., one extra year of life.
The union is now looking for employment commitments from Chrysler.
Brazil eyes measures
Brazil is threatening to respond to what it calls a currency war with new measures that would hold down the strength of its currency.
Finance Minister Guido Mantega today responded to the actions of other central banks by warning he could tax some foreign capital, according to the Reuters news agency.
Brazil has done that in the past.
The Federal Reserve’s stimulus measures are seen as being negative for the U.S. dollar, while the Bank of Japan this week unveiled fresh action aimed partly at weakening the yen.
But Derek Holt and Dov Zigler of Bank of Nova Scotia said the U.S. central bank’s measures have not “debased” the greenback.
“Instead, the Latam political sport of blaming the U.S. for everything is alive and well it seems,” they said.
“Brazil’s challenges are partly related to soft growth abroad, but also to domestic policy,” they added in a research note today.
“This includes Brazilian monetary policy that was rapidly tightening last year and motivated weak growth this year, longstanding fiscal excesses, regulatory bottlenecks, and lax banking sector policies. If Brazil's criticisms of Fed policy are aimed at deflecting domestic debate away from domestic policies, that's unfortunate. It also does no good to the global economy to be fanning inflammatory hostilities in the form of threats of protectionism and currency manipulation.”
- Japan's stimulus sharpens risk of global currency clash
- Kevin Carmichael's Economy Lab: Will trade become the next economic stimulus?