Here are our editors’ picks of some of the best reads of the week. (The articles are available to Globe Unlimited subscribers only.)
Psst, buddy, wanna buy some cheap Roquefort?
Canadian dairy producers are having a cow over tactics used by a pizza cheese supplier to get around the rules. In order to skirt astronomic tariffs on imports, they’re bringing in the mozzarella together with pepperoni as “a packaged pizza topping food preparation.” The Canadian International Trade Tribunal has yet to rule, writes Sean Silcoff in ROB Insight, but a win by J. Cheese Inc. could help to undermine a system that sees Canadian consumers paying far more for dairy products than their American cousins.
Not a very happy anniversary for Barrick
Barrick Gold’s stock is now trading for less than it did a decade ago, when bullion was trading at less than a quarter of its current price. That may be a bit like comparing apples to oranges, Tim Kiladze says in Streetwise, because Barrick hadn’t yet bought Placer Dome or acquired Equinox Minerals to become a player in copper. Still, for buy-and-hold investors, it’s a depressing 10th anniversary approaching next month.
Unfilled orders data may signal big GDP boost
Statscan’s manufacturing report for February encouragingly revealed the biggest month-to-month gain since mid-2011 with a 2.6-per-cent increase, suggesting to some economists that GDP may have expanded by 0.3 per cent for the month alone. But growth could find further fuel, David Parkinson explains in ROB Insight, from the data on unfilled orders, which rose to a massive $69.6-billion – the biggest backlog of unfilled orders in history and a 13-per-cent gain from a year earlier.
Gluskin Sheff founders sold down positions
Gluskin Sheff + Associates have decided against a sale for now, but the company’s co-founders have been quietly cashing in their shares since the company’s IPO in 2006. In doing so, Ira Gluskin and Gerald Sheff ensured they wouldn’t find themselves beholden to the terms put forward by any bidders who came their way, writes Tim Kiladze in Streetwise.
Commodity slide could drag down home values
The correlation between commodity and home prices is by no means perfect, but major producers Canada and Australia are two of few developed nations whose property markets have not seen corrections since the financial crisis, Scott Barlow points out in ROB Insight. Job losses in energy and mining would ripple through to the financial sector and also hit heavy equipment manufacturers and oil-field service providers. Rising unemployment and debt levels would then weigh on what has been a gravity-defying housing market.