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Google offices in Beijing (ELIZABETH DALZIEL)
Google offices in Beijing (ELIZABETH DALZIEL)

Midday Business Briefing

Why analysts don't believe Google will pull out of China Add to ...

Stories Report on Business is following today :

Leaving China would cost Google long term

Any decision by Google Inc. to get out of China would cost the Internet search giant in the long run, though it would, of course, be praised on the ethics front. Google threatened yesterday to pull out of China, citing a "highly sophisticated" cyber attack on its e-mail service it believed was aimed at human rights activists. Google also said it would begin defining censorship restrictions.

A move by Google to actually cease operations in China, where it is not the leader among search engines, would give local competitors, and companies such as Microsoft Corp. a leg up just as the Chinese market is surging. But some analysts think Google's announcement yesterday was really aimed at setting the stage for talks with the government. "We believe Google will probably stay as China is a vital market," one analyst said in a research note, according to Reuters. "Any China Internet veteran understands the need to work within the system and the Chinese preference for gradual change."

Read:

Google threat a rare show of defiance



Google threatens to pull out of China



Magna expects sales growth

Magna International Inc. met analysts' estimates for its 2010 outlook of $19.5-billion (U.S.) to $20.5-billion in sales. The auto parts giant also projected that its average dollar content per vehicle, or CPV, a key measure, will be between $895 and $925 in North America and $545 to $570 in Europe. "We would highlight the high quality of the guidance underpinned by solid CPV," UBS Securities Canada analyst Fadi Chamoun, who yesterday raised the 12-month price target on Magna stock to $73, said in a research note this morning. "... Following extensive restructuring (primarily in North America), we believe Magna is well positioned to capitalize on the recovery in demand for light vehicles through higher CPV." Read the story



Cogeco, Cogeco Cable boost targets

Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Cable Inc. have raised financial targets for the year. The main cable business today posted a strong first-quarter profit of $56.7-million or $1.16 a share, well up from $22.9-million or 47 cents a year earlier. Revenue jumped to $317-million from $299-million. Both profit and revenue were above analysts' projections. Cogeco Cable now projects 2010 profit of $125-million and revenue of $1.29-billion, better than the previous forecast of $80-million and $1.25-billion. Read the story



Bank chiefs testify at crisis commission

The chiefs of several major U.S. banks testified this morning to a commission studying the causes of the financial crisis, saying they understand the anger among Americans but defending their controversial pay schemes. Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., told the panel most of his staff took hefty cuts last year and people would be paid in a "disciplined" manner. Morgan Stanley chairman John Mack said the crisis was "a powerful wake-up call." Read the story



Obama to outline bank fee plan

U.S. President Barack Obama is now expected to announce his plans for a bank fee tomorrow morning. The administration has angered the financial sector with a proposal for a levy on major financial institutions that would raise up to $120-billion (U.S.).

Read:

Obama to announce levy on banks



Wall Street unhappy about 'revenge tax'



Investors await Beige Book

Markets are awaiting the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book at 2 p.m. ET today for more signs of how the U.S. economy was performing late last year. The report is anecdotal in nature, gathered from the Federal Reserve banks across the country. "Given that most of the data will have been collected on or before around Jan. 4, 2010, we will get an idea of how consumer spending and discounting turned out during the holidays," Scotia Capital said this morning. "… We should also get a better sense of job conditions during the holidays and coming out of 2009 as well as wages and prices. Overall, we are looking for a more upbeat Beige Book than the last one released on Dec. 2 as more districts report a pickup in activity or improving economic conditions."



How Germany's economy slumped

It's all so last year at this point, but for the record: Germany's economy shrank by a record 5 per cent last year as exports slumped. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is now well on its way to recovery, and a government official told the Reuters news agency the country will raise its 2010 growth forecast to about 1.5 per cent from 1.2 per cent. Read the story



New chief for JAL

Japan Airlines has a new chief executive officer who is likely to lead the embattled airline into an expected bankruptcy filing. Kazuo Inamori, who founded Kyocera Corp., is taking over the top spot at the airline, which is saddled with $16-billion (U.S.) in debt. Reports from Tokyo say JAL will probably file for bankruptcy as early as next week, with plans to thousands of jobs and several routes.



From today's Report on Business

Luxury retailers find new ways to woo the well-heeled



Overcapacity woes stalk auto makers



Suncor further delays Fort Hills project



Meet Apple's sole skeptic

Follow on Twitter: @michaelbabad

 
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