Here are our editors’ picks of some of the best reads of the week. (The articles are available to Globe Unlimited subscribers only.)
Who wouldn’t take pride in the opening of a gorgeous new skyscraper gracing the city’s streets? Calgary’s Bow building made its debut last year to much fanfare, and there are plans afoot to reach even further into the sky with a project just a few blocks away. But while the corks are popping, have a thought for something called the “skyscraper index,” says David Parkinson in ROB Insight. It’s not exactly scientific, but the gist of the thing is that the world’s tallest buildings are erected just as a boom cycle is exhausted. With the province’s real GDP on a downward trajectory, energy giants slashing spending, and non-residential building permits down, it looks like there may well be leaner times ahead for Albertans.
A lesson learned from Teachers
AIC founder Michael Lee-Chin has taken a cue from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the CPP Investment Board for his newest venture. Streetwise’s Jacqueline Nelson explains how asset manager Mandeville Holdings aims to align retail investors’ portfolios more closely with the big pension funds by adding private-equity investments. His inspiration is the kind of double-digit advances both funds enjoyed in their fiscal 2011 years – while the TSX Total Return index lost 8.5 per cent that year.
As world’s factory cogs turn, so goes the TSX
It’s not exactly a secret that Canadian stocks are at the mercy of changes in global growth and the vagaries of commodities demand. But it’s a bit scary to realize how shackled they’ve been to global manufacturing activity in the post-crisis era, Scott Barlow writes in ROB Insight.
REITs “R” Us
And so the great Canadian retail REIT spree continues. This week, it was Canadian Tire that stepped up to the plate, following in the steps of Loblaw and Sobeys, with stripey-blanket seller Hudson’s Bay rumoured to be on deck. But don’t get too excited, cautions Tim Kiladze in Streetwise , because not all REITs are created equal. That said, Canadian Tire is one of the quality names that will likely draw a lot of interest from the markets.
Boom, boom, out go the markets
While economic malaise has driven U.S. jobless rates up and labour force participation rates down, an overlooked factor in all this has been the growing cohorts of baby boomers retiring, Sean Silcoff explains in ROB Insight . If the labour force continues to shrink as expected, a lower unemployment rate and upward pressure on wages would drive inflation and cut into corporate profits. Either scenario could prompt the Fed to bring its monetary stimulus to an end earlier than envisaged. And the first thing that will feel the pain: stock prices.