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(THOMAS HODEL/REUTERS)
(THOMAS HODEL/REUTERS)

The Week’s Highlights

Will that be cash, or Facebank? Add to ...

Every day ROB Insight delivers exclusive analysis on breaking business news and market-moving events. Streetwise offers news and analysis on Bay Street and the world of finance. Inside the Market delivers up-to-the-minute insights on market news as it develops.

Here are our editors’ picks of some of the best reads available to Globe Unlimited subscribers this week.

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Banking on social media

It seems everything comes down to money in the end. One of the world’s biggest social media players has applied for, and received permission from, the Bank Of Ireland to become an e-money institution. Users of Dublin-based Facebook will be allowed to hold money on account, make payments and transfer funds to others. While its tech and media rivals launch modest payment systems of their own, Facebook’s global user base of 1.2 billion people offer the company the potential to become a massive presence in the retail financial services space, writes Carl Mortished in ROB Insight.

Another kick at the Potash can?

Murmurs in the fertilizer industry are growing that BHP Billiton may take another run at Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. There’s nothing official, but it’s no secret the Australian miner would still dearly love to acquire the company after its 2010 bid crumpled in the face of opposition from governments and Potash Corp. itself. But fast forward four years, and the picture looks very different. Boyd Erman explains in Streetwise how changing leadership and shifts in both miners’ corporate images in the province may make a takeover bid much more palatable this time around.

Top low-cost ETFs for an RESP

A few weeks back, Gordon Pape outlined some investing strategies for Registered Education Savings Plans, using mutual funds as an example. After discovering there’s a whole lot of mutual fund haters out there, in Inside the Market Mr. Pape took another crack at RESP strategies using exchange-traded funds. He suggests specific funds and weightings for three different stages of your little scholar’s education.

Big challenges for Big Tobacco

Growth in emerging markets was supposed to offset Big Tobacco’s waning fortunes in the developed world, but it hasn’t been going to plan. And that’s taking the wind out of the sails of the industry’s long-time value proposition: strong cash flows, steady profit growth and healthy dividends. In ROB Insight, Brian Milner examines the fortunes of the biggest players and their prospects for righting the ship.

Don’t fear the shale oil: BOC

Since U.S. supply of shale oil came online fears have grown that Canada’s oil sands could be sideswiped. Higher labour and capital costs make Canadian production appear less attractive, and a presidential veto of the Keystone XL pipeline threatens to landlock much of Canada’s heavy oil. But a new Bank of Canada report suggests the outlook isn’t so grim. In Streetwise, Tim Kiladze examines the market forces at work that are supporting the oil sands despite the surge of shale oil.

Cashing in on China’s rush to the mall

Owners of Canadian resource stocks have done well from the China’s industrial and infrastructure boom, but their fortunes are decidedly less bright as the brakes are applied to the country’s economy. Retail spending offers one bright spot, with double-digit growth blowing past forecasts. And it’s only likely to get better with the government’s plan to “make consumption provide greater support for economic development.” In Inside the Market, Scott Barlow looks at the trends in wages and consumer spending and points to a few of the stocks likely to benefit.

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