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Scott Barlow

A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the World Wide Web.

Deutsche Bank research published a list of the biggest risks to the global economy and I pretty much agree with it completely. The problem is that the list could also be re-titled, "topics Scott has written about and gotten no interest whatsoever from Report on Business readers." This is particularly true of "hard landing in China" as, despite the fact Chinese growth still drives global commodity prices, Canadian investors have completely stopped following the world's second largest economy.

Compounding my confusion is the big success (in terms of Web traffic) of Clare O'Hara's ROB story "Why wealthier Canadians are holding a big chunk of their assets in cash" on Tuesday. On one hand the popularity of the subject is understandable in light of the fact that prominent portfolio managers have recently moved heavily into cash. But wealthier investors always hold more cash because they're concerned more about preservation of capital than portfolio growth.

Columns about dividend stocks are really the only "sure thing" left in terms of reader interest. The stability of the oil price has even depressed interest in the energy sector. Keeping in mind I focus on global and Canadian asset market changes and not personal finance, what are reader suggestions about most important topics?

"Downside Risks" – Deutsche Bank /Twitter

"Why wealthier Canadians are holding a big chunk of their assets in cash" – O'Hara, Report on Business

" 'It's time to hold physical cash,' says one of Britain's most senior fund managers" – Telegraph U.K.

"Major U.S. money manager braces for bond-market collapse" – Report on Business

Canadian economists, particularly those employed by *cough* bank-owned firms, have been much more confident in the domestic housing market than homeowners themselves. BMO's Doug Porter tackled the issue head-on in a report yesterday:

" 'What makes this recent period of relative calm between [Canadian and U.S. home] markets so notable is that Canadian prices took about a 60-per-cent step ahead of U.S. prices in a six-year span from 2006-2012,' Mr. Porter said … 'It's this gap that – to this day – has so many calling for a deep correction in Canada.' "

"Why many fear a 'deep correction' in Canada's housing market" – Babad, Report on Business

A lurid Bloomberg story comparing Ontario's cottage country, Muskoka, to the excessive hedge fund manager playground of the Hamptons (and the Cote D'Azur) is further evidence of why I usually prefer that global media ignore Canada:

" 'When I boat, I see what's going up and it's pretty impressive,' said [David] Cynamon, a former co-owner of the Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League team and founder of KIK Custom Products, one of North America's largest independent manufacturers of consumer packaged goods. 'I don't even think you can get on Lake Jo anymore for a million dollars, unless you're literally in a tent.' "

"Canada Has a Hamptons and It's Booming" – Bloomberg

The Wall Street Journal threw some cold water on Blackberry Inc.'s financial results by arguing that the strength in software-related revenue is not sustainable:

"The company missed Wall Street's targets in every area except for that key software category. This came in at $137-million for the quarter; analysts were expecting about $83-million.

Beating the Street by 65 per cent is normally cause for cheer. But any joy was short-lived and the stock fell. An unexpected boost to software revenue came from newly signed patent-licensing deals with Cisco Systems and another company that BlackBerry declined to name, citing confidentiality agreements."

As I mentioned yesterday, Blackberry's future success is likely tied to the expansion of its secure, hacker-resistant network.

"Cracking BlackBerry's Software Code" – Bloomberg

Long-term financial pundit Harry Dent predicted that the oil price is about to fall to between $10 and $20 per barrel. I don't find the estimate overly credible, which is why, while noteworthy, it's at the end of today's links post.

"HARRY DENT: Oil will fall to '$10 or $20' " – Business Insider

Tweet of the day: "@michaelsantoli I'll listen to you saying 'Greece doesn't matter for stocks,' but not if you also tell me $NFLX up $17 on a stock split makes perfect sense." – Twitter

Diversion: Amid all the worldwide political stupidity, it's nice to be reminded that smart people are developing very useful things at the same time:

"A chip that mimics human organs is the design of the year" – Wired