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Required reading: Five essential stories of the week

Todd Stottlemyre

Hans Deryk/Hans Deryk/CP

Each week, Report on Business editors choose five stories that shouldn't be missed. Here are the 'must reads' for the week of March 15, 2010.

Buy Canada

About two weeks ago, Paul Brain decided the time had come to bet on Canada. From his perch in London, Mr. Brain had weighed the step for months. Attracted by the country's comparative fiscal rectitude, he was looking for signals of economic strength to emanate from the bond market. Once that happened, he and his team - who manage about $6-billion (U.S.) at Newton, an arm of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. - began plotting their move. The object of their desire: the Canadian dollar. In a worldwide index that many global bond managers use as a benchmark, exposure to the currency is capped at about 1.5 per cent of the total. Mr. Brain doubled that figure and is looking to add even more. He is one of a growing number of investors, including the world's largest bond manager, who see much to love north of the 49th parallel, particularly when compared to the neighbour to the south.

How Captain High Liner beat the dollar odds

On the surface, Henry Demone's story sounds dismayingly familiar. His fish processing business in Nova Scotia is acutely exposed to the high-flying Canadian dollar. But don't expect another woe-is-me lament from a Canadian manufacturer blindsided by the soaring loonie. The dollar's rise is, in fact, a shot in the arm for Mr. Demone's company, High Liner Foods Inc., which buys its raw fish on world markets denominated in depressed U.S. greenbacks. "We have had a little bit of luck with the dollar," Mr. Demone said from his office on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in Lunenburg, N.S. That's an understatement. . .

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Time between jobs longer than it used to be

Aaron MacMullin started his job search last September, confident that a master's degree and a willingness to move thousands of kilometres would easily land him work. Six months and 200 résumés later, he's still looking. The unemployment rate is falling, the economy is creating some jobs and most companies have ceased mass layoffs. But beneath those improving headline statistics lies a troubling fact: A growing number of Canada's 1.5 million jobless are struggling to get back into the labour market. Mr. MacMullin, whose degree is in political science, is one of about 309,000 Canadians who have now been jobless for more than six months, according to a little-watched aspect of Statistics Canada's labour force survey.

Stottlemyre has a pitch for you

Toronto Blue Jays fans remember him for his face-first belly flop into third base during the 1993 World Series. But former major leaguer Todd Stottlemyre is making a play of a different sort now: He wants to sell you long-distance plans, cellphone service and a home security system. More importantly, he wants Canadians to join his network at ACN, a multi-level marketing company that promises an ongoing stream of commissions for members who manage to convince friends and associates to buy telecom services through them from companies such as Telus Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

Kit Kat spat goes viral despite Nestlé's efforts

Now you see it, now you don't. Wait: Now you do. A global game of Whack-a-Mole broke out Wednesday on the Internet when YouTube removed a gruesome anti-Nestlé commercial by Greenpeace after the multinational food giant complained, only to have viewers flock to the video-sharing site, where the spot became an instant cause célèbre because of the reputed censorship.

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