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business briefing

We're No. 1. Again

Given what everyone says about Canadians - that we apologize too much - let’s start by telling the Swiss that we’re so very sorry for bumping them out of top spot.

And for reclaiming what is rightfully ours: Bragging rights as the world’s most “reputable” country.

Rightfully ours because Canada led the Reputation Institute’s rankings for three years running, until Switzerland bumped us down a notch last year.

According to the group’s latest report, however, we’re back on top, meaning four for five since 2011.

The Reputation Institute polled more than 48,000 people on the questions of “effective government, appealing environment, and advanced economy.”

Rounding out the top 10 after Canada were Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium.

Canada scored high as a country to visit, and in which to live, work, study and invest. We’re also seen as “the top country in quality of life.”

We also didn’t have a crisis in Ukraine. Or get the bum’s rush from the markets.

As in, Russia’s reputation suffered, though Greece is climbing back after stumbling through crisis after crisis.

“When people perceive a country positively based on their direct experiences and through the lens of others, that translates into increased tourism dollars,” Reputation Institute managing partner Fernando Prado said in announcing the findings earlier this month.

So come to Vancouver, where your American dollar will buy you so much more now.

Or Calgary, where you can get that much bigger a house.

Or Toronto, where the world-famous Rob Ford isn’t mayor anymore.

Quote of the day

“The external environment remains challenging.”
BP CEO Bob Dudley

The earnings parade

Corporate earnings are pouring in again today, with investors awaiting the latest quarterly report from Twitter Inc. after markets closed.

Among the biggies, BP PLC posted a slump for a second quarter that included a whopping $10.8-billion (U.S.) hit from the Deepwater Horizon disaster of a few years ago.

There was also a hit from its Libya operations and, of course, the ongoing rout in the oil market.

“BP shares are trading higher after quarterly results on Tuesday, so that could be a catalyst from a recovery amongst U.S. energy companies,” said analyst Jasper Lawler of CMC Markets.

“Oil stocks especially have been worst performers during the fallout in China that stoked fears of slowing commodity demand.”

Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, topped the estimates of analysts with a quarterly profit of $1.89-billion or 47 cents a share.

In Canada, WestJet Airlines Ltd. recorded a hefty jump in second-quarter profit, to $61.6-million (Canadian) or 49 cents a share from $51.8 million or 40 cents a year earlier.

Twitter will be in the spotlight later, and remember that former chief executive officer Dick Costello is now gone.

“Interim CEO and company co-founder Jack Dorsey is unlikely to have been able to institute any big turnaround in user growth and engagement since Costello’s exit,” said CMC’s Mr. Lawler.

“This is reflected in the relatively weak expectations for revenue and profit growth,” he added. “... The benefit of low expectations, however, is that it makes a beat easier.”