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Just when it couldn't get worse at RIM ... it did

These are some of the major stories Report on Business followed this week. Get the top business stories on weekdays on BlackBerry or iPhone by bookmarking our mobile-friendly webpage.

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RIM sinks Just when it seemed it couldn't get worse at RIM, it did.

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Research In Motion Ltd. announced this week it expects to post an operating loss when it reports first-quarter results later this month, which will be followed by several troubling quarters.

The BlackBerry maker also said it hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and RBC Dominion Securities to help with its strategic review.

"The ongoing competitive environment is impacting our business in the form of lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace, and we expect our Q1 results to reflect this, and likely result in an operating loss for the quarter," said chief executive officer Thorsten Heins.

"We are continuing to be aggressive as we compete for our customers' business - both enterprise and consumer - around the world, and our teams are working hard to provide cost-competitive, feature-rich solutions to our global customer base."

Mr. Heins also warned that "our financial performance will continue to be challenging for the next few quarters."

He projected, though, that RIM's cash position would grow further from the more than $2-billion at the end of its last fiscal year.

Euro crisis deepens The crisis in the euro zone deepened further this week, churning the stomachs of investors who have put up with this for more than two years now.

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In the run-up to its mid-June election, poll results from Greece have set markets on edge, while the focus of the crisis in the 17-member monetary union shifted to Spain.

Amid its banking and other troubles, official data from its central bank showed more than €97-billion in capital fled the country in the first quarter of the year, sparking speculation of what's happening in the current quarter.

"I fear that unless Europe's leaders accept the need for debt mutualization - i.e., issuing debt in common either through the front door (euro bonds) or back-door (with the help of the ECB) the euro won't survive," said Kit Juckes, the chief of foreign exchange at Société Générale.

"But Europe's leaders are only going to react to crisis, not pre-empt it."

The euro crisis sent shivers through the markets this week, as it has done and promises to continue to do.

"May was a bleak month for global markets, and June hasn't got off to a much better start," said Chris Beauchamp of IG Index.

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"At least we don't have any more Greek polls to worry about, given that they're banned for the two weeks preceding an election, but Spain will most likely provide us with more than enough stress in the meantime. Britain might be about to enter a long weekend of celebration and partying, but the situation will probably still be bleak when we wake up again on Wednesday morning."

Markets slump on ugly news Global markets took it on the chin this week, hit not only by the euro zone crisis, but also by a weak jobs report in the United States and a soft manufacturing reading in China on Friday.

Adding everything up suggests the global recovery is being sapped.

The S&P 500 lost 3 per cent, and Toronto's S&P/TSX composite 1.9 per cent.

"While Canada is perceived as a relative safe haven with respect to sovereign debt and its banking system, the equity market is heavily exposed to the global growth prospects and commodity prices through its outsized weight in deep cyclicals," said Robert Kavcic of BMO Nesbitt Burns.

"Second quarter earnings results are now in the books in the bank sector, and cooler profit growth is the broad theme amid slower credit growth and tighter lending margins, not uncommon at this stage of the cycle."

CGI in huge deal Canada's CGI Group Inc. took a massive leap this week with a $2.8-billion deal for Logica PLC.

The IT services group has been concentrated in Canada and the United States, but will now have exposure to France, Britain, Sweden, parts of Central Europe, Australia, India, North Africa and East Asia.

The proposed acquisition would be the biggest in CGI's history, and would, according to chief executive officer Michael Roach, create the sixth-biggest IT services firm in the world.

Still, said founder Serge Godin, building the company is a "work in progress," rather than the "summit."

At the same time, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec agreed to pump $1-billion into the Montreal-based company.

Required reading this week The housing market is showing signs of life across the U.S., with existing home sales and the median price up about 10 per cent year-over-year, hitting levels not seen since the summer of 2010. Paul Waldie reports.

As growth slows in India, reforms stall and foreign investment rules are changed on the fly, one economist laments 'we've turned a dream run into a nightmare.' Stephanie Nolen reports from New Delhi.

Across Canada, a host of restaurateurs are proving there's life after the local KFC kicks the bucket, Sean Silcoff writes.

Phil White had more reason than most Canadians to cheer on Victoria cyclist Ryder Hesjedal's win in the prestigious Giro d'Italia road cycling race last weekend: His company, Cervélo SA, made the bicycle. Sean Silcoff reports.

Rogers Media Inc. wants to steal the venerable Hockey Night in Canada franchise from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Steve Ladurantaye writes.

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About the Author
Report on Business News Editor

Michael Babad is a Report on Business editor and co-author of three business books. He has been with Report on Business for several years, and has also been a reporter and editor at The Toronto Star, The Financial Post and United Press International. His articles have appeared in major newspapers around the world. More

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