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These are stories Report on Business is following Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013.

Follow Michael Babad and The Globe's Business Briefing on Twitter. (Note: Michael Babad will return in September)

Parents delaying retirement to help children pay for education

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A poll commissioned by CIBC says many Canadian parents are delaying their retirement and taking on debt to help put their children through school.

Of 1,000 Canadian parents with kids under 25 surveyed by Leger Marketing, 36 per cent said they've had to postpone their retirement due to their children's post-secondary education costs.

Within that group, 19 per cent were planning to put off retirement by more than five years.

A third of respondents said they have taken on additional debt to help pay for their kids' tuition and other expenses.

"Many Canadians are focused on building retirement savings or reducing debt, but the costs you can incur when helping your children with college or university can impact both of those goals," said Christina Kramer, an executive vice-president at CIBC.

"The expenses associated with a child's education often come when parents are in their 40s and 50s and are looking to accelerate retirement savings. This means some parents will need more working years to close the gap created by the costs of their child's education."

Kramer says the earlier parents can start planning for their kids' education, the better. She recommends working with a financial adviser, managing debt effectively and using a Registered Education Savings Plan, or RESP, to build up savings.

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"It can be a challenge for parents who are trying to turn the corner on their own debt to borrow more to help pay for tuition bills, which is why it's so important to talk to an adviser and build education costs into your long-term plan when you still have time on your side and pay down other debts."

Leger surveyed 1,000 Canadians online between June 9 and June 12. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

The Canadian Press

Barrick to sell Australian mines

Barrick Gold Corp. says it will sell three Western Australia mines to South Africa's Gold Fields Ltd. for $300-million.

The Yilgarn Soun assets produced a total of 452,000 ounces of gold in 2012 and about 196,000 ounces in the first six months of this year.

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"The agreement to divest Yilgarn South demonstrates further progress as we work to optimize the company's portfolio and maximize free cash flow in line with our disciplined approach to capital allocation," Jamie Sokalsky, Barrick's president and CEO, said in a statement.

Read the full story here: Barrick to sell 3 mines in Australia to Gold Fields for $300-million

China's manufacturing sector shows growth

The latest reading on China's factory sector offered some encouragement to world markets on Thursday.

The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index jumped to 50.1 in August, a four-month high.

The report suggested a turnaround in new orders and followed a reading of 47.7 a month earlier.

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The figures helped boost markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 48 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 14,946 by early afternoon..

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 11 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 1,653. The Nasdaq composite gained 33 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 3,633.

The TSX/S&P composite index was up 95.90 points or 0.76 per cent at 12,668.98.

"This morning's rally in risk assets is largely as a result of better than expected manufacturing data out of China that has given cyclical names a boost and called into question a lot of negativity around Chinese growth forecasts we've seen over the past weeks," Matt Basi, head of U.K. sales trading at CMC Markets U.K., said in a morning note.

"That said, one swallow doesn't make a spring so the market will be keeping a close eye on numbers out of Beijing before getting excited enough to forget its QE concerns."

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Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed higher after investors found little guidance in the Federal Reserve's minutes from its July meeting.

"The reality is that we're none the wiser for last night's minutes and as such we're likely to endure further weeks of tired speculation ahead of Mr Bernanke's press conference following the September FOMC meeting," Mr. Basi noted.

Read the full story: Upbeat factory data suggest China may yet avert debt disaster

Euro zone private sector grows

Business activity across the euro zone advanced this month at a faster-than-expected pace, Reuters reported.

The Markit's Fash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) jumped to 51.7 from 50.5 in July.

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The August reading was the highest since 2001.

Read the full story: Euro zone private sector growth beats forecasts

Retail earnings keep coming

U.S.-based retailer Sears Holdings Corp. reported a wider quarterly loss on weaker sales.

The company's net loss grew to $194-million (U.S.), or $1.83 a share, from $132-million, or $1.25 a share in the same period a year earlier. Excluding gains on the sale of certain assets and other items, the loss was $1.46 a share, Sears said.

A day earlier, Sears Canada Inc. reported a 9.6-per-cent decline in revenue as it hit the half-way point in its turnaround effort. Same store-sales for the Canadian unit fell 2.5 per cent.

Read the full story here: Sears loss widens on tepid sales

From Thursday's Report on Business:

With Reuters, The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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