Skip to main content
business briefing

These are stories Report on Business is following Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Follow Michael Babad and The Globe's Business Briefing on Twitter.

Endangered species
A new report today from CareerCast suggests paper is not where you want to be.

It's a U.S. study, and Canada is different in many respects, of course, but here are the group's 10 "most endangered" American jobs, based partly on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics findings:

1. Mail carrier: The hiring outlook for this group suggests a 28-per-cent decline by 2022. (We're already seeing some of this in Canada with the phased-in end of door-to-door delivery.)

2. Farmer: Not a paper-based profession, but a 19-per-cent drop in the hiring outlook, nonetheless, given the change in technology.

3. Meter reader: Again, no paper here, but technology suggests a decline of 19 per cent.

4. Newspaper reporter: The 13-per-cent drop in the hiring outlook obviously isn't tops on my list, but I've added the italics for emphasis. And, anyway, you're reading this on a PC or wireless device.

5. Travel agent: Well, if you're a mail carrier, farmer, meter reader or newspaper reporter, you're probably not heading off anywhere expensive, and, thus, the projected 12-per-cent decline.

6. Lumberjack: This is Canada, and we're hewers of wood. So, too, are the Americans, but the hiring outlook suggests a dip of 9 per cent.

7. Flight attendant: See "travel agent," and you'll get the 7-per-cent dip.

8. Drill-press operator: The "press" part doesn't mean paper, but expect a 6-per-cent decline anyway.

9. Printing worker: See "mail carrier," "newspaper reporter" and "lumberjack." The hiring outlook calls for a decline of 5 per cent.

10. Tax examiner and collector: This is Canada, the land of milk and taxes, so the projected 4-per-cent drop couldn't possibly apply here.

Late-breaking news

Yellen wary of 'false dawns'
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen acknowledged today that the U.S. economy is getting stronger, but said she continues to believe higher interest rates in the short term would knock it off course.

"Although the economy continues to improve, the recovery is not yet complete," Ms. Yellen said in opening remarks at the Senate Banking Committee.

That assessment confirms Wall Street's view of Fed policy, our Washington correspondent Kevin Carmichael writes.

Ms. Yellen's comments on the valuation of certain stocks also rippled through markets.

Most investors anticipate the U.S. central bank will leave its benchmark interest rate pinned near zero until well into next year to avoid undoing years of trying to coax the world's largest economy back to life. In response to questions, Ms. Yellen said she was wary of the "false dawns" that have characterized the U.S. rebound from the Great Recession.

Ms. Yellen observed that payrolls are growing at a faster pace than they were a year ago and that the unemployment rate – now at 6.1 per cent – is falling quickly. However, the jobless rate still is higher than what the Fed thinks is achievable without stoking inflation, and the participation rate "appears weaker than one would expect based on the aging population and the level of unemployment," she said.

Up in smoke
Two of America's big tobacco producers are getting together to better fight the Marlboro Man.

Reynolds American Inc., known for its Camel cigarettes, among others, struck a $27.4-billion (U.S.) deal today for Lorillard Inc., which makes the Newport brand.

The cash-and-stock takeover is valued at $68.88 a share.

RAI is also selling to Imperial its Kool, Salem, Winston and blu eCig brands for $7.1-billion.

Altria, manufacturing of the Marlboro brand, remains the biggest.

British inflation speeds up
Faster-than-expected inflation is increasing talk of an interest rate hike in Britain.

The annual pace of inflation rose in June to 1.9 per cent, compared to 1.5 per cent a month earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics today.

"If we see another heated CPI report next month, this could change the call for the BoE," said senior economist Jennifer Lee of BMO Nesbitt Burns.

"To add fuel to the flame, the ONS reported that house price inflation jumped 10.5 per cent year over year, the fastest increase in four years."

Home sales, prices up
Canada's housing market continues to bounce off a slow winter, with sales and prices up markedly in June from a year earlier.

Sales across the country rose 0.8 per cent in June from May, and 11.2 per cent from a year earlier, The Globe and Mail's Tara Perkins reports.

The average price rose 6.9 per cent from June 2013, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, while the MLS home price index, which is deemed a better measure, showed prices up 5.4 per cent.

"Sales have improved compared to their slower start earlier this year," said Beth Crosbie, chief of the realtors group.

Goldman, JPMorgan shares rise
Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. pushed higher today after the two Wall Street powerhouses posted second-quarter results that bested the estimates of analysts.

Goldman Sachs shares were up 1.6 per cent, and JPMorgan's stock was up 2.9 per cent, with less than 30 minutes to go before the New York open.

Goldman Sachs posted a profit of $2.04-billion (U.S.), or $4.10 a share, up from $1.93-billion or $3.70 a year earlier.

JPMorgan's profit slipped to $6-billion (U.S.), or $1.46 a share, from $6.5-billion or $1.60 a year earlier.

Streetwise (for subscribers)

Real estate

ROB Insight (for subscribers)

Business ticker

Report an error

Editorial code of conduct

Tickers mentioned in this story