Some economic news to report this morning with the Germany economy surprisingly contracting in the fourth quarter on the continuing woes of the region. The German economy is the strongest of in the region and most are predicting it will be the first to bounce back later in the year. Euro markets are off about a point on the news.
The news out of the US however is stronger as Retail Sales advanced in December greater than expected increasing 0.5% vs. 0.2% estimated. November was also revised higher. The good news however is not moving futures higher as they are trading down currently by about a half a point on continued concern over the debt ceiling and appropriations bills that are required to be passed in the next couple of months.
Gold is trading higher on the news by about 1% while oil is off about a quarter point.
In Canada, more news on the real estate market as existing home sales fell 0.5% in December. While the number is negative, December is usually a quiet month in the industry with the holiday season. More importantly, Average Home Prices in Canada, year over year were down 1.1% and for December down 1.6%. The trend continues.
In earnings news, Corus Entertainment beat estimates, but reported lower revenues for Q4.
EnCana Corp the big Natural Gas company has come out and stated that it is not for sale on the heals of the retirement of the CEO this week.
As I mentioned yesterday the Nortel criminal ruling was to be released and it was exonerating the three former executives charged with financial misrepresentation. The decision was met with very different views but for the most part surprise was the dominant reaction. We shall see how the money is distributed at the end of the week.
Lastly, it would seem that the communications sector is heating up again as Shaw and Rogers are swapping some properties in various markets which may suggest that possible deal could be in the works down the road. The BCE Astral deal which is still in committee discussion is causing the entire media group in Canada to look at consolidation.
Kenneth A. Dick, BA, CIM, CFP, FCSI