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Investing Tips

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Small Business.

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Hedge funds have found it tough to make money this year trading bonds and currencies, but as 2017 brings to a close they seem to be relying upon a twin approach to put a shine on the amounts: U.S. yield curve flattening and dollar weakness.

If recent moves in Treasuries and the dollar are any guide, it is a winner. The U.S. yield curve is the flattest in more than a decade and the speed of flattening recently has been striking, while the dollar has dropped three consecutive weeks, its longest losing streak since July. read more

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Report on Small Business newsletter: How Canada’s opioid crisis is turning business owners to advocates

How Canada’s opioid crisis is turning business owners into advocates

Over the past year, Vancouver restaurant owner Brandon Grossutti has kept the anti-overdose drug Naloxone close at hand. Having run the chic Asian/French Pidgin Restaurant in the city’s Downtown Eastside since 2012, Mr. Grossutti is accustomed to ongoing and open drug use in the neighbourhood. But with the spread of the ultra-potent opioid fentanyl, the rate and severity of overdoses in the streets and alleys near his business has gone up significantly. read more

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What billionaire bond manager Bill Gross Believes about bitcoin

The limited supply of bitcoin may drive up its value for the time being, but also makes it an unlikely substitute for gold or currencies in times of financial distress, according to Bill Gross, the billionaire bond manager with Janus Henderson Group Plc..

“It isn’t really a currency alternative right now,” Gross said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Purchasing a bag of groceries at the supermarket will be somewhat difficult.”

Just 21 million bitcoins can be minted under the terms of the digital money, which saw its price spike to nearly $20,000 on Thursday. The cryptocurrency’s high volatility can also be a deterrent to its wide use as a store of value, according to Gross, who runs the $2.2 billion Janus Henderson Global Unconstrained Bond Fund. read more

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Bitcoin Fans should Recall that bubbles always burst

Sam Sivarajan is senior vice-president of riches alternatives at Great-West Life.

In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “It is déjà vu all over again.” Throughout human history, there have been bubbles in markets.

“Tulipmania” in the Netherlands in the 1600s saw, at its summit, one tulip bulb selling for 10 times the yearly wage of a skilled craftsman.

The South Sea bubble in England in the early 1700s was created after the British authorities gave out the rights to trade with South America to a single company. Frenzied trading of shares in the business, despite insignificant gains, resulted in a bubble that eventually burst and destroyed many. Even Sir Isaac Newton, arguably among the most brilliant minds the world has seen, lost cash in the bubble and ruefully commented, “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” read more

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A Toronto tax revolt pays off for downtown tenants

Back in August, Toronto furniture store owner John Anderson was shocked to learn that his taxes, maintenance and insurance costs were set to jump by $35,000 over the next year. As with a number of other little companies along Yonge Street, the land housing Mr. Anderson’s shop, Morningstar Trading, had seen its assessed value skyrocket, with nearby condominium growth driving up property costs.

During the next several weeks, a self-styled “tax revolt” by Yonge Street companies convinced the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. to reassess 84 possessions across the downtown strip in light of the region’s heritage designation. The $23-million evaluation for the building that houses Morningstar was scaled back to $10-million up from a $5-million evaluation in 2012), and Mr. Anderson now anticipates his costs for taxes, upkeep and insurance to increase by a more manageable $15,000. However, he worries that the reassessment success is only temporary repair. read more

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Five stock picks from a dividend Increase Supervisor

Where’s the Canadian dollar going? What about oil prices? And is the next leg in interest rates up or down?

Renato Anzovino is the first to admit he does not know. However, the director of the60-million Heward Canadian Dividend Growth Fund says his investment plan does not rely on making such forecasts. Instead, he attempts to identify companies that could thrive in almost any environment.

Among the first things he looks for is a steadily rising dividend. “That confirms to us that the underlying company is strong and the outlook going forward is positive,” Mr. Anzovino states. read more

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Toronto council to vote on Researching options for Real Estate tax relief for small business

Back in August, Toronto furniture store owner John Anderson was shocked to learn that his taxes, maintenance and insurance costs were set to jump from $35,000 over the next year. As with a number of other little companies along Yonge Street, the land housing Mr. Anderson’s shop, Morningstar Trading, had seen its assessed value skyrocket, with nearby condominium growth driving up property costs.

During the next several weeks, a self-styled “tax revolt” by Yonge Street companies convinced the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. to reassess 84 possessions across the downtown strip in light of the region’s heritage designation. The $23-million evaluation for the building that houses Morningstar was scaled back to $10-million up from a $5-million evaluation in 2012), and Mr. Anderson now anticipates his costs for taxes, upkeep and insurance to increase by a more manageable $15,000. However, he worries that the reassessment success is only temporary repair. read more

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The next big short: Hedge funds Ready to Exchange against bitcoin

A bitcoin large short is building.

The planned launch of bitcoin futures contracts at CME Group Inc., Cboe Global Markets Inc. and Nasdaq Inc. will make it far easier to bet on a decline. Hedge funds, which have mostly remained on the sidelines, are awaiting the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s futures market to start to get a fresh chance to wager against the cryptocurrency, based on more than a half dozen people trading the resources.

“The stocks decrease the frictions of moving short more than they do of going long, so it is probably net metering,” said Craig Pirrong, a business professor at the University of Houston. “Having this instrument which makes it easier to brief might keep the bitcoin cost a bit closer to reality.” read more

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Proposed tax changes miss the boat on financial security for all

Things have been fairly quiet in the media recently on the topic of the proposed tax changes introduced by the Liberals on July 18. The truth is, however, I am becoming e-mails daily from Canadians concerned about the changes coming.

To recap, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has made it clear that the government intends to proceed with two of the three proposals announced this summer. The modifications will penalize business owners that pay dividends to spouses and kids (that the government has called “income sprinkling”) who haven’t made clear and meaningful contributions to the enterprise. Secondly, the changes will punish business owners who make passive investment income over $50,000 annually in their own businesses. read more

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Harry Potter Places a curse on Barnes Noble, Stocks sink

Call it the curse of Harry Potter.

Shares in bookseller Barnes am Noble tumbled 12 percent Thursday after the company reported a sharp drop in quarterly earnings.

It said part of the attribute was that at exactly the same period last year, its earnings got a large boost by the launch of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. There was no similar hot seller in this year’s quarter.

The New York-based firm’s total sales dropped almost 8 percent in its fiscal second quarter that ended Oct. 28 in comparison to last year, fueling a reduction of $30.1-million. The company had a loss of $20.4-million in precisely the same quarter last year. read more

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