As goes the housing market…

Ikea, the Swedish retail chain, warned today that the housing downturn is hitting sales of its flat-pack furniture and said it is scaling back some of its expansion plans. The world’s largest furniture retailer has suffered falls in like-for-like sales in some of its major markets, and warned the declines could spill over to othercontinue reading

Works for me

Canada continues to create jobs… of a sort. But, as TD highlights: …while private-sector employment makes up close to 65% of total employment and the public-sector just under 30% (with the remaining 5% self-employed) public-sector job growth has contributed close to 60% of total job growth in the last 12 months compared to just undercontinue reading

Broken rungs on the property ladder

How bad are things looking in Britain? Well, there’s the “mortgage famine” underway: The Bank of England’s gloomy outlook in its Credit Conditions survey follows a recent rush by banks to pull mortgage offers as they seek to conserve cash in the face of the credit crunch which has curbed their ability to raise wholesalecontinue reading

Same eggs, wrong basket?

There’s no question Ontario needs to move on from the auto sector, and we certainly have the people — more CFAs than any city in the world except New York, i.e., far more than are actually required in the world’s 15th largest financial hub. But is a time of great turmoil in the markets andcontinue reading

Alberta skeptics

Another Canadian housing bubble blog, this one more active. Calgary Real Estate Blog is written by a petroleum engineer and promises “quantative” analysis. That typo aside, the blog is clearly written, and features some nifty charts — check out the topic “Predicting Canadian recessions using financial variables”, for example. In other news, it seems I’mcontinue reading

The C-word

In the markets is capitulation. And it’s definitely underway now. Huge investment bank Bear Stearns to be sold to JP Morgan for nothing close to its Friday closing price of $30-ish per share, but for $2 per share. If there’s any reason it’s not just $1 per share, it’s not obvious. The only reason seemscontinue reading

Crunch, then squeeze

It sounds like an unpleasant exercise routine. But instead, it’s this move by some major British lenders, which sets new limits on mortgage borrowing in response to the crunch the banks themselves are facing: Borrowers with little or no equity in their homes face big increases in repayments when their existing deals end after Lloydscontinue reading

Jobs machine: running on fumes?

While other recent Canadian economic indicators have been weak, the February jobs numbers were strong. The fact that the figures didn’t mesh with economists’ expectations brought out the sarcasm: Craig Alexander, TD Bank: Clearly, one of two things will happen in the near term – either the Canadian economy is going to prove a lotcontinue reading

Dragging their feet

At 9 am yesterday, the Bank of Canada announced it was cutting the overnight rate by 50 basis points. Not one of the major banks announced it would adjust its prime rate until TD Bank broke the seal at 2:19 pm with an announcement that it would lower its prime rate. Announcements from the othercontinue reading