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Five ways (at least) that Calgary rules Canada

These are stories Report on Business is following Thursday, July 24, 2014.

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Five ways Calgary rules Canada
1. According to Statistics Canada yesterday, Calgary boasted the country's top median total family income in 2012, at $98,300, surpassing the Ottawa area, which held the 2011 crown but now stands at $94,230. Edmonton, at  $96,030, also bested Canada's capital.

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2. Calgary is projected to lead Canada's major cities in economic growth this year, at a pace of 3.4 per cent, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

3. The city's housing market is on fire: Home prices are rising faster than any other city in the country, up 8.1 per cent in June from a year earlier, according to the latest Teranet-National Bank home price index reading. And according to the Conference Board, Calgary will see housing starts climb markedly this year to 14,437 from just more than 12,500 last year.

4. Calgary shoppers are out in force, with retail sales expected to rise 5.4 per cent this year, also according to the Conference Board.

5. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Already, Calgary's jobless rate is just 5.4 per cent, not the lowest in the country, but close. The Conference Board, meanwhile, projects "solid employment growth" of an average 2.2 per cent a year from 2015 to 2018. And this from Douglas Porter, Bank of Montreal's chief economist, about the province in general: "Annual employment in the province is now 3.5 per cent year over year, or miles above the 0.4-per-cent year-over-year national rate. If Alberta is stripped out of the national total, there would have been no job growth in the past year."

The fast and the furious
Corporate results are flooding in fast and furious this morning, with major companies reporting on both sides of the border:

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan boosted its outlook for the year as its second-quarter profit slipped, though by less than forecast, to $472-million (U.S.), or 56 cents a share, diluted, from $643-million or 73 cents a year earlier.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. slumped to a loss of $456-million (Canadian,) or $1.13 a share, from a profit of $177-million or 63 cents, though revenue surged to $10.3-billion after its takeover of Shoppers Drug Mart.

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Rogers Communications Inc. posted a drop in profit to $405-million, or 76 cents, from $532-million or 93 cents. Net additions of lucrative post-paid users fell sharply to 38,000.

Energy giant Encana Corp. missed the estimates of analysts as both operating profit and net sank, the former to $171-million (U.S.), or 23 cents, and the latter to $271-million, or 37 cents.

Ford Motor Co. bested the analysts as profit rose to $1.3-billion (U.S.), or 32 cents, from $1.23-billion or 30 cents, and revenue edged down slightly to $37.4-billion.

General Motors Co., in turn, took it on the chin given the hit from its recalls and the projected hit from a compensation fund. Profit plunged to $190-million, or 11 cents, from $1.2-billion or 75 cents.

ECB hacked
There's something almost amusing in a demand from hackers for money from the European Central Bank.

As in, all the basket-case countries in the euro zone want money, so why not me, too.

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The ECB disclosed today that its website was hacked. While much of its material is encrypted, certain e-mail addresses and contact information was stolen.

No "market-sensitive" information was threatened, the central bank said.

"The database serves parts of the ECB website that gather registrations for events such as ECB conferences and visits," the institution said.

"It is physically separate from any ECB systems," it added in a statement.

"The theft came to light after an anonymous e-mail was sent to the ECB seeking financial compensation for the data. While most of the data were encrypted, parts of the database included e-mail addresses, some street addresses and phone numbers that were not encrypted. The database also contains data on downloads from the ECB website in encrypted form."

Authorities are investing, and anyone who's data was at threat has been contacted, and passwords changed.

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About the Author
Report on Business News Editor

Michael Babad is a Report on Business editor and co-author of three business books. He has been with Report on Business for several years, and has also been a reporter and editor at The Toronto Star, The Financial Post and United Press International. His articles have appeared in major newspapers around the world. More


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