/Posthaste: Apple’s real news today, Ford cut to junk and the problem with Canadians’ job skills

Posthaste: Apple’s real news today, Ford cut to junk and the problem with Canadians’ job skills

Good morning!

Big day for Apple, but for once (in the past 10 years anyway) the iPhone may not hold centre stage this year. The phone’s upgrade is expected to include new camera features but not any major changes. The real news may be the announcement of pricing for its forthcoming streaming TV service as the tech giant shifts its focus from hardware to services. Wall Street will be watching.

Sign of the times? Moody’s Investors Service has cut Ford Motor Co.’s credit rating to junk — a blow to one of the largest corporate bond issuers in the U.S. outside of the financial sector. The rating agency has doubts whether CEO Jim Hackett can turn the company around quickly enough and see earnings remaining weak over the next two years. “It’s a pretty precarious situation that they’re in,” Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist of Cox Automotive, told Bloomberg. “When a company gets a junk status rating, it will mean they have to pay a higher interest rate and it means a lot of institutional investors will have to think twice.” Last time Ford, along with GM, was cut to junk was in 2005, leading into the financial crisis.

And according to a new study by the C.D. Howe Institute a large number (13%) of Canadians are either over-skilled or under-skilled for their job, a problem bound to get worse as technology advances and the population ages. While that is close to the average for OECD countries (10%), C.D. Howe researchers say it is especially troubling in Canada because of the significant variation across socioeconomic groups. Workers with higher education are more likely to be over-skilled and women, immigrants, and older workers are more likely to be under-skilled.

Here’s what’s you need to know this morning:

  • Barclays holds its annual Global Financial Services Conference in New York. Notable executives presenting include Manulife Financial’s chief executive officer Roy Gori, BMO Financial Group’s chief financial officer Tom Flynn and RBC’s chief financial officer Rod Bolger
  • Apple holds product launch in Cupertino, California at 1 p.m. ET
  • Statistics Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada hold a panel talk in Ottawa as part of the Canada 4.0 initiative, which aims to develop a roadmap to better measure our digital economy
  • Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speak at the Oil Sands Conference & Trade Show in Fort McMurray, Alberta
  • Finance Minister Carole James will provide an update in Victoria on B.C.’s fiscal outlook
  • Husky Energy CFO Jeff Hart will participate at the Peters & Co. Energy Conference in Toronto
  • Court hearing held in Halifax regarding bid to move Quadriga bankruptcy proceedings to Toronto.
  • Manitoba election
  • Athabasca Oil president Robert Broen discusses in Surrey, B.C. the roles Canadian energy products play in the global economy and meeting growing global energy needs.
  • Today’s data: Canadian building permits, Canadian housing starts

Family businesses were directly responsible for about $574.6 billion in goods and services produced in 2017, or more than 35 per cent of Canada’s real gross domestic product and 48.9 per cent of its private-sector output, says a new report from the Conference Board of Canada and the Family Enterprise Xchange Foundation.

Family businesses directly employed 6.9 million people in 2017, or 46.9 per cent of all private-sector positions and 37.4 per cent of all jobs.

“The analysis shows that, although conventional wisdom suggests small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the economy, it is more accurate to assign this function to family enterprises,” the report says.


— Please send your news, comments and stories to [email protected]. — Pamela Heaven @pamheaven

With files from The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg


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