Slowed by high interest rates, the nation’s gross domestic product inched upwards by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 1990. Statistics Canada said that much of the growth was due to higher-than-expected auto production. The increase was only half the 0.4-per-cent rise in the fourth quarter of 1989.
BELZBERGS ABANDON BID
Vancouver’s Belzberg family withdrew its hostile takeover bid for Lancaster, Pennbased furniture manufacturer Armstrong World Industries Inc., selling its 11.7-per-cent stake in the company at a loss of about $20 million. Last month, the Belzbergs lost a bitter proxy battle for control of Armstrong’s board of directors.
BANK RATE DOWN, DOLLAR UP
Optimism among international investors about the outcome of Canada’s constitutional crisis allowed the Bank of Canada to lower its trendsetting rate to 13.92 per cent from 14.05 per cent the previous week. Despite the lower rate, investor confidence pushed the Canadian dollar to 85 cents (U.S.), up from 84.5 cents the week before.
GST SIMPLIFIED FOR SOME
Federal Revenue Minister Otto Jelinek announced that about 800,000 small businesses will be able to use a simplified method to calculate Goods and Services Tax payments to Ottawa. Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to simply submit payments based on a fixed percentage of their total revenues.
DOW HITS NEW HIGH
Heavy computer-program buying and a surge in U.S. bond prices propelled stock prices on Wall Street to record levels. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record 2900.97 Friday. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s 300 Composite Index also rose, ending the week at 3592.99, up 98.3 points from the previous week, but still well short of its record close of 4112.86 on Aug. 13, 1987.
After 84 years of Crown ownership, Alberta plans to sell its telephone utility. Premier Donald Getty said that the province will sell half of Alberta Government Telephones, worth an estimated $500 million, this summer and the rest over the next few years. Albertans will have the first option to buy shares, expected to sell for between $8 and $15.
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