Business Notes

November 27 2000

Business Notes

November 27 2000

Business Notes


Pounded by the markets

The Canadian dollar continued its bumpy ride on currency markets last week, finishing at 64.17 cents (U.S.), close to a two-year low. The loonie has fallen by two cents since Oct. 19, which some analysts attribute to uncertainty over the federal election. Nortel Networks Corp. stock also took another dive last week, closing at a 52-week low of $52.80. It has lost half its value since mid-October.

TD profit falls

The Toronto-Dominion Bank Financial Group reported a profit of $2.2 billion for the year ended Oct. 31, down sharply from its earnings of $2.94 billion a year earlier. The decline was partly due to the costs of acquiring Canada Trust, analysts said. However, profit from its discount broker arm, TD Waterhouse, rose sharply to $315 million from $146 million.

New dots on the Web

Internet users have grown accustomed to the suffixes .com, .net and .org. Now, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the World Wide Web, has created seven new suffixes: .info and .biz, which will be widely available; .name, for personal sites; .pro for professionals; and .museum, .aero and .coop for museums, airlines and co-operatives.

Chapters Online cuts staff

In a cost-cutting move that analysts applauded, Chapters Online Inc. laid off 73 employees, or 18 per cent of its workforce. The money-losing e-tailer, whose parent company, Chapters Inc., operates a chain of big-box bookstores, recently eliminated another 40 positions, largely through attrition, for total savings of $5.5 million.

Coke pays for discrimination

Coca-Cola Co. has agreed to a $290million setdement in a racial discrimination lawsuit launched by four employees who alleged that there were disparities in pay, promotions and performance evaluations between whites and African-Americans. An estimated 2,000 current and former employees will receive payments.

The WWF muscles in

Watch out, Sportsnet and TSN. Stone Cold Steve Austin (left) and other stars of the World Wrestling Federation are helping to build a third TV sports channel. WWF’s Canadian subsidiary announced a deal with Headline Media Group, owner of The Score—formerly known as Headline Sports—to broadcast key WWF shows as well as the WWF-owned Xtreme Football League, which debuts in February. WWF also has an option to buy 10 per cent of The Score. Earlier this year, regulators allowed the channel to broadcast live events as well as headlines.

Nesbitt fined for rogue trading

BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. has agreed to a $212,000 penalty imposed by the Montreal Exchange following an investigation that revealed that floor traders, who deal in bond futures, executed 59 deals outside the prescribed trading pits and in each case did not obtain the best possible price for clients. The deals were placed through a company account between May and October, 1998, and realized a total profit of $76,850, some of which flowed back to the traders in the form of higher bonuses. Nesbitt has fired a former vice-president, David Kennedy, who supervised the traders, but he is suing for wrongful dismissal.

Financial Outlook

Canadians lead the world in Internet use, according to a new international study. Some 48 per cent of Canadas households now have Internet connections, says PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Canadians spend the greatest average time per week online—5.1 hours. Both figures are up s significandy from a year ago, when 43 f per cent were online, surfing an average ¡ of 3.9 hours. Canadians were ahead of | Americans, Australians and Europeans | (measured in Britain, France and Gerg many). Intriguingly, the average time I

online for Americans declined to 4.2 hours from 5.3, which the researchers said “may be a sign of the mediums maturity.” And what would Canadians do if they weren’t online? Not just watch TV (32 per cent). Topping the list of alternatives, at 38 per cent, was reading.


Net-connected Hours/week households online

households online Canada 48% 5.1 United States 43% 4.2 Australia 38% 3.6 Europe 26% 3.2 Europe combines results in Britain, France and Germany