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Closing Bell TSX closes higher as hopes of fiscal cliff resolution grow

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Tuesday, partly because of reassuring data suggesting Germany will be able to avoid slipping into recession.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,282.36 +51.89 +0.42%S&P 500 — 1,427.84 +9.29 +0.65%Dow — 13,248.44 +78.56 +0.60%Nasdaq — 3,022.30 +35.34 +1.18%Traders also hoped for a resolution to the looming fiscal cliff. That is the name for a situation that will arise at the beginning of the year when automatic tax increases and steep spending cuts are due to take hold. The subsequent shock to the economy would likely push the U.S. back into recession.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 51.88 points to 12,282.36 while the TSX Venture Exchange was off 2.81 points at 1,183.93.The Canadian dollar rose 0.08 of a cent to 101.4 cents US.The Dow Jones industrials closed up 78.56 points to 13,248.44, while the Nasdaq rose 35.34 points to 3,022.3 and the S&P 500 index was up 9.29 points at 1,427.84.Traders seemed unfazed by the latest back-and-forth charges from Republicans and Democrats that their opposition still hasn’t delivered “serious” proposals for heading off the spending cuts and tax hikes.If anything they were more optimistic after The Wall Street Journal reported that budget negotiations had “progressed steadily” in recent days.“I’m at a point now where I think most of it will get resolved but there will be a bit of that that will be pushed into 2013,” said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer for Sun Life Global Investment, adding it’s a good thing that one party controls the Senate while another controls the House.“This way, the Republicans want something, the Democrats want something and the only way to get it is for them to agree to help the other side. And that is the best chance for the fiscal cliff being averted — they both realize if the fiscal cliff does not get resolved, neither one of the parties wins.”Investors took in an index of German investor optimism that rose more than expected in December. The ZEW indicator of economic sentiment rose to plus 6.9 points, from minus 15.7 in November. Markets had expected the index to rise only to minus 11.5. Germany’s economy grew a modest 0.2% in the third quarter.Tech stocks led TSX advancers as RIM jumped 68 cents or 5.79% to $12.42 after the BlackBerry maker said it has released the “gold” build of its developer tool kit. The build, the company says, contains all the final elements developers need to create apps from the coming BlackBerry 10 operating system, which is being unveiled at the end of January.Patent-licensing firm Wi-LAN Inc. has started litigation against Research in Motion Ltd. alleging patent infringement of a patent related to Bluetooth technologies. But Wi-LAN shares fell 40 cents or 8.16% to $4.50 as the company also said a U.S. appeal court ruled against it in a patent dispute. The company says the appeal court affirmed a lower New York State court ruling that LG Electronics did not infringe on Wi-LAN’s V-Chip patent.The consumer discretionary segment was also higher as Canadian Tire Corp. rose $2.22 to $69.70 while home improvement chain RONA Inc. gained 47 cents to $11.37.The financials sector was ahead 0.65% with Sun Life Financial up 63 cents to $27.96 and Scotiabank gained 56 cents to $56.50.Commodities were mixed and the mining group was up 0.15% while copper prices gave up half of Monday’s four-cent rise as the March contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped two cents to US$3.69 a pound. First Quantum Minerals gained 30 cents to C$20.67 and Sherritt International fell four cents to $4.99.The energy sector was up 0.19% as the January crude contract slipped 23 cents to US$85.79 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources climbed 30 cents to C$28.32 .Shares in oilsands company MEG Energy Corp. declined $1.18 to $32.47 as the company announced a pair of financing deals to raise a total of $800 million, including one with the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec. MEG said it has agreed to sell nearly 12.13 million shares to a syndicate of underwriters for $33 per share and another 12.12 million shares to the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec for the same price.The gold sector was down about 0.65% lower as February bullion fell $4.80 to US$1,709.60 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. gave back 43 cents to C$36.58.Investors also took in the first earnings report issued by Hudson’s Bay Co. since the retailer returned to the Toronto stock market. HBC said its loss from continuing operations was $8.5 million or eight cents per share in the third quarter. That compared with a loss from continuing operations of $7.5 million or seven cents per share in the same year-earlier period.Revenues in the three months ended Oct. 27 were $930.4 million, up from $896.7 million in the 2011 period. Hudson’s Bay Co. also said it will initiate a quarterly dividend of just over nine cents per share and its shares dipped four cents to $16.77.Meanwhile, investors are expecting the Federal Reserve to embark on another round of stimulus when it wraps up its meeting Wednesday. The Fed’s US$400-billion stimulus program, known as Operation Twist, is set to expire after 2012.It involved the Fed buying $400 billion of longer-term Treasuries and simultaneously selling some of the shorter-dated issues it already held in order to bring down long-term interest rates.Economists now expect that the Fed will begin buying $40 million of long-term treasury securities each month. This would be on top of an existing plan announced in September that involves the Fed buying $40 billion per month in mortgage-backed securities.Here’s the news investors were watching today:RIM climbs to seven-month high as developer interest in BlackBerry 10 growsDelta buys 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360-millionCanada’s housing market set for soft landing: ScotiabankGoldman’s top economist explains his big call for the U.S. economyON DECK WEDNESDAYECONOMIC NEWSU.S. Fed’s FOMC announces policy decision at 12:30 p.m., followed by press conference with chairman Ben Bernanke at 2:15 p.m. UNITED STATES8:30 a.m.Import price index (Nov): Economists expect a 0.5% drop 2 p.m.Treasury budget: Economists expect a deficit of $171-billion CORPORATE NEWSUNITED STATESJoy Global Inc. Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.91 a share read more

At 50 UN development programme revamps itself to tackle new sustainability goals

Singapore women workers at a wig factory (1972) Back in the 1970’s Singapore struggled to provide employment for it’s rapidly expanding population and labour force. The government established several industrial estates and created an Economic Development Board with an Industrial Research Unit offering facilities for applied technological research and industrial testing. UNDP, together with the International Labour Organisation, helped the government establish a Light Industries Service Unit to assist private entrepreneurs and government-sponsored industrial estates. UN Photo/R. Witlin UNDP and Nile Hope hand over market shed in Mingkaman IDP Camp The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working with its implementing partner, Nile Hope, hands over a market shed with 48 stalls in Mingkaman’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Aerial County, Lakes State, South Sudan.Community residents make use of the new bore hole next to the market shed (2015). UN Photo/JC McIlwaine Trainees at the Kissy Trade Centre in Freetown undergoing practical training in motor mechanisms (1980) The principal goal of the Second UN Development Decade was to help millions of people who are poor, sick, hungry and illiterate earn enough money to achieve a minimum standard of living consistent with human dignity. UNDP assisted this vocational training centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which trained about 300 students at a time. UN Photo/Redenius A technician conducts vacuum distillation at the Technological Research Institute, Bangkok, Thailand (1963) In 1963 the Government of Thailand created the Applied Scientific Research Corporation to coordinate scientific research with the assistance of UNDP. They created three research institutions specialized in industrial technology, agricultural and medical research. The first was the Technological Research Institute that specialised in industrial technology. UN Photo Women test a solar cooker in India (2009) With the support of UNDP, India’s Ministry of New and renewable Energy in India, has been developing and promoting solar concentrators to reduce and replace the use of conventional fuels that degrade the environment (2009). UN Photo ‹ › Given the ambition and breadth of the 2030 Agenda, UNDP must be ever more proactive, responsive, and innovative, she said, urging ministers and other participants to share their visions on how UNDP can better support Member States.More specifically, she asked them to discuss the measures which lead to inclusive growth and the eradication of poverty in all its dimensions; the importance of balancing economic growth and improved livelihoods with the need to protect the environment; ways to ensure that governance, peace and security are durable and benefit all parts of society; and how to identify risks and take appropriate action to prepare for disasters and adapt to climate change.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a video message to the meeting, said that UNDP’s strengths included its global presence and programmatic reach, its pioneering analysis and forceful advocacy, and a strong commitment to the most vulnerable members of society.“UNDP also plays the key coordinating role in the UN development system,” he said, stressing that this role will become even more important as the Organization supports national efforts to achieve the SDGs.Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the UN General Assembly, said that it is through UNDP that Member States have most explicitly sought to fulfil the Organization’s core objective of “advancement of social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”UNDP has a geographical footprint corresponding to the multi-polar world, and a mandate that reflects the complexity of the global challenges of today, he noted.Citing its function as resident coordinator at country level, its presence in over 170 of the world poorest and most vulnerable countries, and its role as chair of the UN Development Group, he said “a dynamic UNDP will be and must be at the very heart of a dynamic response from the UN development system.”“Together, you must deliver as one, advocate loudly for SDG action, work hand in hand with Member States and other partners, and promote accountability for last year’s commitment,” he concluded. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with its presence in more than 170 poor and vulnerable countries, must rise to the challenge of advancing a “big, new, more complex, and transformational” sustainable development agenda, the head of the agency said today at a ministerial meeting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding. “For fifty years, UNDP has been working on the frontlines of development, advocating for change and connecting countries to the knowledge, experience, and resources they need to help people build better lives,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark told the special meeting at UN Headquarters. “The world has changed immeasurably in that time, and UNDP has changed with it,” she added.But UNDP’s core mission remains more relevant than ever, she stressed, citing its mandate to support countries to eradicate poverty in a way which simultaneously reduces inequality and exclusion, while protecting the planet. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by 193 Member States last September, provide the framework for the next phase of UNDP’s work.“We have already taken steps to ensure that UNDP is fit for purpose in the SDG era,” she said, noting that a more focused Strategic Plan includes the restructuring of headquarters to eliminate duplication and improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as a shift of policy, programme, and other support closer to the field. UNDP also implemented measures which led to the agency being ranked among the most transparent development organizations in the world. read more