Category: Business

TD Economics suggests Alberta economy gaining momentum

EDMONTON- A report from TD Economics says the Alberta economy is gaining some traction after it was hit by extreme oil price weakness late last year.

It says rising oil exports, stronger wholesale and manufacturing shipments and a jump in small business confidence suggest the province’s economy appears to have started growing again in recent weeks.

The report also cites an improvement in the jobless rate along with more upbeat trends in Alberta’s stalled retail sales and housing sectors.

But the bank says it remains cautious about upgrading its June outlook forecasting the Alberta economy would grow by 0.5 per cent this year and a slightly better 2.1 per cent next year.

(The Canadian Press)

City exploring business incentive options in wake of Parkland Fuel Corp. move to Calgary

The City of Calgary used a job creation investment fund to help lure Parkland Fuel Corporation away from Red Deer. Whether The City of Red Deer tries a similar tact in the future remains to be seen.

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund announced this week that Parkland Fuel Corporation will receive up to $4 million to consolidate its national operations in that city.

In total, the funding from OCIF will support the relocation, retention, or creation of 430 permanent full-time head office jobs with the company in Calgary.

Parkland announced in February that it was closing its Red Deer office to consolidate it with their Calgary headquarters. More than 80 per cent of the 120 full-time staff in Red Deer were to be given offers to relocate to Calgary, the company said, while the remaining positions would be phased out by summer’s end.

Parkland’s history in Red Deer dates back to 1964 when Jack and Joan Donald started Parkland Oil Products Ltd.

City Councillor Vesna Higham believes Red Deer need not necessarily offer cash incentives, but does need to start thinking more outside the box to attract and retain business.

“I mourn the loss of 120 jobs from Red Deer, and any time I see jobs leaving our community in this kind of a manner, it’s sobering and difficult,” she says. “Every municipality has to account to their own citizenry to do the best they can, so it’s very difficult to fault Calgary for doing what they feel is in the best interests of their community.”

Higham is thankful that The City of Red Deer is already looking at a number of potential business incentives, grant funding options, and zoning considerations, but adds they must act quickly.

“This move really highlighted the need for this because the scale of it is so large — 120 jobs — but we have seen movement from our city to the county and we’ve been very aware of that, and we have been working proactively to address it,” Higham says.

“At the end of the day I think any type of incentive a municipality provides has to be well thought out and strategic,” says John Sennema, Red Deer’s land and economic development manager. “I don’t think it always has to come with a pool of money, there are other ways we can incentivize businesses. Whether it’s through zoning or certainty in connection fees or a tax holiday for an underutilized property, those can all be done without gifting or granting money, specifically, to help stimulate the economy.”

Sennema is doubtful, however, that incentives would’ve prevented Parkland’s move out of Red Deer.

“They already have a presence in Calgary and are a multi-national corporation now,” he noted. “I think the move would’ve occurred regardless of the money provided to them. I don’t think, and this is just my opinion, the four million dollars was the tipping point for this decision.”

“As a Canadian company, we are proud to be expanding our footprint and employee base in Calgary and welcome the support of the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund,” said Bob Espey, Parkland Fuel Corporation President and CEO. “Our investment reflects our commitment to the city, and we expect that our people will bring tangible and lasting benefit to the community and to Calgary’s economy. We have ambitions to continue to grow in Canada and internationally, and we look forward to continuing to be an ambassador for the city.”

Senemma says they are in the preliminary phases of looking at different incentives and hope to bring something formal to council this fall.

Plains Midstream plans Alberta pipeline expansion

CALGARY- Plains Midstream Canada is seeking approval to expand its Rangeland crude oil pipeline system through Alberta from Edmonton south to the U.S. border.

The pipeline company that was fined $1.3 million in 2014 after pleading guilty in two separate Alberta oil spills.

The company is proposing to double capacity to 100,000 bpd between Edmonton and Sundre and enlarging the system from Sundre south to the border from 20,000 bpd to 100,000 bpd.

In June 2012, Plains Midstream’s Rangeland pipeline ruptured under the Red Deer River near Sundre and spilled nearly half a million litres of oil, closing the popular recreational attraction Gleniffer Lake for three weeks.

In April 2011, its Rainbow pipeline spilled 4.5 million litres of oil in northern Alberta.

(The Canadian Press)

How to Prepare Software Inventories of Mac Computers in SCCM | Managing Mac Computers with SCCM

How to Prepare Software Inventories of Mac Computers in SCCM | Managing Mac Computers with SCCM


It can be quite helpful for IT teams to have an accurate overview of all the Macs in their organization. And this should include the software installed on those devices for this can be crucial for the organization’s software inventory management, for instance. How many copies of which productive software products are being used? Or in reverse: On how many Macs is a given software product installed?

Software inventory management of this kind can be a great
help for co-workers in the purchase department in their effort to put together
license packages and so save the company money. Detailed reports not only
covering device inventory but also software products installed on many systems
will help IT teams handle their resource planning as well. IT teams can only
plan the software outfit and potential training needs for any given
organisational unit if they have this information available. Here are some
hints to help admins prepare custom reports in SCCM containing this important
information.

How to setup a query for Mac software inventory

Parallels Mac Management for SCCM lets IT teams not only manage hardware and software inventories and roll them out to employees within the organization but also analyse and monitor these assets. This clarifies the software needs of individual business units and the licensing requirements to be planned for the future.

The first step is to open the SCCM console and to navigate
to “Monitoring -> Overview -> Reporting -> Reports -> Create
Report”. Now a wizard will appear to help configure a customized SCCM
report. The first choice to make here is “SQL based report”. The
admin should then proceed to choose a preferably meaningful name for this
report. A storage location for the report also needs to be selected at this
point.

How to Prepare Software Inventories of Mac Computers in SCCM | Managing Mac Computers with SCCM 1

After these easy steps, the admin can continue with defining
the SQL query. The “SQL Server Report Builder” serves this purpose.
Clicking on “Table or Matrix” is the next thing to do. Now a data set
needs to be created. Things to look out for here include selecting the right
data base entries and activating “Autodetect”. Admins can find the
right search categories and parameters to use in this help article. Once this
custom report has been defined, IT teams can search it for software products by
entering free text into a search field, after which they are shown on how many
and which devices the program is installed.

Learn more

Knowledge Base | How to create a custom report
Parallels Blog | Keeping Tabs on Asset Management
Youtube | Basic Management using Parallels Mac Management
Parallels Mac Management | Administrator’s Guide (PDF)

The post How to Prepare Software Inventories of Mac Computers in SCCM | Managing Mac Computers with SCCM appeared first on Parallels Blog.

Market Watch: July 5

Big Picture

U.S. Indexes Hit Record Highs in Pre-July 4th Rally

U.S. stocks continued to climb on Wednesday, with each of the major indexes closing at a record high, as a temporary trade truce between the U.S. and China and expectations for a more dovish Fed sparked a strong week for equities. The Dow climbed nearly 180 points during a shortened trading session on Wednesday, putting it above its previous October record. The Dow was the last of the three major U.S. indexes to set a record close this year, as trade tensions and concerns of slowing global growth weighed on its performance in recent months.

Traders are now turning their focus to the Fed and whether it will cut interest rates in 2019. According to analysts, weakening economic figures, including slowing U.S. factory activity, support such a move. However, it remains unclear if the trade truce brokered at the G20 Summit will affect the Fed’s decision. One critical piece of data that might alter the Fed’s position is June’s employment report due Friday morning. Meanwhile, the yield on U.S. 10-year Treasurys has fallen to multiyear lows, hitting 1.94% on Wednesday, while yields in the eurozone fell to record lows as the European Central Bank is expected to continue its dovish course.

There was positive news for Canada on Wednesday as Statistics Canada reported a trade surplus of $762 million in May, fuelled by rising exports of cars, aircraft and energy products. The news came as a surprise to many analysts, who had forecast a $1.5-billion shortfall in a recent Reuters poll. The news helped bolster the loonie, which strengthened against the greenback to 76.5 cents (US). Finally, the TSX finished fairly flat on Thursday, weighed down by the health care sector, after registering modest gains in the two previous trading sessions.

Markets

N.A. Markets Continue to Climb

It was a shortened trading week for N.A. markets with holidays in both Canada and the U.S. For the four days covered in this report, the Dow added 366 points to close at 26,966, the S&P 500 gained 54 points to settle at 2,996, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 124 points to close at 8,130. In Canada, the TSX was up 207 points to end at 16,589.

Equities/Strategy

Equities

U.S. equity markets enjoyed one of their strongest June rallies in years despite slowing global growth and mounting trade and geopolitical uncertainties. A dovish shift by major central banks and portfolio rebalancing may have contributed to equities’ advance. With respect to the latter, the recent rally in credit markets likely left large institutional investors underweight exposure to equities, forcing them to buy to bring their portfolios in line with investment mandates. Data from Bank of America’s most recent monthly Global Fund Manager survey, released last week, showed investors have not been as underweight equities as they are now since the financial crisis. As investors turn their attention to the upcoming Q2 earnings season, consensus expectations imply modest YOY growth. However, earnings growth is expected to accelerate in the second half of the year.

(Bill Curry)

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Red Deer area unemployment rate drops in June

RED DEER- The Red Deer area unemployment rate was pegged at 7.1% in June.

That is down from 7.5% in May.

The Alberta rate also fell slightly last month from 6.7 to 6.6%.

Nationally, the economy lost 2,200 jobs in June, pushing the jobless rate up a notch to 5.5%.

But that’s still near a four-decade low and Stats Canada reports wages have risen to their highest level in more than a year.

The economy added 248,000 new positions over the first half of the year, which is the strongest six-month stretch of job growth to start a year since 2002.

ATB supports Olds College with $250,000 donation

OLDS- ATB Financial has committed $250,000 to support agriculture technology research and education at Olds College.

The five-year financial commitment will be used to grow the College’s high-tech smart farm, and sponsor AgSmart, a two-day ag technology expo taking place August 13 and 14 at the College.

The event that provides farmers with an opportunity to interact with cutting-edge high-tech ag players and experience the latest innovations first-hand.

“The Olds College Smart Farm provides an environment where producers, industry partners, College researchers, faculty and students can explore the challenges and opportunities facing the ag sector and together investigate solutions and determine how we can use technology, data and expertise to evolve our existing agriculture practices,” comments Stuart Cullum, President, Olds College. “On behalf of Olds College I would like to thank ATB Financial for investing in the future of agriculture and our students.”

The Olds College Smart Farm incorporates the latest technologies aimed at improving productivity, while efficiently and sustainably using resources.

CN on pace for record movement of western Canadian grain

WINNIPEG- Canadian National Railway says it is on track to move record quantities of western Canadian grain after a strong June.

The country’s largest railway says it transported more than 2.3 million tonnes of grain last month.

The total was up nearly 16 per cent from the 1.99 million tonnes moved last year and above the three-year average of 1.8 million tonnes.

Allen Foster, CN’s vice-president of bulk goods, says it is optimistic that the strong pace of shipments in June will continue through to the end of the crop year and the railway can build on its record pace.

After 11 months of the 2018-19 crop year, the Montreal-based railway is on record pace at 25.5 million tonnes shipped.

CN chief executive JJ Ruest says the railway is investing $210,000,000 in rail capacity in North Vancouver to support expanding coal and grain export terminals.

Meantime, Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Railway says it shipped 2.2-million tonnes of grain products in June, and 24.8-million tonnes since the start of the crop year, 3.3 per cent ahead of last year.

(The Canadian Press)

Calgary awarded 2023 World Petroleum Congress

CALGARY- The city beat out four other global cities in the bid to host the World Petroleum Congress in 2023, which attracts industry and government leaders from around the world.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who was in St. Petersburg, Russia for the vote, calls the hosting opportunity “a shot in the arm for the Canadian energy sector.”

The World Petroleum Congress Canada calls the event the “Olympics of oil and gas” that will bring in an estimated 5000 delegates to the city.

Calgary hosted the World Petroleum Congress back in 2000 and brought in extra police officers from B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba in expectation of massive demonstrations which never materialized.

(The Canadian Press)

Red Deer region to benefit from TMX expansion

Red Deer mayor Tara Veer says the federal government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is long-awaited good news for the community.

“City council is unanimous in our support for the expansion of energy infrastructure,” she said Tuesday. “We all know that securing new and international markets for our energy products is important for our local economy.”

Veer, for the time being, is cautiously optimistic over the benefits to come from Tuesday’s decision.

“It certainly doesn’t mean that we will see economic recovery in the short term, but hopefully we see energy to market by 2023,” she suggested. “We expect there will be legal challenges, legal delays and perhaps other sorts of delays, but this is welcome news and a step in the right direction.”

Veer says the advocacy done by The City of Red Deer in support of the oil and gas industry won’t end now that the Trans Mountain expansion has finally been approved, saying, “We will continue to advocate not only on behalf of Red Deerians and central Albertans, but certainly all of Alberta in terms of our contribution to confederation.”

Reg Warkentin with the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce says it was imperative of federal government to approve the project since they’re the one who currently own it.

“It’s absolutely essential that they allow construction to start, and we think the expediency of the process going forward is of absolute paramount importance because our companies here are suffering,” he said.

“There’s incredible competition from our biggest trading partner (U.S.) who’s also our biggest competitor. So until we’re on a level playing field with them it’s going to be a struggle.”

What Warkentin isn’t sold on, however, is the government’s requirement that every dollar in federal revenue coming from the project be reinvested in clean energy and green technology.

“We’re always worried about programs where governments might be picking winners and losers. So we’re not too sure about their choice to do that.”