A new tech regulator will work to limit the power of Google, Facebook and other tech platforms, the government has announced, in an effort to ensure a level playing field for smaller competitors and a fair market for consumers.

Under the plans, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will gain a dedicated Digital Markets Unit, empowered to write and enforce a new code of practice on technology companies which will set out the limits of acceptable behaviour.

The code will only affect those companies deemed to have “strategic market status”, though it has not yet been decided what that means, nor what restrictions will be imposed.

The business secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “Digital platforms like Google and Facebook make a significant contribution to our economy and play a massive role in our day-to-day lives – whether it’s helping us stay in touch with our loved ones, share creative content or … Read the rest

STATE AGENCIES will have to significantly ramp up spending in December to boost fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP), after the government continued to underspend amid the coronavirus pandemic.   

“The agencies were asked to implement catch-up plans to meet their original spending plans for the year. The catch up [spending plan] is intended to shore up the economy this Q4,” Budget Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua said via Viber on Friday.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told various departments to ramp up spending in the remaining weeks of 2020, during a meeting of the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) two weeks ago.

Representatives from the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Transportation (DoTr), Education (DepEd), Tourism (DoT), Trade and Industry (DTI), and Agriculture (DA) attended the EDC meeting, said Ms. Pascua.

Anemic government spending was blamed for the 11.5% GDP contraction in the third quarter, which was worse than most analysts … Read the rest

Equities in Canada’s largest centre managed gains late Friday, the second last day of a momentum November, as growth in health-care and tech stocks carried the day.

The TSX pulled out of the hole it was in early Friday and gained 45.22 points to end the session at 17,396.56. The gain for the week was 377 points, or 2.22%.

The Canadian dollar regained 0.18 cents to 76.98 cents U.S.

Health-care stocks led the field, with Aurora Cannabis showing gains of $2.18, or 18.7%, to $13.83, while Trillium Pharmaceuticals scaled $2.13, or 8.8%, to $26.31.

Among techs, Lightspeed POS surged $3.39, or 5%, to $71.89, while BlackBerry picked up 25 cents, or 3.2%, to $7.98.

In the consumer staples field, Saputo rallied 68 cents, or 1.9%, to $36.05, while Jamieson Wellness tallied 64 cents, or 1.8%, to $35.61.

Real-estate proved the biggest anchor, with Brookfield Property Partners units dropping 73 cents, … Read the rest

Gyms have been among COVID-19’s most dramatically impacted victims, due to the transmission risks of packing heavily breathing people into a confined space for hours at a time. But there’s one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed: It’s still exasperatingly difficult to get out of a gym contract.

Fitness clubs have long relied on long-term membership agreements to prevent flighty customers from abandoning their New Year’s resolutions without a financial penalty. But given the public health considerations of the coronavirus pandemic, gyms’ generally stringent membership cancelation policies—specifically, requirements that members must visit a physical location or send a certified letter to terminate their contracts—have come into relief.

Information on outbreaks linked to gyms paints a hazy picture. Since the summer, numerous COVID-19 outbreaks have been tied to fitness centers, including ones in Elmhurt, Ill., San Diego, and Hawaii’s Oahu island.

Data released by the Minnesota Department of Health … Read the rest

Sir Philip Green’s retail empire is facing collapse within days, putting 15,000 jobs at risk and bringing the curtain down on the high street career of one of Britain’s most controversial businessmen.

It is understood that Arcadia Group – which owns TopShop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – is preparing to appoint administrators from Deloitte as soon as next week.

One retail industry figure said Arcadia’s collapse had become inevitable after talks with a number of lenders about an emergency £30m loan ended without success.

The appointment of administrators could happen as early as Monday, although one person close to the situation said the plan had yet to be finalised and that it could yet be delayed.

If the insolvency is confirmed, it is expected to trigger a scramble among creditors to get their hands on the company’s assets.

It would involve Arcadia’s online operations and the stores which are … Read the rest

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino got a fresh mandate as head of the sports body after being reelected on Friday in elections held at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant in Paranaque City.

Looked to serve a full four-year term after assuming office only last year in special elections, Mr. Tolentino, head of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling), got his wish after beating lone challenger Jesus “Clint” Aranas of the archery federation, 30-22.

A total of 53 eligible voters got to cast their votes, broken down to representatives from 50 national sports associations, two representatives from the Athletes Commission (Hidilyn Diaz and Jhessie Lacuna), and International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski.

The proceedings were done under strict compliance with health and safety protocols to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.

Also winning were handball’s Steve Hontiveros, … Read the rest

Monday

U.S.

Economic Lookahead

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (Nov.)

Pending Home Sales Index (Oct.)

Featured Earnings

Adient (NYSE: ADNT) (Q4) EPS projected for 96 cents, compared to 63 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) (Q3) EPS projected for 57 cents, compared to one cent in the prior-year quarter.

New Jersey Resources (NYSE: NJR) (Q4) EPS projected for 57 cents, compared to 29 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Canada

Economic Lookahead

Industrial Product Price Index (Oct.) The index edged down 0.1% in September, led by lower prices for energy and petroleum products.

Raw Materials Price Index (Oct.) The index fell 2.2%, pulled downward mainly by lower prices for crude energy products.

Building Permits (Sept.) The total value of building permits rose 1.7% to $8.1 billion in August, driven by an increase in the residential sector in Ontario and Quebec.

Featured Earnings

1933 Industries Inc. (C.TGIF) (Q4) Read the rest

Tony Hsieh, the retired CEO of Las Vegas-based online shoe retailer Zappos.com who spent years working to transform the city’s downtown area, has died. He was 46.

Hsieh was with family when he died Friday, according to a statement from DTP Companies, which he founded. Downtown Partnership spokesperson Megan Fazio said Hsieh passed away in Connecticut, KLAS-TV reported.

Puoy Premsrirut, a lawyer for Hsieh, told news outlets that Hsieh had been injured in a house fire while visiting Connecticut. Additional details weren’t immediately released. An official cause of death wasn’t announced.

“Tony’s kindness and generosity touched the lives of everyone around him, and forever brightened the world,” a DTP Companies statement said. “Delivering happiness was always his mantra, so instead of mourning his transition, we ask you to join us in celebrating his life.”

Hsieh recently retired from Zappos after 20 years leading the company. The online shoe retailer shared … Read the rest

Spanish lender Banco Sabadell has said it will consider options for its UK bank TSB after it called off a planned merger with rival BBVA.

Sabadell and BBVA said they were in merger talks less than two weeks ago, but they failed to agree a price.

Sabadell said it would now seek “strategic alternatives for creating value with regard to the group’s international assets, including TSB”.

It did not specify if that would mean selling TSB, which it bought in 2015.

Separately, TSB said it had “good momentum” in its business growth as well as progress in “taking full control of our IT, delivering a right-sized modern branch network and reducing overall operating costs”.

In January, it signed a deal with US computing giant IBM to run its online banking, bank systems and cash machines, in an attempt to put a stop to the IT failures that have plagued the … Read the rest

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo

The TNT Tropang Giga booked a spot in the finals of the PBA Philippine Cup following their 91-81 victory over the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in their semifinal rubber match on Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.

The steadier team throughout the match, TNT frustrated Phoenix on its way to barging into the championship of the Philippine Basketball Association All-Filipino Cup, where it was last in seven years ago.

Ray Parks Jr. led the way for the Tropang Giga in the win, churning out all-around numbers of 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

The contest got off to a competitive start, with the teams knotted at 10-all midway into the opening quarter, before TNT sprinted to build a 25-20 lead at the end of the first 12 minutes.

In the second quarter, offense tapered off a bit as defense … Read the rest