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Quebec premier says returns will fly high with $30-million airship investment – Lethbridge News Now



Airships disappeared from the skies in the 20th century for the same reason electric cars and windmills never took off during the same time period: fossil fuels. Jets took over the passenger airships, gas-powered vehicles dominated the roads, and coal-fired plants sprung up around the world, Prentice said.

But now electric cars and wind turbines are back, said Prentice. “The airships are just the next technology to follow the same pattern. But we aren’t looking to transport passengers. Now we’re talking about cargo.”

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon of the current Coalition Avenir Québec government announced in November 2019 a $30-million investment in the French company, Flying Whales, as well as its Quebec subsidiary. The company, which also has Chinese backers, is hoping to use the airships to transport up to 60 tonnes of material at a time over regions that are difficult to access by road, such as the province’s northern region.

Successive provincial governments have been trying to spark investment in Quebec’s north to take advantage of its massive natural resources.

But on Tuesday, the Journal de Montreal reported the previous Liberal government didn’t think the project would take off. And the paper cited anonymous experts who questioned how the aircraft would be supplied with the necessary ballast after dropping off its load in order to stabilize it and prevent it from flying away.

Prentice said water could be used as ballast — even though Quebec’s far north is frigid most of the year.

“The transcontinental railways were all steam engines,” Prentice said. “And we built those to go across the country in the 1880s. And they had to stop every hundred miles to take on water. Somehow we kept the water from freezing all winter long.”

Fitzgibbon told reporters the French company’s project was more advanced than it was when presented to the Liberals, adding he expected the airships to start flying by 2022-23.

But that didn’t stop the opposition from trying to burst the government’s bubble.

“I don’t know if someone was inhaling helium … but (the project) just doesn’t make any sense,” said Quebec solidaire’s Vincent Marissal.

Legault said the critics would be proven wrong. The Flying Whales project is “brilliant,” the premier told reporters Tuesday, adding it presented a modern way of transporting goods in the far north.

“If we don’t take risks,” Legault said, “we don’t go anywhere.”

But professor Robert Gagne, director of the Center for Productivity and Prosperity at HEC, Universite de Montreal’s business school, said Quebec’s Flying Whales adventure is another sign of the government’s “excessive” intervention in the market.

“When governments invest in something, you have to ask yourself, why aren’t the bankers interested?” he asked in an interview Wednesday. Governments can generally take bigger risks than companies can, he said, because they don’t have shareholders and spread the risk over the entire population.

He said Legault was elected to manage the province, “and he wants to take risks with our money. And we need to give him our blessing to play casino with our money. It’s not the role of government … it’s not to become a major player in the market.”

Prentice, however, said the Quebec government is correct to invest in the airship project.

“It’s worth the risk to try,” he said. “We’re not talking about an anti-gravity device — this is a technology that was proven 100 years ago and we know it worked, just like wind turbines and electric cars.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 5, 2020.

Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

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Planning to invest in index funds? Check the pros and cons – Economic Times



In recent times, investor interest has been rapidly increasing in passive index strategies. 2021 has already seen the launch of over 15 index funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). The figure for entire 2020 was just 17.

What are index funds?

Index funds replicate the weightages of companies that form part of the benchmark index under consideration. The weightage of the stocks in the fund will closely match the weightage of each stock in the index. In case od a change in the weight of stock within the index, the fund manager too will make changes to have its weight in the portfolio aligned to that of the index. For example, a Nifty index fund will invest in the 50 companies forming the Nifty50 index.

Benefits of Index Funds

Diversification: Index funds, in a simple and easy manner, provide diversification by investing across many stocks. Take Nifty 50 index. Through this index, an investor gets access to 50 different companies. As a result, the value of one’s portfolio will not be adversely impacted in the event of any negative development in any one of the companies which is a part of the index. Furthermore, this diversification comes with a ticket size as low as Rs 100.

Lower Costs: Costs associated with an index fund are generally very low. The total expense ratio (TER) for an index fund, as per market regulator SEBI, is capped at 1 percent. When compared to actively managed counterparts, this turns out to be a cheaper option for an investor who is comfortable with index fund investing.

Return Potential: The aim of an index fund is to generate returns as close to that of its underlying index. Over the long term, if an investor is ready to stay invested, the return profile is likely to reflect the growth of the economy. For example, the 5-year CAGR of an index like Nifty 50 TRI is about 15%.

SIP Facility: Just like any actively managed fund, investors can opt for daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or quarterly SIP options.

Limitations of Index Funds
Lack of Flexibility: Unlike an actively managed fund, if there is any material development in the economy or markets, the fund manager here cannot make any changes to the portfolio. As a result, there is no scope for the fund manager in managing market downsides.

No room for Alpha: By investing in an index fund, the investor is signing up for returns that will be in line with that of the index which the fund is tracking.

Tracking Error: Tracking error is the difference between the scheme’s return and the benchmark index’s return. While index funds try and replicate an underlying as close as possible, there is likely to be a gap due on account of factors such as expenditure incurred by the fund, cash balance, or portfolio deviation.

Who can consider investing in Index Funds?
Every Investor should have index funds as part of their asset allocation. First-time investors may also consider index funds as a stepping stone into the world of equities. In the short term, returns could be volatile but over the long term the fluctuations average out. To conclude, an index fund offers one of the cheapest ways to take exposure to equity markets but before investing do check if the fund matches your risk appetite, investment horizon, and financial goal.

The author, Chintan Haria, is Head- Product Development & Strategy, ICICI Prudential AMC. The views are his own.

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How To Invest In AMC And Really Make Long-Term Money – Forbes



AMC, the nation’s largest movie theater chain and darling of the meme stock afficionados, has all the hallmarks of a disaster movie: a monster (the pandemic), questionable actions from main characters (the company’s ownership) and skanky fundamentals (too much debt, share-price dilution).

That’s not to mention that fast-growing streaming services are eating into its customer base like acid, and the Delta virus variant could squelch the former multiplex goers’ thoughts about returning.

In any disaster movie, the beleaguered good guys also find the monster’s vulnerability. In The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells’ classic Martian-invasion book later made into several flicks, the aliens’ weakness is a lack of immunity to our planet’s germs. For AMC and other such troubled companies like GameStop

, it’s the low regard ease with which a mob can take down short seller. A coterie of young folks have a deep distaste for the Wall Street establishment, which failed their parents and their families very badly during the financial crisis some 13 years ago.

Today, that translates into making meme stocks, which stodgy old hedge funds have shorted, into a cause célèbre for Gen Z investors. The young amateur stock jockeys have pumped up these names, sticking it to those smug Wall Street tycoons, who get caught in short squeezes.

Due to the Robinhood crowd’s support, AMC has seen its stock price triple thus far in 2021. That’s despite losing $4.5 billion last year ($1.42 per share) as pandemic-spooked film audiences stayed home, and also logging a $500 million loss in 2021’s first quarter. Second quarter earnings, slated for Aug. 9, are expected to show a narrower loss, just 91 cent per share, per the Zach’s Consensus. In the January-March quarter, attendance had fallen almost 90%, versus the year-earlier period.

The popularity of AMC’s stock has been a boon for the chain, even though the outfit diluted shares a bunch via new stock issued. The company has floated common stock offerings, raising a total of $1.25 billion—cash that it desperately needs in a nasty time like now. Analysts project that the company will be in red ink for at least three more years.

Meanwhile, management, led by CEO Adam Aron, also whittled down net debt to $4.6 billion as of March 31, from $5.4 billion. Plus, it completed a debt-for-stock exchange offer, and extended maturities on $1.7 billion in bonds until 2026. As a result, S&P Global Ratings last month raised AMC’s rating to CCC+ from CCC-. Granted, this is still deep in junk bond territory, but represents a forward step.

The larger question is: Does AMC have a future, or will it dwindle to little or nothing? Think of all the corporate powerhouses of yore, like Eastman Kodak

or Xerox

, that time has passed by.

Maybe AMC can avoid that fate. For the near future, AMC likely will consolidate its hold on what remains of the cinema-going public. Many small operations tanked over the past year. Regal Entertainment and Cinemark, its two biggest U.S. competitors, are in a weaker condition, and AMC could end up the last chain standing.

After that, AMC has to bet that people eventually will want to return to the wide-screen auditoriums that, indeed, offer a much richer visual experience than even the largest TVs at home. Going out to the movies has always been a communal undertaking, and like live sports, which are showing a decent comeback, could reclaim their patrons. True, stadium-viewed sporting events offer the extra dramatic element of rooting for the home team. Once Hollywood starts putting out better movies—its pandemic entries have been kind of lame (Tenet, anyone?)—sitting in the dark to watch a blockbuster will have better appeal.

If you agree with that thesis, then when is the right time to purchase AMC shares? One answer is to buy on the dips. In fact, we’re in a dip now: AMC has fallen almost 30% since mid-June, partly owing to the onset of the Delta variant. And odds are that Robinhood gang will tire pf AMC.

At that point, is buying the shares a mad-money play? Sure. Still, look at other pandemic-stricken stocks that are rising anew, like oil companies. That could be enough for a Hollywood ending.

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Feds, province announce $40M road investment in Thompson – Winnipeg Sun



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The federal government and the province have announced a major roadwork investment in Thompson, Manitoba’s northernmost city.

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As part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream, $40 million will be spent over the next five years. The funds include $20 million from the federal government, $13.3 million from the province and $6.7 million from the City of Thompson. Twenty kilometres of road will be refurbished over the next five years.

“This is totally unusual,” Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook told the Winnipeg Sun on Thursday. “It means governments are starting to take us seriously. They used to think of us as a small mining town that was going to die out. They’ve realized we are the hub of the North and we aren’t going anywhere. They have to step up and make us viable. This is absolutely fantastic.”

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Smook said her community has specific challenges – adverse weather and frost heaves – when it comes to road maintenance. Simply repaving and refinishing roads in Thompson provides only a short-term fix.

“People just say you take off the surface and resurface it,” she said. “A lot of the time the damage is down into the base. You can’t just take off the top and repave it. That doesn’t work up here. So this is doing the roads properly again, getting some of the streets done that haven’t been worked on for 40 or 50 years.”

Smook said the project affects the entire North.

“Being the hub for the outlying communities, it’s going to do some of our main drags. It’s going to be noticed,” she said. “It’s also going to make it more attractive with businesses attracting people. You come in and we have decent roads to drive on. When we did a survey, that was one of the concerns – our infrastructure was in such rough shape.”

Twitter @JamesWestgateSn

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