The Toronto stock market was lower on Friday near midday as disappointing Canadian jobs numbers added to concerns about the global economy, in particular China.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 9.22 points at 11,848.91, while the TSX Venture Exchange slipped 0.11 of a point to 1,192.94.The Canadian dollar was at 100.83 cents US, up 0.02 of a cent. Earlier in the session the loonie had been as low as 100.3 cents US, down nearly half a cent from Thursday’s close, shortly after Statistics Canada’s jobs report for July.Statistics Canada reported that the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point to 7.3 per cent as the economy shed 30,400 jobs last month. The outcome was notably worse than the addition of about 6,000 jobs that analysts had expected.Traders have been revisiting worries about the direction of the global economy after a series of economic data out of China showed that the world’s second-largest economy is facing a slowdown.The Chinese economic figures causing most concern on Friday was the trade data for July. Exports rose just one per cent over a year earlier, sharply below forecasts of five per cent, while import growth fell to 4.7 per cent from the previous month’s 6.3 per cent, also below expectations.The trade surplus with the 27-nation European Union, China’s biggest trading partner, narrowed by 37.9 per cent to $10.8 billion, reflecting sluggish demand in Europe, which is wrestling with a debt crisis and recession.The figures, which came a day after China reported a slowdown in auto sales and factory output, are likely to heap the pressure on Beijing to take more measures to boost economic growth.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average decreased 38.48 points to 13,126.71 and the broader S&P slid 4.07 points to 1,398.73. The Nasdaq lost 8.77 points to 3,009.87.At the TSX, energy stocks were off 2.2 per cent with the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 59 cents to US$92.77 a barrel.September copper moved down 3.4 cents to US$3.41 a pound while December gold fell $3.80 to US$1,624 an ounce.The biggest gainer was the information technology sector, up 3.3 per cent, with Open Text (TSX:OTC) ahead $5.08 to $54.14.Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) shares gained 35 cents to $8.07 following reports that IBM has an “informal” interest in buying the BlackBerry maker’s enterprise division. Financials stocks were off 0.1 per cent with Royal Bank (TSX:RY) slipping 26 cents to $50.94.In earnings, railway tie and utility pole maker Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) is raising its dividend 6.7 per cent after reporting profits were up 20.1 per cent at $20.8 million or $1.30 per share in its most recent quarter. That compared with net profits of $17.3 million or $1.08 per share in the same year-earlier period. Its shares rose $1.97 to $59.69.In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.3 per cent to 6,908 while the CAC-40 in France was 0.6 per cent lower at 3,437. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.2 per cent lower at 5,842.Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1 per cent to close at 8,891.44. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.7 per cent to 20,136.12 and South Korea’s Kospi bounced closed 0.3 per cent higher at 1,946.40.
THE NUMBER OF people taken to court for not paying the €160 television licence fee has doubled since 2008.Almost 11,500 cases were heard in Irish courtrooms last year, according to figures given to an Oireachtas committee recently. Five years ago, the corresponding figure was just 5,786 but it has risen significantly each year since.Secretary General of the Department of Communications, Aidan Dunning, told the Public Accounts Committee that the decline in the number of licences issued could be attributed to the economic downturn and “rapidly-evolving technologies whereby members of the public are no longer reliant on the traditional television set”.During 2012, just over one million licences were sold directly by An Post, the collection agency for the fee. A further 405,000 were issued by the Department of Social Protection.Dunning said every effort is made to bring evaders into the licensed pool, adding that a “considerable amount” of An Post’s time and resources is spent dealing with the issue.Prosecutions are brought on foot of a visit by a TV licence inspector to an unlicensed property. An inspector is sent to premises if a licence is more than six weeks out of date, if a new record is added to the database which doesn’t have a current licence, and where there are unlicensed addresses.When a case is brought to court, the fine imposed is at the discretion of the judge. The maximum for a first time offence is €1,000 but second-time offenders can expect penalties of up to €2,000.Last year, 18,048 summons were sent to households but the issue was resolved before the courts were involved in 6,562 cases.“Bringing people to court is a last resort and only carried out where all other means have failed,” Dunning told the Oireachtas committee.“Every effort is taken to identify unlicensed holders, from people whose licence has lapsed to people who have moved premises to people who will do all in their power to avoid paying for the licence.”During 2012, 272 people were jailed for not paying the charge, a jump of almost 50 per cent on previous years.Download the full correspondence here>Junk food TV ad ban to begin in September, but cheese is excludedNew broadcasting charge won’t be used to save ailing newspapers