TORONTO — The Toronto Stock Exchange closed higher Thursday despite a pullback on Wall Street amid a round of disappointing reports that suggested the U.S. economy is not recovering as much as some would like to believe.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,507.60 +33.95 0.27%S&P 500 — 1,650.47 -8.31 -0.50%Dow — 15,233.22 -42.47 -0.28%Nasdaq — 3,465.24 -6.38 -0.18%The S&P/TSX composite index rose 33.95 points to 12,507.60, while the Canadian dollar fell 0.19 of a cent to 98.12 cents US.It was a different story on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones index retreated 42.47 points to 15,233.22 and the S&P 500 fell 8.31 points to 1,650.47. The Nasdaq dipped 6.38 points to 3,465.24.The declines came after a reported speech by John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, who said the U.S. central bank will consider stopping its monthly US$85- billion bond purchases if the economy continues to improve.The indexes were also driven down by a flurry of weaker-than-expected figures.The U.S. Labor Department reported the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose by 32,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 360,000, the most since late March. The jump comes after applications fell to a five-year low. The U.S. economy has added an average of 208,000 jobs a month since November but most of the job gains have come from fewer layoffs — not increased hiring.“It does reflect a confluence of factors and some of it’s the system drag we’ve been looking for and you’re seeing creeping into the economy,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist with TD Wealth Management.“It isn’t the end of the world, but I do think it brings people back to the reality of the situation — that we have below average growth, not horrific but not great. And I think the market is reacting in a very muted fashion.”Meanwhile, U.S. officials also reported that inflation fell last month as a result of a 8.1% drop in gasoline prices. The consumer price index was down 0.4% in April from March. For the 12 months that ended in April, overall prices rose 1.1% — the smallest year-over-year increase in 2 1/2 years.The rate is still below the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two% inflation target, which it says it needs to meet before ending quantative easing.Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said U.S. builders started housing construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000 in April, a 16.5% drop from the March pace of 1.02 million. But applications for building permits rose 14.3% to a rate of 1.02 million, the highest in five years.In corporate news, the world’s largest retailer reported its first-quarter profit rose 1.1% as it struggled with a sales slump. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. blamed a payroll tax increase, delayed tax refunds and bad weather for the profit and sales results that missed Wall Street expectations. It also offered a profit outlook that came in below analysts’ projections. Its shares were down nearly two%, or $1.36, at US$78.50.Gorman said Wal-Mart’s dismal earnings may be showing the effects of increased Social Security taxes that kicked in earlier this year, resulting in consumers having less money for discretionary spending.In Toronto, the industrials sector was the leading advancer, up by 1.21% as shares by flight simulator and training company CAE Inc. (TSX:CAE) closed above its 52-week high by gaining more than six%, or 66 cents, to $11.26.The Montreal-based company reported it earned $43.8 million or 17 cents per share for the period ended March 31, down from $53.2 million, or 21 cents per share a year ago. However, excluding $10.1 million of restructuring, integration and acquisition costs, it earned $53.9 million or 21 cents per share. Revenue in what was the company’s fourth quarter grew to $587.9 million from $506.7 million last year.Telus (TSX:T) announced that it was prepared to buy small wireless carrier Mobilicity as part of a $380-million deal. The purchase is subject to various conditions, including approval by the Competition Bureau and Industry Canada and by Mobilicity’s debtholders. Telus shares climbing more than one%, or 39 cents, to $37.34Commodity prices also showed some small gains. The June crude contract jumped 86 cents to US$95.16 a barrel, while July copper was up three cents at US$3.29 a pound. But June gold bullion dropped $9.30 to US$1,386.90 an ounce.What investors were watching today:ON DECK FRIDAYTelus throws Mobilicity a lifeline with $380-million dealGold is tanking again, but Soros at least saw it comingToday’s ugly data is raising questions about strength of U.S. economy At BlackBerry Live, rumours of possible phablet steal showECONOMIC NEWSCANADA8:30 a.m.Consumer price index (April): Economists expect no increase from the month before, 0.6% rise year over year Wholesale trade (March): Economists expect 0.4% rise UNITED STATES9:55 a.m.University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (May): Economists expect a reading of 78, up from last month 10 a.m.Leading indicators (April): Economists expect a rise of 0.2% read more

WASHINGTON — An awkward encounter above Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue last spring provided early evidence of a rift between the Canadian government and the world’s largest aerospace company.Representatives of the Boeing Co., wound up hastily leaving a meeting at Canada’s embassy after a tense conversation with the ambassador.They had arrived to discuss business with the Canadian government. The giant plane-maker has been hoping to add a multibillion-dollar fighter-jet sale to its more than US$94 billion in annual revenues.But it so happened this visit fell on the same day Boeing filed a trade action against Canada’s largest aerospace player, the far smaller Bombardier. It also happened that the Canadian hosts were given little warning.Word filtered up to the top-floor office of ambassador David MacNaughton about an hour beforehand about the trade action, which this week resulted in whopping 220-per-cent preliminary duties on Bombardier sales.“(MacNaughton) called them out of the meeting,” one source said.Two sources say the ambassador delivered a message similar to what’s now the Canadian government’s public mantra: “I don’t do business with people suing me,” and, “You shouldn’t treat customers this way.”The Boeing people decided it was better to leave. The meeting was over.What the Canadian government has heard from Boeing is that the company is torn between two imperatives: completing the military sale with Canada and avoiding what it perceives to be a colossal mistake of its past.The company has said this publicly.In an interview with The Canadian Press, Marc Allen, president of Boeing’s international division, said: “We watched another competitor come up and enter the market in a very similar fashion.”That competitor was Airbus, in the 1970s.A consortium of French, German, and U.K. interests, Airbus started small in the U.S. market, with European subsidies propping up its twin-engine and single-aisle planes. But the product lines, and the planes, grew, and by the 1990s the company had become a U.S. giant in its own right, muscling aside smaller players like McDonnell Douglas.Now Airbus is aiming for 50 per cent of the American market after opening its first jetliner plant in the U.S.Boeing claims to fear a repeat. After Bombardier’s sale of 75 mid-sized planes to Delta Air Lines, it launched a complaint based on Bombardier’s various forms of assistance from Canadian and Quebec taxpayers.Never mind that Boeing is by far the No. 1 recipient of U.S. government subsidies. It drew US$14.4 billion in various forms of assistance since the 1990s according to the website Subsidy Tracker, far more than any other U.S. company and far more than what Bombardier received. The U.S. Export-Import bank is jokingly referred to in Washington as, “the Bank of Boeing.”And Boeing doesn’t even make planes similar to those Bombardier sold Delta. One Washington critic, Dan Ikenson of the free-market Cato Institute, compares this to a snowplow maker suing a bicycle company.What matters is a smaller rival can grow, Boeing says.It repeated that cautionary tale of Airbus several times during a day-long hearing before the U.S. International Trade Commission.“Airbus in 40 years has an airplane now in every single market segment,” said Raymond Conner, Boeing’s vice-chairman.“What Airbus did is they entered … the smaller (plane market)… and then moved on from there… Today we are fighting for our lives to maintain upper 40’s or 50 per cent (market share). The impact is real and it sometimes takes many years to materialize.“What (Airbus has) done in 40 years, we had to do in 100.”Washington aeronautics consultant Richard Aboulafia says Boeing is making a grave error. It is antagonizing governments and companies in several countries, including the U.K., where Bombardier has more than 3,000 employees, and angering big U.S. buyer Delta.That’s not all.He says it’s harming itself in two other ways: jeopardizing future military contracts in those countries and stoking protectionist sentiment in an industry that relies on international trade.And Boeing might find out its efforts pointless in the end as the Department of Commerce duty could be overturned by the more historically neutral ITC, or by the U.S. domestic trade court, or other international panels.“People said the entire Vietnam War was the triumph of tactics over strategy,” Aboulafia said.“You could win a battle and then find yourself having outraged (everyone)… Can (Boeing make) an effective trade complaint? Yeah, probably. What are the second-order effects? Oh my dear God, that’s a strategic question. (They’d) rather not think strategically.”He heaps scorn on the idea that this is the ghost of Airbus, stirring again.Aboulafia said it’s not the 1970s. The planes are different, the market is different and Canada’s subsidies to Bombardier are nowhere close to as threatening as an international consortium being propped up by different countries.Of the attempt to draw parallels, he says: “That’s what you’d think if you had no sense of strategic history.” read more

However, the expected relief has not reached the customer while the importation of canned fish has increased to 40,000MT in 2015 involving Rs 10 billion foreign exchange. Hence, the Cabinet approval has been granted for the proposal submitted by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera to grant special tax concessions for importation of Mackerel only to local canned fish producers and also to give the concession for imported can fish only for fish cans that comply with the given standards. (Colombo Gazette) In 2013 taxes on imported canned fish were increased to Rs. 100 per kilogram to encourage the local production and it was reduced to Rs. 50 for providing concessions to the customers in 2015. Accordingly, a 425g fish can should include 280g of fish excluding liquid and be sold at a maximum price of Rs. 140, and a 155g can of fish should include 105g of fish excluding liquid and be sold at a maximum price of Rs. 70. The Government has decided to impose a Rs 100 levy on one kilogram imported canned fish, Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said today.About 20,000MT of canned fish are imported annually for the domestic need. As a result of encouraging the local production of canned fish to save foreign exchange of Rs. 5 billion, since 2012 four local factories are engaged in canned fish productions. These factories have produced about 150 direct employment opportunities. read more

Sirisena said that SriLankan Airlines incurred a huge loss due to the actions of the leaders of the previous regime. He also said that he had ended an era where public funds were wasted.He made these remarks while participating in a ceremony to declare open the newly constructed building complex for the Ministry of Finance, today. “At present I have taken steps to cut down on the expenditures of the Presidential Secretariat by 60%,” the President said, adding that he has never used charter flights for his foreign tours and that he travelled economy class with a small number of delegates. President Maithripala Sirisena says he travels only economy class during his official foreign trips.The President also said that he has fulfilled his duties and responsibilities in an appropriate manner during the last one year. He says as President he has ensured financial discipline and also proper management of the country. “It is the responsibility of the politicians and public officials to pay more attention to the idea of financial discipline and management,” he added.The President pointed out the importance of maintaining strict financial discipline and management in implementing development projects and the importance of fulfilling responsibilities from the very beginning of the year to achieve the annual goals. (Colombo Gazette) read more

President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to reconvene Parliament on November 14th, just two days earlier than the date he had initially fixed.President Sirisena issued a gazette notice today to reconvene Parliament at 10am on November 14th. The move followed the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) withdrawing from the unity Government and Ranil Wickremesinghe being sacked as Prime Minister. On October 27th the President had prorogued Parliament till November 16th. The United Nations, the US, UK, EU and several other countries also demanded that Parliament be reconvened immediately in order to defuse the political crisis which had developed in the country.However the caretaker Government appointed by the President said that it will not be intimidated by the international community. (Colombo Gazette) Wickremesinghe refused to accept his sacking saying it was unconstitutional and continued to remain in Temple Trees, the official residence of the Prime Minister.He also called for Parliament to be reconvened and for a vote to be taken to show who has the majority support in Parliament to be Prime Minister. read more

However, considering the overall welfare of minority Tamils, “our umbilical chord relations,” was important, he said.Sri Lanka Parliament on Wednesday passed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who was installed by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move. Tamil Nadu has in the past pushed for international intervention in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) The Tamil Nadu Government says India cannot interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.On the political developments in neighbouring Sri Lanka, AIADMK senior and State Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said one cannot interfere in the internal affairs of another country, Deccan Chronicle reported. read more

“Our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka continues to meet regularly with all political parties, and has expressed our concern at the behaviour of some MPs in disrupting Parliamentary proceedings. We have stressed the importance of MPs allowing Parliament to do its job,” Field said. “I last visited Sri Lanka in October, before the current crisis, where I met Foreign Minister Marapana and other Ministers. We discussed the range of our bilateral interests and I urged more progress on human rights and reconciliation. I also met the leader of the Tamil National Alliance, as well as human rights and civil society activists. I have continued to urge the Sri Lankan government to fully implement its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council. I plan to visit in 2019,” the UK Minister said.He also said that he has received regular representations from the Tamil community on a range of their interests and concerns. Field’s comments came in response to a question posed by the Labour MP, Keith Vaz who asked if he had plans to visit the island. As the political crisis continues in Sri Lanka, a British Minister has said he may visit Sri Lanka next year.UK Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mark Field told the UK Parliament that it is vital that all sides refrain from violence and make efforts to resolve the situation peacefully and as soon as possible, the Tamil Guardian reported. “I last met with the APPG for Tamil’s including some representatives from the Tamil community on 3 December to discuss the current political situation. Foreign Office staff also regularly meet with Tamil representatives, both in Sri Lanka and the UK.” (Colombo Gazette) read more

Earlier, Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M Hizbullah and Western Province Governor Azath Salley had also resigned from their posts. He said that the decision was taken after discussions held between the Muslim Parliamentarians in the Government. Hakeem said that the Muslim Ministers will however continue to support the Government in Parliament and ensure it has the majority. Deputy Minister for Ports and Shipping Abdullah Mahroof had also tendered his resignation.Hashim said the Muslim Ministers who resigned will give the Government one month to ensure the authorities investigate the allegations made against some Muslims Ministers over the Easter Sunday attacks.He said that while the former Ministers will continue to support the Government they would expect the Government to protect the Muslim community. The Muslim Ministers who resigned are Rauf Hakeem, Kabir Hashim, MHA Haleem and Rishad Bathiudeen.State Ministers Ali Zahir Maulana, Faizal Cassim, H.M.M. Haris and Ameer Ali also resigned. The President’s office said that they handed over their resignation letters to President Maithripala Sirisena.President Sirisena, who had appointed the two Governors, accepted the resignation letters.  (Colombo Gazette) All Muslim Ministers, including Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, resigned from their portfolios in the Government today.Addressing the media today, Minister Rauf Hakeem said that all Muslim State and Deputy Ministers had also tendered their resignations. read more