AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Investors should turn to retail stocks for bargains in 2014, says CIBC TORONTO – Bargain-hunters looking for value may want to consider investing in consumer stocks this year, as competition in the retail sector continues to intensify amid a lower loonie and more entrants vying for customers in an already crowded market, according to CIBC.In a note Wednesday, CIBC equity analyst Perry Caicco said that while the bank (TSX:CM) generally recommends investors focus on either “high-growth companies or more traditional companies where management is actively driving value,” it sees long-term underlying value in retail and consumer stocks.“As quarters unfold and as the challenges become apparent, (price/ earnings) multiples are likely to decline,” Caicco wrote.“But underneath it all, certain transition activities will begin to bear fruit and there could be some great bargains again among these stocks.”The note points out that the consumer staples index on the Toronto Stock Exchange has risen 53 per cent in the past two years, while the consumer discretionary index has gone up 67 per cent, mainly due to mergers and acquisitions and a number of successful real estate spinoffs.Caicco said the arrival of U.S. discounter Target changed the retail landscape in Canada, with other major players like Walmart and grocer Loblaws (TSX:L) expanding and diversifying to stay competitive.He describes this year as one of “digesting and transition” as many of these companies deal with acquisitions, increase their square footage and shift strategies to attract consumers.“Retailers are lapping a year of significant square footage growth and several got dented pretty badly. Even the multinationals like Walmart, Target and Lowe’s (especially Target) are not happy with their sales results,” he said.Competition will only increase with retailers Nordstrom and Saks set to land in Canada this year, noted Caicco, adding that some companies, like those in the grocery business, as well as Tim Hortons (TSX:THI) and Rona (TSX:RON) might be at risk during any period of transition.“We expect them (retailers) to be quite aggressive in the hunt for sales this year and everyone will have to respond or see revenues erode,” he said.“This does not necessarily ease in the second half — we believe this battle will continue all year.”This pressure could produce “unstable” earnings, which can result in share prices falling sharply, a trend seen with Loblaw late last year, Empire (TSX:EMP.A), Metro (TSX:MRU), Aimia (TSX:AIM), Rona and Dorel (TSX:DII.B).But the “slightest stumble” in profits for these retailers could also mean a shopping opportunity for bargain-hungry investors, noted Caicco. by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 26, 2014 2:00 am MDT read more

“The ongoing destruction of Palmyra’s cultural artifacts reflects the brutality and ignorance of extremist groups and their disregard of local communities and the Syrian people,” decaled UNESCO chief Irina Bokova, strongly condemning this new assault on Palmyra, a World Heritage Site, particularly funerary busts and the renowned Lion statue of Athena from the entrance of the site’s museum.”The destruction of funerary busts of Palmyra in a public square, in front of crowds and children asked to witness the looting of their heritage is especially perverse,” she said, explaining that the busts embody the values of human empathy, intelligence and honor the dead. They also represent a wealth of information on costumes, jewelry, traditions and history of the Syrian people. “Their destruction is a new attempt to break the bonds between people and their history, to deprive them of their cultural roots in order to better enslave them, “she declared. With this in mind, Ms. Bokova reiterated her call to all religious leaders, intellectuals and young people to stand up against the manipulation of religion, to respond to the false arguments of extremists in all media and through the #unite4heritage campaign.”I commend the courage of the youth from the Arab world who are committed to protecting their heritage as a source of strength, resilience and hope in the future,” she said.Finally, she called strongly on all UN Member States, the art market and experts to join forces to curb the illicit traffic of cultural property.“I call on all researchers, artists, filmmakers and photographers to continue to cooperate and join forces with UNESCO to document and share the wealth of the Mesopotamian civilization. Neither bombs nor jackhammers can erase this great culture from the memory of the world,” she declared, adding that nothing can ever stifle human creativity – despite the obstacles and fanaticism, this energy will come back stronger than before, buildings and sites will be rehabilitated, and some will be rebuilt, and culture will find its place because it embodies the vitality of societies.“UNESCO will continue to work with the people of Syria to make sure that moment comes as soon as possible,” the Director General concluded. read more