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Author: The Patriot

Contagion Fears Rise In Aftermath Of Home Capital Group Collapse

With the bank run at Home Capital Group hitting a crescendo on Friday, when in one day 36% of the liquidity at Canada’s largest non-bank lender escaped through the front door, and only an emergency rescue loan yielding over 20% has prevent a liquidation at HCG so far, suddenly some are wondering if the dreaded “C” word is applicable to what Bloomberg has dubbed “one of the world’s strongest financial systems.” The word in question is contagion, and the party casually bringing it up is Mawer Investment Management, one of HCG’s largest former investors. Jim Hall recalculating the odds of a contagion widening across one of the world’s strongest financial systems. According to Bloomberg, Mawer CIO Jim Hall is recalculating the odds of a contagion widening across the Canadian financial system. “The probability has gone from infinitesimal to possible — unlikely, but possible,” said Hall, chief investment officer of the Calgary-based money manager, in an interview Saturday. “If depositors or bondholders start to lose faith in their banks, well then that becomes systemic.” Mawer is not waiting to find out either way: the company which oversees more than C$40 billion in assets, sold about 2.8 million shares, or a 4.3 percent stake, in Home Capital in the past week, joining another Calgary-based money manager, QV Investors Inc., in exiting its investment amid the imbroglio consuming the Toronto-based lender. Speaking...

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Philly Beverage Tax Blowback: Coca Cola Sales Plunge 32%

Just a month after PepsiCo said it would lay off 80-100 people due to the ‘unintended consequences’ of Philadelphia’s new soda-tax, Philly Coke, the local Coca-Cola bottler, has cut 40 jobs amid a 32% plunge in sales. Since all of this is taking place as previewed in a recent post: “The ‘Soda Police’ Just Learned A Valuable Lesson About Taxes“, we doubt it would come as a surprise to anyone, although we are confident that Philadelphia city workers will be amazed by these unexpected developments. When Philadelphia became the first US city to pass a soda tax last summer, city officials were eagerly looking forward to the surplus-tax funded windfall to plug gaping budget deficits (and, since this is Philadelphia, the occasional embezzlement scheme). Then, one month ago, after the tax went into effect on January 1st we showed the tax applied in practice: a receipt for a 10 pack of flavored water carried a 51% beverage tax. And since  PA has a sales tax of 6% and Philly already charges another 2%, the total sales tax was 8%. In other words, a purchase which until last year came to $6.47 had overnight become $9.75. What happened next? Precisely what most expected would happen: full blown sticker shock, and a collapse in purchases. According to Philly.com reports, two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting...

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