By Staff | February 4, 2010 | Last updated on February 4, 2010
3 min read
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Sprott Asset Management, famous for its affinity for gold bullion, sees another golden investment opportunity: Canadian Olympic athletes.

For every gold medal won by a Canadian at the Vancouver Olympics, the firm will donate $100,000 to the Canadian Athletes Now Fund (CAN Fund), a not-for-profit organization devoted solely to raising funds and awareness of Canadian athletes.

The donation will be made in conjunctions with The Sprott Foundation, which has made an upfront donation of $210,000, effectively clearing the backlog of winter athlete funding requests.

“With our Canadian athletes competing for gold against the best in the world, we wanted to celebrate their success in achieving their goals by supporting the CAN Fund, which provides direct funding to Canadian athletes,” said Eric Sprott, CEO, Sprott Asset Management LP.

“As an investment firm, we’ve delivered results to our clients by making big bets on the future — and we wanted to use the same approach to build on our athletes’ successes in Vancouver by providing funding for our athletes on a longer term basis.”

Donations to CAN Fund are allocated by athletes for equipment, coaching, travel, team fees, proper nutrition and living expenses as they train out of the spotlight to become world class athletes.

“For years the CAN Fund has been building the relationship between our summer and winter athletes encouraging them to work together,” says Jane Roos, the founder of CAN Fund. “In one week, many of our winter athletes will realize their dream of standing on the podium. Sprott’s generosity helps ensure our winter athletes’ success will fuel the dreams of summer athletes in the future.”

R.J. O’Brien to open Canadian futures shop

The Yanks are coming! America’s largest independent futures brokerage has joined the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

R.J. O’Brien & Associates Canada Inc. and will open its Canadian operations in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This is the first foray into Canada for the nearly 100-year-old firm.

“We are ready to begin building our client base here, and we are committed to meeting the risk management and investment needs of institutional, individual and commercial Canadian clients,” says Robert Dzisiak, president and CEO of RJO Canada.

Dzisiak is no stranger to the cold streets of Winnipeg, having served as chairman of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange from 2002 to 2003.

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BetaPro launches three new inverse ETFs

BetaPro Management has announced the listing of three new Horizons BetaPro Inverse Exchange Traded Funds on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“Our HBP Inverse ETFs now total seven and provide a complement to our popular leveraged HBP Bull+ and Bear+ ETFs,” said Howard Atkinson, President of BetaPro. “These ETFs are extremely valuable tools for bearish investors to profit from a market decline or hedge existing portfolio exposure.”

The new inverse ETFs are expected to track the opposite of the daily performance of their underlying benchmarks. They do not involve leverage, so returns will be 100% of the inverse benchmark movement, less applicable fees and expenses.

The new HBP Inverse ETFs are: Horizons BetaPro S&P 500 Inverse ETF; Horizons BetaPro NYMEX Crude Oil Inverse ETF; and Horizons BetaPro NYMEX Natural Gas Inverse ETF.

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U.S. consumer gets nervous

American consumer sentiment has fallen since the beginning of the year, according to the February reading of the RBC CASH (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index.

Confidence slumped in every category the survey measures, resulting in a 18.9 point decline, to 39.4.

“Although numerous economic indicators are trending in a favorable direction, it’s evident that ‘less-bad’ is just not good enough for U.S. consumers,” said RBC Capital Markets U.S. economist Tom Porcelli. “This month’s reading suggests that consumers continue to feel financial pressure from recent volatility in stocks and a soft job market.”

Attitudes toward current conditions fell 21.1 points, from 51.6 in January to 30.5 in the February reading. Confidence in the future fell from a reading of 67.6 to 48.0 — only 34% of Americans expect their local economy will be stronger six months down the road.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans said they or someone in their close circle have lost their job in the past six months, up from 62% in January. Only 29% said they were confident they or someone in their circle will not lose their job in the next six months.

Finally, investment confidence fell 17.3 points, to a reading of 40.8, as 57% of consumers said they are less confident investing for the future, up from 54% last month.

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(02/04/10) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.