THURSDAY, JAN. 23, 2014 , Noon ET BUSINESS NEWS ADVISORY Here are the top Business News stories from The Canadian Press as of Noon. All times Eastern unless otherwise stated. Coverage plans are included when available. Entries are subject to change as news develops. Queries should be addressed to the business desk at 416-507-2138. To reach CP Business by email, send messages to business(at) thecanadianpress.com . ____ TOP BUSINESS NEWS THIS HOUR Canadian dollar drops below 90 cents Loonie TORONTO _ The Canadian dollar was trading at its lowest level in more than four years Thursday after a weak report on Chinese manufacturing and the Bank of Canada's latest interest decision.The loonie dropped 0.46 of a cent to 89.73 cents U.S., after falling nearly a full cent on Wednesday following a Bank of Canada comment that was interpreted as a sign the currency may be overvalued. Note: A separate business story on the falling value of the loonie will move shortly out of Ottawa . --- Murray Goulburn to cash in on Saputo offer Saputo-Australia MONTREAL _ Australia's largest dairy producer has called off its battle for control of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and decided to sell its shares to Canadian rival Saputo Inc. (TSX:SAP). Murray Goulburn Co-Operative announced the decision through the Australian Securities Exchange on Thursday. ___ Retail sales up 0.6 per cent in November StatsCan-Retail OTTAWA _ Canadian hit the stores in November and sent retail sales up sharply as snowy weather helped boost sales of winter tires and stores lured shoppers with Black Friday promotions.Statistics Canada said Thursday that retail sales rose 0.6 per cent in November to $41 billion , the fourth increase in five months. ___ US home sales edged up 1 per cent in December US-Home-Sales WASHINGTON _ Sales of existing U.S. homes edged up slightly in December, helping to lift sales for the year to the highest level in seven years.Sales increased to an annual rate of 4.87 million units last month, up 1 per cent from the November sales pace, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. However, both months represented a slower pace of sales than earlier in 2013, reflecting the drag from higher mortgage rates and higher home prices. PHOTO. --- McDonald's sees fewer customers, sales disappoint US-Earns-McDonald's NEW YORK _ McDonald's reported disappointing quarterly sales Thursday as fewer customers visited the world's biggest hamburger chain.The Oak Brook, Ill. -based company says global sales slipped 0.1 per cent at established locations for the last three months of the year. In the U.S., where it recently revamped its Dollar Menu to include items that cost a little more, the figure fell 1.4 per cent. PHOTO. ALSO IN THE NEWS TSX looks to go higher on commodities Dollar-Markets TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market is positioned to open higher as commodity prices gain traction. But the Canadian dollar is down again, a day after it fell nearly a cent. The loonie fell to 89.73 cents U.S in early trading, down 0.46 of a cent from Wednesday's close. Will be updated. ___ Target cuts jobs as grapples with security fallout US-Target-Layoffs MINNEAPOLIS _ Target Corp. says it's letting go 475 employees worldwide.The giant retailer, based in Minneapolis , also said it has eliminated 750 open positions over the last six months. None of the jobs affected are in Canada . --- Number of people on EI unchanged in November StatsCan-EI OTTAWA _ Statistics Canada says 512,300 people were getting regular employment insurance benefits in November, a number virtually unchanged from October. The agency says the number of EI beneficiaries has been relatively stable since May 2013 . ___ Canadians plan to increase savings, poll Canadians-Savings-BMO TORONTO _ A new study from Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) suggests that Canadians plan to increase how much money they set aside as savings this year. The bank says that respondents to a Pollara online poll this month were, on average, aiming to set aside $9,635 in 2014. Moved National and Business ___ Rob Ford to address Economic Club of Canada Ford-Video TORONTO _ Just days after being caught on video in a rambling, profane rant in a Jamaican accent at a restaurant, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is to address The Economic Club of Canada today. Ford _ who had vowed last year that he had given up alcohol _ has admitted he was drinking and called Monday's restaurant incident a "minor setback." Will be updated. Moves Ontario and National. Guard against duplication. --- Dorel unit to realign operations Dorel MONTREAL _ Dorel Industries is restructuring its bicycle operations by closing a U.S. assembly facility and relocating its research operations in a move that will affect about 100 employees.The Montreal -based company said the adjustments to its recreational and leisure division will completed this year and "enhance its competitiveness." Will be updated.
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