Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Back to Think you know business? Take our year-end quiz

Back to Think you know business? Take our year-end quiz
Think you know business? Take our year-end quiz
December 26, 2011  David Olive
Here’s the first of the Star’s two-part business and economics quiz on the rollercoaster events of the past year. The quiz continues Wednesday.

1. In the aftermath of the 2008-09 global financial meltdown, whose corporate casualties were concentrated in New York and London, Moody’s Analytics predicts that financial services employment will remain flat in New York between 2000 and 2020, will plunge about 30 per cent in London, and more than double in Toronto. By
(a) 2015
(b) 2017
(c) 2019
it is expected that Toronto’s financial services workforce will eclipse London’s in size, at 430,000 employees.
2. This year for the first time, Forbes declared Toronto to
(a) be hobbled by the highest cost of living in North America
(b) be one of the world’s 10 most powerful financial centres
(c) suffer the worst traffic congestion on the continent.
3. Which might explain why Canadian shareholders rejected a proposed merger between
(a) Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and Britain’s Unilever PLC (Dove, Q-tips, Good Humor)
(b) the Toronto and London stock exchanges
(c) Canadian insurer Manulife Financial Corp. and U.K. banking giant Barclays PLC.
4. Germany is not the only “fiscal hardliner” demanding a new frugality of European bailout candidates. Among the others, the most outspoken is
(a) Britain
(b) Netherlands
(c) Finland
5. After the now-troubled euro zone common currency union was created, in 1999, it was
(a) Portugal
(b) Germany
(c) Italy
(d) Greece
that first breached the euro zone’s rules of fiscal responsibility, with a 2002-03 budget in which government spending exceeded the agreed-upon percentage of GDP, setting not the best example for the other 16 euro zone members.
6. Since the euro zone crisis began about 18 months ago, governments in
(a) Ireland
(b) Italy
(c) Greece
(d) Portugal
(e) all of the above have fallen.
7. Among major economies, which three countries have the highest total government, corporate and household debt, as a portion of GDP, at 497 per cent, 492 per cent and 366 per cent, respectively?
(a) Italy, Spain, Britain
(b) Britain, Japan, Spain
(c) Japan, U.S., Spain
8. Which countries have the lowest total debt, at 274 per cent, 284 per cent and 289 per cent of GDP, respectively?
(a) Germany, South Korea, Canada
(b) Canada, Germany, U.S.
(c) Japan, South Korea, Canada
9. The number of temporary work visa applications received by Ottawa from Americans between 2008 and 2010
(a) increased by 16 per cent
(b) doubled
(c) increased by 53 per cent
10. Facing a debt crisis, incoming British PM David Cameron recruited
(a) Warren Buffett, pre-eminent U.S. investor
(b) Paul Martin, former Canadian federal finance minister
(c) Paul Volcker, former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board
to advise on balancing Britain’s books.
11. In the chapter on Germany in his bestselling book on the eurozone crisis, author Michael Lewis devotes roughly the first 1,000 words of his account to
(a) Germany’s traditional aversion to debt since the hyperinflation of the 1920s
(b) Berlin’s continued worry over the cost of unifying the former West Germany and East Germany
(c) an everyday German obsession with things scatological.
12. The first woman to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF), replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn this year, is
(a) Christina Romer, former head of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors
(b) Christine Lagarde, former French finance minister
(c) Michelle Bachelet, former Chilean president
13. At the first report of 2011’s most spectacular business flameout, bankrupt U.S. futures brokerage MF Global confessed that about $600 million (U.S.) in client funds could not be accounted for. The sum of missing funds has since ballooned to
(a) $750 million
(b) $1.2 billion
(c) $2.1 billion
14. Sino-Forest is
(a) a collaboration between Canada and China on advanced forest management
(b) a dodgy Toronto-listed public company with timber holdings in China
(c) a controversial nasal de-congestion remedy
15. For all his sins, William Randolph Hearst did not
(a) pay ousted underlings hush money to protect his empire
(b) spy on victims of family tragedies to fill his newspapers with sensationalist copy
(c) get hauled before a federal inquiry to confess his firms’ unsavoury “journalism” practices
(d) all of the above
as Rupert Murdoch has done.
16. The early reaction of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to the Fukushima catastrophe was
(a) denial
(b) haphazard, ineffectual efforts to bring its crippled nuclear plant under control
(c) failure to acknowledge it might have erred in building the Fukushima plant on the ocean’s edge in a region prone to earthquakes and resulting tsunamis
(d) all of the above.
17. Which two distressed companies flirted this year with putting their assets on the auction block?
(a) Research in Motion Ltd.
(b) Eastman Kodak Co.
(c) leading U.S. bookstore chain Barnes & Noble
(d) a. and c.
(e) b. and c.
18. RIM’s stock tumbled about 10 per cent the day in December when it announced a $485-million (Cdn.) pretax charge against profits on dismal sales of its
(a) PlayWorld
(b) PlayThing
(c) PlayBook
flagship tablet computer.
19. As the upheaval of the “Arab Spring” continues, Calgary energy firm Suncor Inc. was forced in December by escalating local violence to shut down a natural gas plant in
(a) Libya,
(b) Syria,
(c) Egypt,
that is vital to electricity production in the region and the bulk of Suncor’s $1.2-billion investment in the country.
20. Heather Reisman, arguably North America’s most successful bookseller after the demise of Borders and chronic losses at Barnes & Noble – the two biggest U.S. chains – is now executing a strategy at her Indigo/Chapters/Coles stores of
(a) heavily discounting coffee-table tomes to boost sales per square foot
(b) devoting more space to non-book giftware
(c) limiting “Heather’s Picks” to titles by authors with initials “H.R.”
21. “Fracking” is
(a) a first-year university hazing practice recently banned by Queen’s and UBC
(b) a controversial means of tapping natural gas trapped in shale formations across North America by injecting toxic fluid into the ground
(c) a method by which the WWE is trying to build ratings by having wrestlers simulate concussions.
22. Among the best financial-markets forecasts of the year was a call in January, when robust markets were anticipating a global economic recovery, by
(a) Bill Gross of California institutional investing giant Pimco
(b) David Rosenberg of Toronto money manager Gluskin Sheff
(c) Bill Miller, legendary U.S. investor at U.S. mutual fund manager Legg Mason
that a new bout of uncertainty would cause bond and stock markets to swoon, which indeed has characterized their behaviour this year.
23. Fierce rivals BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. joined forces in December to acquire control of
(a) the newly repatriated Winnipeg Jets
(b) Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), owner of the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC and the Air Canada Centre
(c) lucrative broadcast rights to CFL games.
24. True or false: In translating payroll into wins during the past five years, the Rogers-owned Blue Jays, the Raptors and the Maple Leafs rank 51st, 88th and 112th, respectively, among the 122 major-league franchises in North America, as calculated by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
25. Elapsed time between protestations by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board that it had no interest in selling its controlling stake in MLSE to Rogers and its sale of its MLSE interest to Rogers and BCE:
(a) three weeks
(b) eight months
(c) two years
Match the quote with who said it.
26. “If the euro explodes, Europe explodes.”
27. “As author Brian Lee Crowley has set out, there is a strong argument that the 21st century could well be the Canadian Century.”
28. “[This is] cockamamie nonsense.”
29. “[They] make me want to cover myself in birdseed and stand in front of a toucan cage while duct-taped to the ground.”
30. “Yahoo f----d me over.”
31. “There will eventually be a revolution where the 1 per cent will have to come to grips with the 99 per cent. It won’t be pretty. When that time comes, I’ll be on my yacht headed for Monte Carlo sipping Cristal.”
(a) French President Nicolas Sarkozy
(b) ousted CEO Carol Bartz
(c) Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank, at a closed-door New York meeting of financiers, accosting guest speaker Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada, over proposed requirements for bigger bank reserves to cushion against large surprise losses
(d) U.S. personal-finance guru Ramit Sethi, railing against bank overdraft fees
(e) a commenter on the online edition of Fortune.
(f) British PM David Cameron in a speech to the Canadian Parliament.
32. Adding to his reputation as the only G-8 central banker to regulate a domestic banking sector that didn’t require a government bailout in 2008-09, Mark Carney was appointed by the G-20 this year as chair of the
(a) World Bank
(b) World Trade Organization (WTO)
(c) Financial Stability Board (FSB), the revamped Basel-based agency charged with implementing new strict regulations on world banks to prevent another financial meltdown and resulting Great Recession.
33. The Harper government’s controversial commitment to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets – an issue in this year’s general federal election – may become moot since the F-35, costliest weapons program in history – has become a prime target for cancellation in Congressional efforts to cut $1 trillion in defence spending. The lead contractor for the F-35, which is to be built with parts from Canada and other countries, is
(a) Northrop Grumman Corp.
(b) Lockheed Martin Corp.
(c) General Dynamics Corp.
34. The Supreme Court of Canada recently dismissed a claim by a Canadian reality show contestant that he was defamed when one of the show’s expert panelists invited him to “burst into flames.” The unsparing panelist was
(a) Boston Pizza owner Jim Treliving
(b) Toronto mutual fund manager and broadcaster Kevin O’Leary
(c) erstwhile impresario Garth Drabinsky.
1.b. 2. b. 3. b. 4. c. 5. b. 6. e. 7. b. 8. b. 9. b. 10. b. 11. c. 12. b. 13. b. 14. b. 15. d. 16. d. 17. e. 18. c. 19. b. 20. b. 21. b. 22. b. 23. b. 24. True. 25. b. 26. a. 27. f. 28. c. 29. d. 30. b. 31. f. 32. c. 33. b. 34. b.

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