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Corporations face increased challenges to profitability, says Conference Board


The Conference Board says the increasingly hostile economic climate is impacting Canadian firms’ profitability.

The think tank’s profitability index fell for the sixth straight month in December as global uncertainty, weakness in the manufacturing sector, stock market volatility and low consumer confidence weighed on profits.

There was some good news in last month’s numbers as only 21 of 49 industries saw their index drop, the lowest number in four months.

The Conference Board says that may be a sign more industries will enjoy a turnaround in the upcoming months.

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As a whole, the goods-producing sector — particularly gas extraction — has been the most impacted by the poor global outlook, which has depressed commodity prices.

Among the best recent performers was the auto sector, which has benefited from the rebound in car sales in the United States.