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Asia stocks touch 29-month top, China blue chips at five-year high – Reuters

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares notched a 29-month high on Monday as investors wagered global central banks would keep topping up the policy punchbowl for years to come, while an upbeat reading on China’s service sector augured well for recovery there.

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are reflected on a screen displaying stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.2% to reach its highest since March 2018, bringing gains for the month so far to 5.1%.

Chinese blue chips .CSI300 firmed 0.7% to reach levels not seen since mid-2015, while the yuan hit its highest on the dollar in more than a year.

Surveys showed Chinese manufacturing activity edged back a tick to 51.0 in July, but services jumping a full point to 55.2 in a hopeful sign of reviving consumer demand.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 climbed another 0.4%, while EUROSTOXX 50 futures STXEc1 added 0.8%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei .N225 rallied 1.6% aided by news Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) had bought more than 5% stakes in each of the five leading Japanese trading companies.

The Nikkei had dipped on Friday after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resignation stirred doubts about future fiscal and monetary stimulus policies.

Those concerns were eased somewhat by news Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and a close ally of Abe, would join the race to succeed his boss. A slimmed-down leadership contest is likely around Sept. 14.

Attention was now on a host of Federal Reserve officials that are set to speak this week, kicking off with Vice Chair Richard Clarida later Monday as they put more flesh on the bank’s new policy framework.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell boosted stock markets last week by committing to keep inflation at 2% on average, allowing prices to run hotter to balance periods when they undershot.

The risk of higher inflation in the future, assuming the Fed can get it there, was enough to push up longer-term Treasury yields and sharply steepen the yield curve.

Yields on 30-year bonds US30YT=RR jumped almost 16 basis points last week and were last at 1.52%, 139 basis points above the two-year yield. The spread was now approaching the June gap of 146 basis points which was the largest since late 2017.

That shift was of little benefit to the U.S. dollar given the prospect of short rates staying super-low for longer, and the currency fell broadly.

Early Monday, the dollar index was off at 92.341 =USD and just a whisker above the recent two-year low of 92.127. The euro stood at $1.1902 EUR=, having climbed 0.9% last week.

Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss Group, noted speculators had already built up record levels of long positions in the euro which could work to limit further gains.

“A truly crowded trade that will take more news to push higher,” he argued.

The dollar did steady a little on the yen at 105.60 JPY=, after dropping 1.1% on Friday before finding support in the 105.10/20 zone.

In commodity markets, the weakness in the dollar helped underpin gold at $1,969 an ounce XAU=.

Oil prices steadied, having dipped on Friday after Hurricane Laura passed the heart of the U.S. oil industry without causing any widespread damage.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 27 cents to $46.08 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 gained 14 cents to $43.11.

Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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Canadian police charged a Tesla owner for sleeping while driving – Engadget

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Tesla

Police in Canada say they recently charged a Tesla Model S owner with driving dangerously for sleeping at his car’s wheel. In July, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) say they responded to a speeding complaint on Highway 2 near Ponoka — a town in Alberta, south of the province’s capital of Edmonton. Those who saw the car report it was traveling faster than 140 kilometers per hour (86MPH), with the front seats “completely reclined,” and both the driver and passenger seemingly asleep. When a police officer found the 2019 Model S and turned on their emergency lights, the vehicle accelerated to 150 kilometers per hour (about 93MPH) before it eventually stopped.

Police initially charged the driver, a 20-year-old man from the province of British Columbia, with speeding and handed him a 24-hour license suspension for driving while fatigued. He was also later charged with dangerous driving and has a court date in December.

It’s unclear how the Model S driver misused Autopilot in the way that they did. The incident occurred before Tesla updated the system to give it the ability to detect speed limit signs using a vehicle’s cameras. However, as The Verge notes, Tesla has said Autopilot will only work when it detects that the driver has their hands on the steering wheel. If that’s not the case, the car will try to get the driver’s attention with visual and audio warnings before disabling Autopilot.

But the fact that drivers can disengage from Autopilot is something that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the US has criticized Tesla over repeatedly. In March, the agency published a report that said a Model 3 driver’s overreliance on the system — in a situation it wasn’t designed to handle — led to a deadly crash in Delray Beach, Florida in 2019.

In this latest incident, the RCMP similarly warned against overlying on Autopilot. “Although manufacturers of new vehicles have built in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of the new safety systems in vehicles, those systems are just that — supplemental safety systems,” said Superintendent Gary Graham of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Canadian retail sales slow after surpassing pandemic losses – BNN

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Gains for Canadian retailers slowed sharply in July and August, suggesting pent-up demand from prior months has been largely extinguished.

Sales grew 0.6 per cent in July, versus 23 per cent in June and 21 per cent in May, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Excluding vehicles, receipts unexpectedly dropped 0.4 per cent, versus a forecast gain of 0.5 per cent. Preliminary estimates from the agency show receipts climbed 1.1 per cent in August, suggesting the weaker trend will continue.

The report reinforces warnings that the pace of the recovery will slow in the second half of the year, after a strong V-shaped rebound through the early summer.

“All in all, the numbers imply that retail activity is normalizing after the whipsaw of a huge downturn and recovery,” said Scotiabank economist Brett House in a note.

Core retail sales, or those excluding vehicles and gasoline, dropped 1.2 per cent.

Still, the rebound has been impressive. In July, retail sales were up 2.7 per cent compared with year earlier levels.

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1 TSX Stock With a 12% DIVIDEND YIELD to Buy Today – The Motley Fool Canada

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The year 2020 is continuing to be highly volatile for the Toronto Stock Exchange. In March, the index saw a sharp surge in volatility after the COVID-19 cases started rising in the country. While the market seems to be on a path of a sharp recovery, massive sell-offs every now and then (like the one we saw in the first week of September) continue to haunt investors.

Market volatility is likely to continue

Despite the broader market recovery in recent months, the ongoing pandemic-related uncertainties are expected to keep stocks highly volatile in the near term. Also, the upcoming U.S. general elections could add to this volatility.

That’s why it’s a good idea for Canadian investors to play it safe and start minimizing their risk exposure. Adding some stocks with good fundamentals from various industries is one way to minimize risks.

Role of dividends in minimizing risks

Another great option is to add some high-dividend-yielding stocks in your portfolio right now. Doing so would not only help you minimize your risk exposure but would also ensure that you continue to get regular income from your investments in the form of dividends.

If you don’t want to use this annual income yourself, you can reinvest these dividends in stocks to boost the overall investment return.

The top TSX dividend stock

Brookfield Property Partners (TSX:BPY.UN)(NASDAQ:BPY) is the highest-dividend-yielding stock on TSX. Currently, it has a solid double-digit dividend yield of nearly 12% — much higher than any other Canadian company.

It’s a Hamilton-based commercial real estate firm. Apart from its unbelievably attractive dividend yield, its strong fundamentals give you more reasons to buy Brookfield Property Partners stock and hold it forever.

Solid fundamentals

In 2019, Brookfield Property Partners rose by 37% to about US$7 billion. The company reported US$1.95 billion adjusted net profit last year with an amazingly high net profit margin of 27.9%.

In the first half of this year, the COVID-19-related restrictions and shutdowns took a big toll on the real estate business and the housing market. As a result, Brookfield reported a US$1.2 billion net loss in the second quarter of 2020. Nonetheless, analysts expect the ongoing recovery in the real estate business to boost the company’s bottom line in the next couple of quarters. According to Bay Street analysts’ estimates, its 2020 net profit is likely to be at around US$104 million.

In 2021, Brookfield Property Partners’s net profit is expected to be over US$2.1 billion — much higher as compared to its 2019 profits. Overall, it proves that analysts expect the COVID-19-related headwinds to be temporary for the company, as the pandemic might not affect its long-term financial growth trend.

Brookfield Property Partners stock

On a year-to-date basis, Brookfield Property Partners stock is trading deep in negative territory with 37% losses. However, its stock has already started a sharp recovery in the third quarter as it has risen by 11.2% in the ongoing quarter so far. These gains are much higher as compared to only 5.3% quarter-to-date rise in the S&P/TSX60 Index.

That’s why you should consider buying this amazing dividend stock right now — especially when you’re getting it so cheap.

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Fool contributor Jitendra Parashar has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Brookfield Property Partners LP.

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