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At midday: Canfor leads declines on TSX, Wall Street hovers near record highs – The Globe and Mail



Canada’s main stock index was flat at midday on Tuesday as energy shares were lifted by higher oil prices.

The energy sector jumped nearly 2% after oil prices rose above $65 a barrel, supported by hopes that the U.S.-China trade deal will bolster oil demand in 2020 and the prospect of lower U.S. crude supplies.

The main index opened lower, with declines led by Canfor Corp which tumbled 21%, after it rejected Great Pacific Capital Corp’s proposal to take it private.

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Weighing on sentiment was data that showed Canadian factory sales decreased in October on lower sales in transportation equipment and fabricated metal products.

The lower activity at auto assembly plants and parts plants was due in part to the United Auto Workers strike in the United States.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Whitecap Resources, which jumped 4.2% and Baytex Energy Co , which rose 4%.

The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Touchstone Exploration and Nemaska Lithium.

Wall Street

U.S. stocks paused after a four-day rally, but still hovered around record levels on Tuesday, while a fall in Boeing’s shares weighed on the Dow as the crisis surrounding the planemaker’s 737 MAX jet deepened.

The S&P 500 edged to a record high for the fourth straight session and was set to build on its 27% gain this year, driven mainly by expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal, a dovish Federal Reserve and upbeat economic indicators.

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Reinforcing confidence in the U.S. economy, data from the Federal Reserve showed manufacturing output rose more than expected in November, as the end of a strike at General Motors plants boosted auto production.

However, a 1% fall in Boeing dragged on the Dow Jones . The company said it would suspend production of its best-selling aircraft in January in its biggest assembly-line halt in more than two decades.

The energy sector was among the biggest gainer on the S&P 500, tracking a rise in oil prices.

Gains in all three major indexes over the last three days have largely been driven by an interim U.S.-China trade agreement, which was announced on Friday.

However, with little chance of another major update on trade before the end of the year, analysts say the market will likely stay around present levels.

“U.S. stocks could start feeling trade optimism fatigue as we near the holidays,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at online trading broker OANDA in New York, adding that a significant pullback was unlikely.

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At 10:31 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 36.25 points, or 0.13%, at 28,272.14, the S&P 500 was up 4.31 points, or 0.14%, at 3,195.76 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.40 points, or 0.04%, at 8,817.63.

Netflix Inc rose 3.5% after the streaming service provider said its growth overseas is accelerating, on the back of its Asia-Pacific business.

Johnson & Johnson gained 0.9% after reports that Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock.

While there is no major economic news due this week, a historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, likely to result in the impeachment of President Donald Trump, poses another risk for investment decisions in the run-up to the 2020 election.


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Growing number of Canadians say Trudeau doing 'bad job' on vaccine rollout even as pace quickens – National Post



Respondents living in Alberta were most critical, with 71 per cent saying Trudeau did a bad job. Atlantic Canada was the least critical, with 43 per cent

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OTTAWA — A growing number of Canadians believe the Trudeau government has fumbled its efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the public in a timely manner, according to a new poll.

The survey by Maru Public Opinion, commissioned by the National Post, found 57 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has thus far done a “bad job” of distributing vaccines to the provinces, an increase of 14 per cent from when the same question was asked in the first week of January. At the same time, 60 per cent of respondents said the provinces are doing a “good job” of administering vaccines, up five per cent over the same period.

The poll results come amid rising public impatience with the federal government’s vaccination campaign, which has been hampered by temporary supply shortages and distribution delays. Federal efforts have nonetheless begun to show signs of returning to initial targets in recent days, with public health officials now hinting that vaccines could be administered well before the government’s end of September deadline.


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Even so, Canada’s dismal ranking in administering vaccines compared with other countries could have a lingering effect on public perception of the Trudeau government, particularly if new delays crop up, said John Wright, executive vice-president of Maru Public Opinion. That could in turn carry some weight should Parliamentarians trigger an election this spring.

“If they’re looking towards an election in June, which seems to be speculation, then I would be concerned about this, because the ballot question is not so much about vaccines as it is about competence,” Wright said.

However, public opinion could always shift back should the Liberals meet or exceed their current targets, he said.

“I think this can be reversed, but it could take the next month or more.”

  1. Trudeau ‘very optimistic’ vaccine rollout can be accelerated and move closer to U.S. goals

  2. Novavax already has an order to supply Canada with 52 million doses of its vaccine and is now seeking regulatory approval from Health Canada.

    Redacted Novavax COVID-19 vaccine contract for Canada released in U.S. regulatory filings

Maru surveyed 1,515 randomly selected Canadians on March 1 and 2; the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Respondents living in Alberta were most critical of the federal government, with 71 per cent saying Trudeau did a bad job, up from 52 per cent in January. The next most critical provinces were Manitoba and Saskatchewan (66 per cent), Ontario (61 per cent) and Quebec (52 per cent).

Atlantic Canada was the least critical, with 43 per cent saying Ottawa had done a bad job, up from 27 per cent two months earlier. Atlantic Canada also saw a drop in people who believed Ottawa had done a “good job,” from 73 per cent down to 57 per cent.


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Also in the survey, 62 per cent of respondents said they would get a vaccine “immediately,” up from 55 per cent in January and 36 per cent in December. The number of respondents who said they wouldn’t get vaccinated fell from 16 per cent in December to 10 per cent in March.

“It just shows the appetite,” Wright said. “We’ve got a population now that has confidence that this vaccine is going to work, and they want it. And when you see the demand escalating among the public and you don’t have the supply, that’s where the issue of competence certainly is going to play out.”

The schedule for Canada’s vaccine rollout remains highly uncertain. Ottawa has contracts with seven vaccine makers internationally, but still needs to approve some manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson and Novavax. The federal government last weekend approved Oxford University’s AstraZeneca vaccine, providing a major boost in incoming orders after Moderna and Pfizer both delayed shipments to Canada earlier this year.

Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief health officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said it now seems plausible that the federal government could beat its target of administering two vaccine doses to all Canadians by the end of September. The Trudeau government has been holding to the September date, viewed by many as a purposefully generous timeline that Ottawa could easily meet.

“If you look at it, the timelines would shift and we would be able to cover up, you know, the vast majority of the Canadian population in a sort of advanced timeline, or moving it up by several weeks,” Njoo said in a conference call with media Thursday.

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Henry apologizes for ‘communications’ over second-dose cancellations – Business in Vancouver



B.C.’s top doctor is expressing regret over how the province communicated to those expecting to get their second COVID-19 vaccine dose before those appointments were cancelled.

Provincial officials revealed earlier this week the province would expand the interval between first and second doses from six weeks to 16 weeks in a bid to immunize more British Columbians sooner, albeit with lower levels of protection.

This change in strategy resulted in thousands of cancellations of previously scheduled vaccinations that would have delivered second doses to at-risk British Columbians.

“I will regret and apologize to those communities, to the long-term care homes and to the individuals who had a second dose scheduled,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a Thursday (March 4) briefing.

“I regret that our communications weren’t able to keep up as fast as the decision-making, but please know that this was made in the spirit of understanding data and maximizing the benefit.”

B.C. officials justified the decision to expand the interval between doses by pointing to data that shows vaccines are proving to be effective for at least four months after a single dose.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended on Wednesday that provinces should consider significantly delaying administering first and second doses if they’re facing a limited supply of vaccine.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna Inc. (NYSE:MRNA) recommend intervals of three to four weeks, but B.C. had been administering doses six weeks apart since January amid ongoing vaccine shortages.

The shift to 16-week intervals means many second doses for older British Columbians won’t commence until the summer — much later than planned when the province unveiled its strategy in January.

But younger British Columbians who would not have been getting their first doses until the summer are likely to receive those shots by the spring.

Henry said the province is now working on revising its timelines for when British Columbians can expect to be vaccinated.

This comes as the first delivery of 500,000 AstraZeneca plc vaccine doses from the Serum Institute of India are due to arrive in the province by next week.

About 300,000 doses are due to expire April 2 and Henry said she could not yet provide estimates on how many are bound for B.C.

B.C.’s allotment of AstraZeneca doses have been earmarked for first responders and essential workers, which Henry acknowledge as covering a broad swath of people who don’t have the ability to work from home.

“We will prioritize our delivery of these vaccines accordingly and I want to be clear: This is not a random process,” she said.

“This is not me making a decision. We follow a very defined process.”

Henry said NACI’s definition of these workers continues to be refined and the province will refer to those categories when making its decision about which workers to vaccinate first.


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BC reports 564 new COVID-19 cases and four new deaths on March 4th – Victoria Buzz



(Dr. Bonnie Henry/Photo by Colin Smith Takes Pics)

The B.C. Ministry of Health reported 564 new cases of COVID-19 across the province on Thursday March 4th, for a total of 82,473 cases since the pandemic began.

New cases were reported in these health regions:

Vancouver Coastal Health: 168
Fraser Health: 279
Island Health: 35
Interior Health: 36
Northern Health: 46

The number of active cases in B.C. increased from 4,654 to 4,743.

There are now a total of 248 people in hospital due to COVID-19, 63 of whom are in critical care — ICU or acute care units.

Four new people have died from COVID-related causes, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,376.

8,659 people are under active public health monitoring after exposure to COVID-19.

A total of 76,289 people have recovered from novel coronavirus.


There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks.

There are seven active outbreaks in long-term facilities, three in independent living centres, and eight in acute-care facilities.

Outbreaks and other exposure events can be linked to from the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

More COVID-19 coverage from Victoria Buzz, including local exposures and outbreaks.

Island Health

Island Health is reporting 36 new COVID-19 cases today.

There are 272 active cases remaining in the region, according to Island Health. By Health Service Delivery Area, they are:

  • South Island: 50 (+9)  | Total cases: 646 (+14)
  • Central Island: 154 (-5)| Total cases: 1,420 (+17)
  • North Island: 68 (0) | Total cases: 411 (+5)

One new death was reported in the Island Health region. There are a total of 27 deaths to date.

17 people are currently hospitalized in the Island Health region, including one person in intensive care units.

Vaccinations and Variants

To date, 298,851 (+9,042) doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 86,746 (+130) of which are second doses.

There have been 46 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province.

Of the total number of 246 confirmed variant cases, 16 cases are active and the remaining people have recovered.

Of the total, 218 cases were of the UK variant and 28 cases were of the South Africa variant.

Variant cases have been reported in these health regions:

Vancouver Coastal Health: 60
Fraser Health: 178
Island Health: 6
Interior Health: 2

Some links include:

At the time of this publication, 116,156,575 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded worldwide. 2,579,265 have died, and 91,775,629 have recovered.

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