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At the open: TSX rises in early trading a day after dropping 9.9% – The Globe and Mail

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Canada’s main stock index on Tuesday inched above a four-year low hit in the previous session, helped by a broader recovery in equities, even as concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak weigh on markets.

At 9:53 a.m. ET,the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 19.31 points, or 0.16%, at 12,379.71. On Monday, the index had plummeted nearly 10%.

The benchmark has lost nearly a third of its value since hitting a peak last month as investors fear the economic impact of the virus outbreak, which has disrupted business activity across the globe.

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Materials and consumer staple stocks were the day’s best-performing sectors, although gains were marginal at best.

The energy sector dropped 7.1%, facing continued pressure from weak oil prices following a shock crash last week.

U.S. stock indexes bounced around in early trading Tuesday as investors try to regroup from a punishing day of losses.

Markets remain highly volatile a day after their worst loss in three decades as traders remain uncertain about how badly the coronavirus will hit the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 600 points in early trading, fell 200, then was nearly unchanged after the first half-hour of trading. lt lost nearly 3,000 points a day earlier after President Donald Trump said a recession may be on the way.

The Trump administration is proposing a roughly $850 billion stimulus plan to help the economy, including relief for small businesses and the airline industry, as well as a tax cut for wage-earners, sources told The Associated Press.

The travel industry has been among the industries hardest hit by the outbreak, as planes sit grounded and hotels and casinos shut their doors. Some economists say the global recession has already begun.

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The S&P 500 jumped as much as 3.2% in the first minutes of trading, but the gains quickly vanished and the index was up just 0.1% at mid-morning.

Trading is unsettled around the world. European stocks swung from gains to losses. South Korean stocks fell to their fifth straight loss of 2.5%, but Japanese stocks shook off an early loss to edge higher.

Stocks have had a few rebounds since the market began selling off in mid-February on worries that COVID-19 will slam the economy and corporate profits. But all have ended up short-lived. The S&P 500 has had four days in the last few weeks where it surged more than 4%, a remarkably large amount in normal times, and has slumped more than 2.8% the following day each time.

The S&P 500 is nearly 30% below its record set last month and is back to where it was in late 2018, erasing most of the best year for stocks in decades.

The big question for investors is when the new coronavirus will slow its spread, and when the economy can begin to recover from shutdowns affecting a growing list of industries by the day, from airlines to restaurants.

The virus has spread so quickly that its effects haven’t shown up in much U.S. economic data yet. A report on Monday about manufacturing in New York State was the first piece of evidence that manufacturing is contracting due to the outbreak. On Tuesday, a report showed that retail sales weakened in February, when economists had been expecting a gain.

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“The global recession is here and now,” S&P Global economists wrote in a report Tuesday.

They say initial data from China suggests its economy was hit harder than expected, though it has begun to stabilize. “Europe and the U.S. are following a similar path,” the economists wrote.

Reuters and The Associated Press

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Saudi Arabia, Russia Push Negotiations for Global Oil Pact – Yahoo Canada Finance

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(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia, Russia and other large oil producers are racing to negotiate a deal to stem the historic price crash as diplomats said some progress was made on Sunday.

The talks still face significant obstacles: a meeting of producers from OPEC+ and beyond — delayed once — is only tentatively scheduled for Thursday. Russia and Saudi Arabia want the U.S. to join in, but U.S. President Donald Trump has so far shown little willingness to do so.

Oil diplomats are trying to stitch together a meeting of G20 energy ministers for Friday, as part of the effort to bring the U.S. on board, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Crude prices have fallen 50% this year, as the economic effects of the pandemic have knocked out about a third of global demand. The price crash is so dramatic that it’s threatening the stability of oil-dependent nations, the existence of U.S. shale producers, and poses an extra challenge to central banks.

Even the International Energy Agency, which represents nations that consume oil, is calling for action. And oil officials know that if a deal to cut output in an orderly way isn’t reached, the slump in prices will force some producers to shut down operations as storage on land and at sea is filling up.

The aim of talks, first revealed by Trump last week, is to cut oil production by about 10% — the biggest ever coordinated reduction. Oil rallied on Trump’s comments last week, but then pared those gains as the diplomatic intricacies became clearer.

Cut Together

Saudi Arabia and Russia both say they want the U.S., which has become the world’s largest producer thanks to the shale revolution, to join the cuts. But Trump had only hostile words for OPEC on Saturday, and threatened tariffs on foreign oil.

“If the Americans don’t take part, the problem which existed before for the Russians and Saudis will remain — that they cut output while the U.S ramps it up, and that makes the whole thing impossible,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group that advises the Kremlin.

It’s not clear if Russia and Saudi Arabia will require the U.S. to publicly commit to cut production — a challenge in the private, fragmented American industry — or if a compromise gesture would be enough. Alexander Dynkin, president of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, a state-run think tank, said Moscow would like the U.S. to lift some sanctions as a compromise.

Russia and Saudi Arabia — which sparred publicly between themselves over the weekend — have also disagreed about how they would calculate the cuts, according to a person familiar with the talks.

But in another sign of progress, Norway — which hasn’t joined any production cuts since 2002 — signaled over the weekend it was ready to reduce unilaterally its output if others did. And a senior official from the oil-rich Canadian province of Alberta said it will dial into the oil meeting this week. Iraq’s oil minister said he was optimistic about a deal.

Any agreement will require diplomatic agility at a time when nations are devoting massive resources to fighting the pandemic itself. It’s also a battle of wills between Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and Trump. On all sides, there are maneuvers to avoid blame if negotiations fail.

Trump said Saturday at a White House press briefing he’s opposed OPEC his whole life, and characterized it as a cartel, or monopoly. “I don’t care about OPEC,” he said. He threatened to use tariffs if needed to protect the domestic oil industry, even as he predicted that Saudi Arabia and Russia would come to an agreement.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia postponed its monthly price-setting event for exported oil. Saudi Aramco’s official selling prices for May will be pushed to Thursday, according to people familiar with the situation. The OPEC meeting has also been tentatively rescheduled for Thursday.

The move allows the company to have a better idea of how negotiations are going before setting the prices that are its key weapon in its battle for market share. Last month, it also delayed the event in the midst of wrangling at OPEC+ and responded to the breakdown in those talks with a historic price cut — launching the price war negotiators are now trying to unravel.

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Ontario's hardware stores shift to curbside pickup, delivery during COVID-19 pandemic, – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Ontario’s hardware stores, cannabis retailers and non-essential construction sites are now required to stay closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ontario Government reduced the list of essential businesses allowed to remain open to 44 categories, including grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and LCBO and Beer Stores.

Hardware stores and cannabis retailers are no longer allowed to stay open for in-store shopping, but can offer online service and curbside pick-up. All non-essential stores must stay closed for two weeks.

Here’s a look at how stores have adjusted their business model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario Cannabis Store

The Ontario Cannabis Store says you can order online for delivery.

The Ontario Cannabis Store is waiving delivery charges to make its service accessible.

Preston Hardware

Preston Hardware says you can place your order online or by email for curbside pick-up or delivery.

Canadian Tire

All Canadian Tire stores in Ontario must close for in-store shopping.

Canadian Tire says customers can still shop online with free curbside pick-up at stores or delivery

Home Depot

Hope Depot stores in Ontario remain open for curbside pick-up and delivery.

Lowe’s Canada

All Lowe’s stores in Ontario remain open, but only for curbside pick-up following an online order.

Lowe’s also offers delivery options for purchases made online

Home Hardware

Home Hardware says some of its locations are offering delivery-only.

Shoppers are advised to check with their local store about online, phone or email orders.

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Oil prices set to open lower due to Saudi-Russia row – The Globe and Mail

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting on global energy markets via a video link at his residence outside Moscow, Russia, April 3, 2020.

SPUTNIK/Reuters

Global benchmark oil prices are expected to open lower on Monday as a dispute between top crude exporters Russia and Saudi Arabia raises concerns of another collapse in talks to curb production at a meeting this week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin put the blame for the crash in prices on Saudi Arabia on Friday – prompting a firm response from Riyadh the following day, disputing Putin’s claims.

Crude futures surged for a second day on Friday, with both U.S. and Brent contracts posting their largest weekly percentage gains on record due to hopes that a global deal to cut crude supply worldwide would be struck at talks, which are now set for April 9. [O/R]

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The sharp rebound from weeks of losses came after U.S. President Donald Trump said Moscow and Riyadh would negotiate to end a price war that slashed prices by more than half last month.

“Given the slimmer chances of a deal, prices are likely to give up the gains made last week that were a shortcovering rally induced by Trump’s comments,” said Amrita Sen, co-founder of the Energy Aspects consultancy.

OPEC and its allies are working on a global agreement for an unprecedented oil production cut equivalent to around 10% of worldwide supply in what they expect to be a global effort including countries that do not exert state control over output, such as the United States.

Trump has, however, made no commitment to take the extraordinary step of persuading U.S. companies to cut output.

Per Magnus Nysveen, head of analysis at Rystad Energy, said the decline in global demand due to the coronavirus pandemic and the global lockdowns was larger than the proposed cuts by the OPEC+ alliance.

“It is not strange for the market to hike prices by enthusiasm such as Friday’s, but for the levels to stay stable for more than a day or two, it takes concrete developments and deals on the ground,” he said.

On Friday, Brent crude futures rose 13.9%, or $4.17 a barrel, to settle at $34.11. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 rose $3.02, or 11.93% to settle at $28.34.

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OPEC and its allies postponed an emergency meeting, led by Saudi Arabia, where the oil cuts could be agreed upon. A senior Saudi source told Reuters on Sunday, that the kingdom would host the meeting via video conference on April 9 and the delay was to allow more time to bring other producers on board.

Saudi Aramco will delay the release of its crude official selling prices (OSP) for May until April 10 to wait for the outcome of a meeting between OPEC and its allies regarding possible output cuts, the Saudi source said.

“As Aramco seems to have postponed the release of their official selling prices for May, it seems the kingdom still believes an oil production cut deal is possible,” said UBS commodities analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

“The biggest challenge remains how to split up those cuts among producers, particularly if U.S. oil producers will not join with voluntary cuts.”

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