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Canadians queue up for chance at winning record $70M Lotto Max jackpot – CBC.ca

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Lineups formed at retailers across the country on Friday as patrons hoped to cash in on the largest lottery jackpot in Canadian history, Ontario’s gaming authority said.

The prize in Friday night’s nationwide Lotto Max draw stood at $70 million, a figure the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. said is the highest ever awarded in Canada. The draw was also to feature at least 10 smaller prizes of $1 million.

Dita Kuhtey, a spokesperson for the lottery corporation, said the traditional sales bump retailers experience when jackpots exceed $50 million appears to be even more pronounced this time as Canadians hope to carve out a slice of the historically large pie.

“There was a steady lineup all day, probably five to six or seven people long,” Kuhtey said of one kiosk in downtown Toronto. “I’ve heard from other retailers on our sales team that there have been some lineups.”

Kuhtey said the current pot has reached stratospheric levels because Lotto Max has not produced a winner since Nov. 26, 2019. Each time the prize goes unclaimed, the pot increases by $5 million, until reaching the $70 million cap, she said.

If no winner emerges after Friday’s draw, the same $70 million prize will be up for grabs again on Tuesday.

‘Biggest jackpot ever offered in Canadian history’

Kuhtey said it’s not yet possible to gauge sales figures for the draw, since historically the bulk of sales takes place in the hours before the results are unveiled. But she said sales in Ontario alone surged 29 per cent between last Friday, when a $60 million prize was up for grabs, and Tuesday when the pot reached $65 million.

“This is the first time we’re hitting that $70 million cap,” Kuhtey said, “Which is why it’s the biggest jackpot ever offered in Canadian history.”

Two major wins took place last year, when Lotto Max draws produced winners worth $65 million each. She said both prizes were claimed on single tickets, one purchased in Quebec and the other in western Canada.

Kuhtey said the spate of big paydays has come about in part due to changes to the draw, which began taking place twice a week as of last year. At that time, the operators also raised the jackpot limit from $60 to $70 million, she said.

Canada’s other national lottery, Lotto 6/49, has also produced at least one comparable winner. Kuhtey said an Ontario winner claimed that lottery’s largest ever pot of $64 million in 2015.

Canadians have until 10:30 p.m. ET to purchase tickets for the Friday Lotto Max draw. The draw follows right after.

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Latest research says combination of throat and nose swabs provides better COVID-19 rapid test results: Nova Scotia Health – CTV News Atlantic

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In a Canadian first, Nova Scotia researchers say COVID-19 rapid tests that include both throat and nose swabs provide greater accuracy in detecting the virus.

Up until now, the instructions provided by the manufacture has been for nasal swab only.

Now, based on research led by Nova Scotia Health’s microbiology team, public health is recommending Nova Scotians using rapid tests swab both their throat and nose when collecting their sample.

In a release Friday, Nova Scotia Health said its working to update the current testing instructions that people receive when they pick up a rapid test.

The research was prompted by public discussion theorizing that a combined sample may produce more accurate results.

Speaking to CTV Thursday, Dr. Todd Hatchette, the chief of the province’s Division of Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, said researchers found using a single swab on a person’s throat first, and then in both nostrils is more effective at detecting Omicron than doing either site alone.

“When we tested just over 1,500 people, we found that either the nose or the throat both detected about 60 per cent of people, but if you did a combined nose / throat, it detected over 82 per cent of people,” said Hatchette.

The research started about a week ago. Officials at the microbiology lab worked with volunteers at the Halifax Convention Centre testing site to collect the data.

In Friday’s release, Nova Scotia Health says collaboration with volunteer-based community rapid testing sites was key to the project’s success and allowed the project to rapidly answer a question that many jurisdictions across the country have been asking.

The investigation compared results of a common rapid take-home test using three sample sites: nasal swab; throat swab and; combined nasal/throat, the release said. All results were confirmed with PCR testing. Compared to PCR test results, samples from nasal or throat swabs each detected 64.5 per cent of cases; however, combining the nose and throat swabs increased sensitivity to 88.7 per cent.

This research project has been submitted for publication.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, speaking Friday from Ottawa, welcomed the Nova Scotia swab study.

“I’ve asked our laboratory network, our laboratory experts, to take that into account and see whether we can provide some sort of guidance,” Tam said. “But, of course, I think we’ve been discovering that the Omicron variant may be behaving a bit differently to the previous variants, so this approach, this swabbing, might be useful.”

One thing to note, public health is advising that if only one location of the sample is being used, it should be the nasal swab, as the throat swab alone is not as effective as the nasal swab.

Nova Scotia is the first to report research results supporting a combined throat/nose collection method for self-administered rapid antigen tests.

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Gold price next week: a breakout or a sideways trap? All eyes on hawkish Fed and stocks volatility – analysts – Kitco NEWS

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(Kitco News) The gold market surprised with a breakout above $1,830 an ounce this week. And analysts say next week will be pivotal in whether gold breaks out or gets stuck in the sideways price action again.

In an unexpected move, the precious metal surged to two-month highs this week, with investors flocking to safe havens as volatility rocked the equity markets ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting next week.

With stocks and the crypto space selling off, money has to go somewhere, RJO Futures senior market strategist Frank Cholly told Kitco News.

“Gold rallied this week due to all the weakness in the equity market. Bitcoin is down pretty good too,” Cholly said. “We have a bottom in gold. The question is, are we going to go lower and stay sideways or climb towards $1,900. The precious metal needs another close above $1,830. It’s critical to hold that level before a move above $1,850.”

The move in gold did surprise some analysts because of how swift it was, said Gainesville Coins precious metals expert Everett Millman.

“The gold market has been going sideways for several months. To see a breakout in either direction was a bit surprising. Coming into this week, sentiment in the gold market was very negative. Many big banks were projecting the gold price to go down. This ended up playing in gold’s favor as negative sentiment set us up for a reversion in another direction,” Millman said.

Also, rising oil prices and strong retail demand have contributed to higher price levels in gold. “Higher oil does make it more expensive to get gold out of the ground. We could see constraints in the gold supply being mined. Plus, the real demand for gold is still strong. The U.S. Mint saw 12-year highs in gold sales, while the Perth Mint saw 10-year highs. Average retail investors are still buying gold at the fastest pace in ten years,” Millman added.

All eyes are on how markets will react to the Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting, scheduled for Wednesday. Cholly estimates to see a steeper sell-off in U.S. equities as the central bank maintains the same level of hawkishness.

“We could go through a more meaningful correction in equities. We’ll have more evidence of the Fed’s direction. And the stock market likes to throw tantrums to get the Fed’s attention. Next week, gold’s strength will hinge on equities moving lower and reallocation of money into precious metals. Silver may even become the leader as we move forward,” Cholly pointed out.

If gold does break above $1,850, it opens the door for $1,870-80 and eventually $1,900, he added.

Fed in focus

The Fed meeting, which will be followed by the central bank Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference, is the biggest macro event next week.

Analysts expect to get more hawkish clues in terms of the first rate hike in March and more clarity around the potential balance sheet runoff. Currently, markets are pricing in four rate hikes in 2022.

“With the Omicron wave now past its peak nationally, there is little to hold the Fed back, particularly if next week brings news of a further acceleration in wage growth,” said Capital Economics chief North America economist Paul Ashworth. “A dissenting vote, to raise rates immediately, from one of the hawkish regional Fed Presidents – who will be voting as part of the annual rotation – could also add fuel to the recent bond market sell-off.”



There is also a risk that the Fed could get even more hawkish by announcing the completion of the tapering process immediately, said ING chief international economist James Knightley.

“The Federal Reserve meeting will be the main focus, and we strongly suspect that we could see the announcement of the ending of QE asset purchases brought forward from the mid-March end-point currently signaled, to an immediate cessation, “Knightley wrote. “In an environment where the economy has fully recovered the lost output from the pandemic, where unemployment is back below 4% and where inflation is at near 40-year highs, it seems strange to say the least for them to continue stimulating the economy.”

Other key data releases to keep an eye on will be Tuesday’s CB consumer confidence, Thursday’s Q4 GDP number, jobless claims and durable goods orders, as well as Friday’s PCE price index.

“We expect to learn that fourth-quarter GDP growth was a slightly disappointing 4.0% annualized. But markets may focus more on the Employment Cost Index (ECI). Private wage growth hit 4.6% y/y in the third quarter and could have climbed as high 5% in the fourth, which would make a March rate hike a near-certainty,” Ashworth noted.

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Canada Dec retail sales seen down as COVID restrictions bite

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Canadian retail sales most likely fell by 2.1% in December as authorities imposed restrictions to fight the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and retailers faced challenges, Statistics Canada predicted on Friday.

Statscan also said retail sales rose 0.7% in November, which was less than the 1.2% gain forecast by analysts.

The flash estimate for December was based on responses from 50.6% of companies surveyed. The average response rate is 90.0%.

Statscan also said some shoppers decided to pull forward their purchases to November to avoid shortages caused by endemic supply chain issues.

Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said the December dip was a little larger than he had expected.

“Bricks-and-mortar retailers will have likely continued to struggle in January due to Omicron-related restrictions and staff shortages,” he said in a note.

This weakness, he suggested, might “tip the scales slightly” in terms of persuading the Bank of Canada to hold steady when it makes a rate announcement on Jan 26. Money markets see about a 70% chance that the central bank will lift its key overnight rate from the current record low 0.25%. {BOCWATCH]

The bank has previously said it could raise rates as early as soon as April.

Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, said the December decrease in sales was likely to be more than 2.1%, given the rapid spread of Omicron that month.

November’s gain was fueled by higher sales at gasoline stations, and at building materials and gardening equipment and supplies dealers.

Sales rose in six of 11 subsectors, representing 63.8% of retail trade. In volume terms, retail sales edged up 0.2%.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.1% lower at 1.2520 to the greenback, or 79.87 U.S. cents.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Fergal Smith in Toronto; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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