The major stock indexes in the United States opened higher on Wednesday and kept on ralllying after a long election night produced no clear winner in an historic presidential race.
With votes still being counted in six key battleground states, the Dow Jones Industrial Average vaulted more than 250 points at the open of trading on Wall Street and kept building on those gains.
Around noon in New York, the thirty-share index was up more than 720 points or 2.62 percent at 28,200.13
The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports – was up 3.16 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index surged 4.23 percent as investors piled into tech shares – which have been outsized winners this year.
Wall Street’s main stock indexes finished higher on Tuesday on hopes that a clear winner would emerge from the US presidential race.
Polls showed President Donald Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden had a substantial lead going into Tuesday’s vote, but as the night wore on it became evident that the race had significantly tightened in key swing states.
The race now hinges on vote counts in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nevada.
President Trump has 213 electoral votes while Biden leads with 224. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to secure the White House for four years.
The spectre of a contested election intensified after President Trump tweeted: “We are up BIG, they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
But cooler heads were prevailing on Wall Street on Wednesday.
“The results are not yet clear, but so far President Trump has outperformed polls in most states,” Alec Phillips, a Goldman Sachs analyst said in a Wednesday morning note.
A Democratic majority in the Senate looks less likely as well, he added.
“For fiscal policy, Senate control is at least as important as the White House. Under a narrow Republican Senate majority, we would expect no major tax increases but also a fiscal stimulus package of less than $1 trillion,” Phillips said.
Robard Williams, senior vice president at Moody’s Investor Services, expressed confidence even a contested vote count would not inflict long-term damage on US credit markets.
“While the lack of an immediate conclusion to the election process may increase financial market volatility, our assumption is that US institutions will eventually resolve the delays in vote counting and any subsequent disputes over the results in a manner that is consistent with the established frameworks around the rule of law without causing any meaningful, enduring credit impact,” he wrote.
While the outcome of the US presidential race remains a cliffhanger, investors do have clarity on a key ballot measure in California.
A blow to gig economy workers turned into a big win for Uber and Lyft after Californians overwhelmingly voted in favour of a ballot measure exempting app-based ride-hailing and delivery services from classifying drivers as employees eligible for benefits and job protections.
The win enables Uber and Lyft to preserve their business model that relies on keeping drivers classified as independent contractors.
Shares of Uber were up 14.59 percent around noon in New York, while shares of Lyft were up 12.37 percent.
Peel Public Health reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at Brampton schools – Brampton Guardian
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- Peel Public Health reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at Brampton schools Brampton Guardian
- Toronto enters virus lockdown as US looks to vaccine rollout RFI
- Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Nov. 23 Global News
- Record number of new coronavirus cases reported in Ontario as lockdowns begin in Toronto, Peel CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
- Ontario’s top public health official now plans to push back retirement amid second wave of pandemic CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
- View Full coverage on Google News
Toronto rolling out 'targeted' COVID-19 response for red-hot neighbourhoods – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Toronto is launching an enhanced COVID-19 response program targeting some of the city’s hardest hit neighborhoods.
Mayor John Tory announced the program during the city’s COVID-19 update Monday as the Toronto came under a provincially mandated lockdown to try curb the spread of the disease.
“We can’t stop the spread of COVID-19 in some parts of our city while it rages like wildfire in other parts of the city and we owe it to the most vulnerable to make sure that extra measures are provided, extra supports are provided in their fight against COVID-19,” Tory said. “We have to fight this virus everywhere, and we have to stop it everywhere.”
Data collected by Toronto Public Health have shown that case numbers and positivity rates are higher in certain areas of the city while testing rates are lower, particularly in the northwest corner of the city and northeast Scarborough.
Tory said the data show that the virus is having a disproportionate impact on people who are Indigenous, Black or racialized, precariously employed, live on low income, live in multi-generational housing, or who experience challenges taking time from work when ill.
“We are ramping up our support plan to fix this, in partnership with 11 highly trusted community based partners,” Tory said. “The city is immediately launching an urgent set of initiatives in targeted neighborhoods to increase supports and testing for residents in COVID-19 hotspots.
“This is an all hands on deck effort. Every part of the city government that we can mobilize is involved.”
Those measures will include a broader sharing of public health information, improving access to COVID-19 testing, as well as “critical supports” to those who test positive, and to their families in order to address testing hesitancy.
Tory said the city is working on expanding the number of provincial testing sites, using buses for more mobile testing, and providing more transportation to testing sites with expanded hours.
The city is also continuing to lobby higher levels of government to continue or implement further supports to help those who are most vulnerable.
In particular, Tory said the city is renewing a request for the province to continue a ban on residential evictions during the pandemic.
Another major problem affecting some parts of the city is hesitation to get tested for fear that a positive test will mean loss pf income.
“Right now, people in the City of Toronto are waking up with COVID-19 symptoms, going to work, and giving the virus to their coworkers. Why, because they fear losing their jobs and or their paycheck, and they feel compelled to continue working without getting tested so they can put food on the table,” Tory said.
Tory said current federal and provincial supports for workers who have to take time off to isolate are either inadequate or net well understood. He said he has raised the matter with federal and provincial ministers but in the meantime is calling on employers to “do the right thing” by supporting workers who have to take time off to isolate because they have tested positive or have symptoms.
Following Tory, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa reiterated that many frontline workers are relying on those who can stay home as much as possible to do so.
“We owe it to them, those of us who can choose to keep apart more than others. We owe it to them to choose wisely and in ways that limit the risk for those who don’t have the choice to keep apart, and who may be at an even greater risk of getting sick because of it,” de Villa said. “This is truer for some communities in Toronto than others.”
De Villa said she remains “very worried” about where the city is going in terms of its progress in fighting the pandemic and urged people to reduce unnecessary trips and interactions in order to do their part.
“I urge you to act with the care and caution that we all showed last spring,” she said. “As I’ve said many times, with each choice we are able to make, we can lessen the likelihood of worse infection rates and soften the blow of what is yet to come.”
She said the possibility of allowing gatherings at Christmas and other events into next year depend on how well the city does in containing the spread of the virus during the current lockdown.
'This is actually terrifying': Toronto-area small businesses fight for survival as new lockdown takes effect – theglobeandmail.com
Independent retailers, bars and restaurants in the Toronto region are scrambling to figure out how they will survive the crucial holiday season as renewed lockdown measures forced them to close their doors again on Monday while some big-box store chains can remain open.
After a weekend spent dealing with long lineups and last-minute spending sprees, reality set in on Monday. Frances Watson, a clothing boutique on Toronto’s Queen Street West, typically pulls in half of its annual sales in November and December, and three-quarters of its business comes from walk-in customers – who are now barred from entry.
“This is actually terrifying,” owner Meg Watson said. “It doesn’t seem like it’s really about health when there are other huge stores packed with 60 people in them. … You’re closing me and letting Walmart open?”
Premier Doug Ford announced sweeping shutdowns Friday for Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region that will force small businesses in the massive metropolitan area that sell goods deemed non-essential to rely on pickup and delivery – ahead of a holiday season that many entrepreneurs depend on to help them survive slow winters. Chains including Walmart and Costco, which are exempt from closing because they sell groceries, are allowed to stay open with new 50-per-cent capacity limits.
“Doug Ford signed the death warrant for thousands of small businesses over the weekend,” said Dan Kelly, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in an interview. He hopes the Ontario government will turn around and offer additional subsidies to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and suggests the province could top up the differentials businesses receive from federal rent and wage subsides, which were recently expanded and extended.
“The Ford government has been the slowest in providing any degree of substantive support to independent businesses,” Mr. Kelly said. In a tweet Monday, he decried another apparent provincial inconsistency as people began tweeting that The Bay department store at Queen and Yonge Streets in Toronto was open because it sells food in its basement. Though Ontario later clarified that only big-box retailers with “a full grocery store component” were eligible to stay open (and it specified The Bay is not eligible), it added to the confusion.
Mr. Kelly tweeted that if The Bay could stay open selling groceries, the province should allow “every shuttered small firm to sell chips and chocolate and declare themselves as an essential retailer.”
The CFIB has offered other suggestions to keep small businesses open, including extra-cautious customer limits for indoor shopping. But Ontario’s Associate Minister of Small Business, Prabmeet Sarkaria, declined on Monday to say whether the province was considering the CFIB’s proposals or reversing course in other ways. “The decisions that were made and put forward were with the best advice of health officials advising the government,” he told reporters.
Entrepreneurs in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, where COVID-19 cases have been rising faster than in other parts of the province, now face at least 28 days with no foot traffic, while stores and restaurants in neighbouring jurisdictions such as Vaughan and Oakville are far less restricted. Meanwhile, in Manitoba, even big-box stores can only sell essential goods such as food in-store, with the rest left for pickup.
Manitoba is also offering up to $5,000 in “bridge grants” to locked-down entrepreneurs to cover costs as revenues collapse, with the possibility of more to come, while Quebec has offered locked-down businesses in affected cities up to $15,000 a month to cover eligible costs. Ontario’s new lockdown subsidies have been limited to topping up an existing pool of funding to reduce electricity and property-tax bills, doubling it to $600-million.
“The next five weeks is the biggest time of the year for retailers,” said Steve Long, president of musical instrument and equipment retailer Long & McQuade, which was forced to shut down six locations Sunday evening.
Picking out a guitar or drum kit is often a purchase based on feel or experience – and now Mr. Long worries consumers will instead turn to still-open big-box chains such as Walmart to find other holiday gifts instead. “If you’re going to close retail, don’t close half of retail,” Mr. Long said.
As lockdowns tighten, the country’s economic outlook has dimmed. Prior to the second wave, Bank of Montreal estimated that Canada’s GDP would grow at about an 8-per-cent annualized rate in the fourth quarter. Now, it projects zero growth in the quarter, “which might be optimistic,” strategist Benjamin Reitzes said Monday in a note to clients.
“The structure of the lockdowns in Toronto and Peel will likely have the largest impact on small businesses who are now forced to shut down, driving shoppers to big-box stores,” he said. “This is where the real damage is going to be from this government decision.”
SMBs in Toronto and Peel spent the weekend scrambling. Some bars discounted draught beer to empty their kegs for customers sitting on patios that will no longer be used, while some retailers saw block-long lineups. Mr. Long, of Long & McQuade, said foot traffic was up about 50 per cent on Saturday.
In Scarborough, Taha Yasin has spent $35,000 to build a patio with proper heating and ventilation to entice winter diners to his Pakistani restaurant, Karahi Boys, which specializes in Lahori foods and has another location in Mississauga.
The patio is still not finished, and he expects take-out and delivery revenues to be 25 per cent to 30 per cent of usual levels this winter. “All that investment has gone down the drain,” Mr. Yasin said. “That could have gone to other bills.”
With gyms fully closed, Habitual Fitness & Lifestyle in Mississauga is focusing again on virtual classes. “We had a good turnout in the spring” for online classes, general manager Silvio Mazzulla said. “But it was nothing compared to what we would have [normally] done in revenue during those months.”
The business improvement association in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood has joined forces with the ad agency Local Collective to launch a new shop-local campaign on Tuesday with a stunt meant to starkly illustrate what is at stake. Dozens of shops will be wrapped in “For Lease” signs to warn residents of the ghost town that could result if they desert their local stores for Amazon or big-box shopping this season.
“It’s a visual representation of what you could come to, six months from now, a year from now, if main streets are forgotten during the pandemic,” said Adam Langley, the association’s vice-chair.
With a report from Jeff Gray
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