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Federal government focuses on targeted investment – Sault Star

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The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce held a virtual town hall meeting to focus on the country’s recovery, renewal and rejuvination of the economy following COVID-19.

Canada’s minister of Middle Class Prosperity Mona Fortier speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on December 9, 2019. She spoke to remembers of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday during a virtual town hall.

BLAIR GABLE / REUTERS

The Canadian government is focused to target investment for the middle class that will benefit the economy, the environment and protect the health of its residents, says Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance.

Mona Fortier and Sault MP Terry Sheehan met virtually with chamber of commerce members Tuesday to outline the federal government’s plan to recover, renew and rejuvenate the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortier said the Liberal government will follow the four main pillars outlined in September’s Throne Speech to fight the pandemic, support Canadians, build a stronger economy and promote the country’s diversity.

“Your region has set an example of how to the flatten the curve but we can’t let our guard down,” Fortier told about two-dozen virtual participants.

For business, the plan will include breaking down inter provincial trade barriers that will allow businesses a ‘quick win’ to relaunch their businesses and get the economy moving, she said.

Breaking down inter provincial trade barriers is something the federal government has repeatedly heard from provincial premiers, Fortier said, and vows to work together to do so.

“Since March the Prime Minister has had nine meetings with the premiers to work together and this is one of the common priorities,” she said.

Regulatory barriers have already been removed for things like personal protective equipment which help with Canada’s response to the pandemic. She agrees more needs to be done, including reducing the red tape for those entering the skilled trade to allow them to move between provinces for employment.

Sheehan said the same issue has been discussed at the International Trade Committee meetings, of which he is a member.

“We need all governments, at all levels to keep working together and we need to keep the momentum up,” he said.

Sheehan wants to see more Red Seals created that will allow tradesperson to be recognized for their skills across the country, recognizing a standard of excellence with their trade.

It was also pointed out that while the oil and gas industry is particularly important to the western provinces, Ontario, including Sault Ste. Marie and Northern Ontario, have a role to play by supplying parts and equipment for that industry.

Fortier was also asked her views about a Buy Canada procurement policy.

“That’s exactly where we are going,” she said. “Businesses are stronger when we work together and innovate.”

Fortier said that Industry Minister Navdeep Bains is focusing on a made-in-Canada approach.

Such a procurement policy has recently helped Sault Ste. Marie based China Steel who was awarded a contract to supply product for Canada’s military armoured vehicles.

China Steel, an industrial fabricator and machine shop, was awarded a $1 million sub contract to manufacture components for Canada’s new armoured vehicle fleet.

For Sault Ste. Marie and many parts of Northern Ontario, tourism was also sharply hit during the pandemic.

The minister was asked how Canada will be marketed as a safe travel destination as the pandemic ends.

“That’s difficult to answer with the uncertainty we have now,” Fortier said. “We are trying to support business and non-profits.”

Border restrictions are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the decisions have not been taken lightly, she said, adding that the border closure is under constant evaluation.

The federal government has established a number of emergency response programs also geared to help the tourist industry and support for that sector has been extended until next year, she said.

“We recognize that we have four seasons and support needed may vary from one season to another,” Sheehan said. “We understand the critical need is there.”

Fortier’s participation in the town hall meeting is the second in a series of similar events she is participating in to discuss how to build back a better economy following the pandemic.

She said working with chambers of commerce have helped the federal government better understand business needs and how best businesses can be supported through programs.

“In the long-term, as we look to recovery, we are determined to build back better by addressing the gaps in our social systems, strengthening the middle class, supporting those working hard to join it, generating clean growth and creating jobs,” Fortier said.

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U.S. stocks rebound following rout, bond yields dip

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U.S. shares rebounded on Thursday after falling for three consecutive days and benchmark Treasury yields dipped, as investors snapped up technology stocks and shrugged off worries about rising prices, for now.

After posting their biggest slump in at least 11 weeks on Wednesday, U.S. shares bounced back as cash-flush investors looked past concerns that accelerating inflation may prompt quicker interest rate hikes, and deployed their funds once more.

So intent were investors on leaving inflation worries aside that financial markets barely responded to Thursday’s data, which showed U.S. producer prices posting their biggest annual gain since 2010 in April.

“It’s rebound Thursday,” said John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Private Bank, which manages $20 billion. “Given the money on the sidelines, investors are going to be coming back in.”

Still, Augustine said investors should re-deploy their funds in a measured way because “inflation concerns are not going away”.

By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 1.4%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite narrowed earlier gains to be up 1.3% and 0.9%, respectively.

The MSCI world equity index, which includes 50 countries, also bounced slightly, gaining 0.2%.

U.S. stocks had tumbled earlier this week after data showed U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly jumped by the most in almost 12 years in April.

Some investors now worry that quickening price pressures could lead the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy sooner than expected, and reduce its supply of cheap money that has been propelling financial markets higher.

For now, however, inflation woes took a backseat.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields, which had spiked 7 basis points overnight in the biggest daily rise in two months, edged down by more than 3 basis points to 1.6625% as investors took a breather.

Benchmark two-year Treasury yields also pulled back to 0.1589%.

Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar was steady at 90.727, holding gains eked out on Wednesday when expectations of rate hikes burnished the currency’s appeal.

A firm dollar capped gains in the euro, which edged up 0.1% to $1.20875. [USD/]

The pull-back in Treasury yields helped gold to recoup some of Wednesday’s losses, when the jump in bond yields dampened the allure of non-yielding bullion. Spot gold climbed 0.7% off a one-week low to $1,825.61 per ounce.

A recent rally in oil prices also paused on Thursday as investors turned their attention to the coronavirus crisis in India, and as a key U.S. fuel pipeline resumed operations.

Brent crude slumped 3.5% to $66.93 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 3.8% to $63.53 a barrel.

Among cryptocurrencies, bitcoin, which tumbled 13% overnight when Elon Musk said Tesla would stop accepting it as payment because of its high energy use, fell below $50,000 again on Thursday following reports that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating crypto exchange Binance.

By midday, bitcoin had dropped 2.2% to $48.314.

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; additional reporting by Tom Wilson and Marc Jones in London; Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing Nick Macfie, Dan Grebler and Cynthia Osterman)

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Dogecoin dropped after Elon Musk calls it a ‘hustle’ on ‘SNL’ show

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By Alden Bentley and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The value of dogecoin dropped sharply in early U.S. hours on Sunday, after Tesla chief and cryptocurrency supporter Elon Musk called it a ‘hustle’ during his guest-host spot on the “Saturday Night Live” comedy sketch TV show.

Dogecoin was quoted as low as $0.47 on crypto exchange Binance, down 28% from levels around $0.65 before the show.

The billionaire Tesla Inc chief executive hosted the show at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday (0330 GMT on Sunday).

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts had for days been eager to see what he would say, after his tweets this year turned the once-obscure digital currency into a speculator’s dream.

Asked ‘what is dogecoin’, Musk replied, “It’s the future of currency. It’s an unstoppable financial vehicle that’s going to take over the world.”

When a show cast member Michael Che countered, “So, it’s a hustle?”, Musk replied, “Yeah, it’s a hustle.” And laughed.

Musk is the rare business mogul to have been asked to host the venerable comedy TV show. The timing puts Musk back in the spotlight just as Tesla’s stock is losing steam following last year’s monster rally.

The unconventional CEO has posted numerous comments about cryptocurrencies on Twitter and criticized regular old cash for having negative real interest rates.

“Only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere,” he said in February.

His cryptic tweets “Doge” and “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto” that month kicked off a rally in dogecoin – created as a parody on the more mainstream bitcoin and ethereum.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted: “Cryptocurrency is promising, but please invest with caution!” with a video clip attached in which he said, “it should be considered speculation at this point. And so, you know, don’t don’t go too far in the crypto speculation …”

But he also said, in the video, that cryptocurrency has a “good chance” of becoming what he called “the future currency of the Earth.”

On crypto data tracker CoinGecko.com, dogecoin has jumped more than 800% over the last month and is now the fourth-largest digital currency, with a market capitalization of $73 billion. It hit a record high Thursday above $0.73.

It has overtaken more widely used cryptocurrencies such as litecoin and tether.

Tesla said in February it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment for its electric cars, a large stride toward mainstream acceptance that sent bitcoin soaring to a record high of nearly $62,000.

Tesla shares closed 1.3% higher at $672.37 on Friday.

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Alden Bentley in New York, and Noel Randewich and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco Additional reporting by Joe White and Vidya RanganathanEditing by Matthew Lewis & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Wealthsimple hits $4 billion valuation on funding from Ryan Reynolds, Drake

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Wealthsimple

(Reuters) -Wealthsimple said on Monday it has raised C$750 million ($610.40 million) in its latest funding round, which more than doubled the Canadian fintech company‘s valuation to C$5 billion.

The latest funding round included participation from celebrities Drake, Michael Fox and Ryan Reynolds, according to the company.

The Toronto-based company that has helped make stock trading, peer-to-peer money transfers and tax filing easily accessible, said it will use the amount raised to further expand its market position, product suite and team.

The latest funding round, led by venture capital firms Meritech and Greylock, also includes investments from iNovia, Sagard, TSV and Redpoint.

The funding consists of C$250 million primary fundraising by Wealthsimple and a C$500 million secondary offering by holding company Power Corp of Canada, its largest shareholder.

Wealthsimple said it has seen rapid growth in the past 14 months as Canadians took an interest in stock trading during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the company said it plans to grow revenue by adding premium features for its clients.

($1 = 1.2288 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shounak Dasgupta)

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