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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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How To Invest Money Based On Advice From Warren Buffett – Forbes

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How to invest money for beginners can be confusing at best. It’s an important decision with long-term consequences, and everybody seems to have an opinion on the “best” approach. In this article we’ll turn down the noise and listen to the one voice we can trust—Warren Buffett.

Wall Street is noisy. It’s like a craps table in Las Vegas surrounded by conference attendees who have lost count of how many drinks they’ve had.

You’ve got investing apps designed to do one thing—get you to trade. Trade anything. Options, crypto, gold, stocks. They don’t care. As long as you keep trading, the app owners get one step closer to a BDB—a billion-dollar buyout.

You’ve got the media designed to do one thing—get you to watch, listen or click. From pretending that the daily stock market news matters to honking horns or flashing the ticker, they’ll do anything to keep your attention. It keeps the advertising dollars flowing.

You’ve got advisors designed to do one thing—manage your money for a “small” fee. To justify their costs, they’ll create a Rube Goldberg portfolio so complex it makes fluid dynamics seem like child’s play. Add in a little fear-mongering about the next stock market crash, and they’ve convinced you to fork over a percentage of your wealth for the rest of your life.

Warren Buffett on Investing

And then you have Warren Buffett. He eats at McDonalds and drinks Cherry Coke every day. He lives in the same house he bought during the Eisenhower administration. Here’s what he has to say about how both institutions and individuals should invest:

“Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. Those following this path are sure to beat the net results (after fees and expenses) delivered by the great majority of investment professionals.”

This advice is not exactly the kind of thing to make drunken craps players cheer. It’s hard to imagine a stock prognosticator blaring a horn on TV after repeating Mr. Buffett’s advice.

On the other hand, it is the best advice you’ll ever get if your goal is to build wealth. And the good news for new investors is that it’s extremely easy to implement.

Here are a few simple investing strategies that anybody can use to implement Mr. Buffett’s investing advice.

2-Fund Portfolio

In his 2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Mr. Buffett described how he has advised trustees to manage the money he will leave to his wife: “Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard’s.) I believe the trust’s long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors – whether pension funds, institutions or individuals – who employ high-fee managers.”

As Steve Jobs believed, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Investors can implement the above portfolio with just two Vanguard funds:

  • Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares (VFIAX)
  • Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Index Fund Admiral Shares (VSBSX)

3-Fund Portfolio

The one thing missing from the 2-Fund Portfolio is direct exposure to international stocks. Some might argue that such exposure is unnecessary. Most of the companies in the S&P 500 index do business all over the world. For those, like myself, who prefer to have more investment in international markets, the 3-Fund Portfolio is a good option.

It’s a simple asset allocation plan consisting of just three asset classes, U.S. stocks, foreign stocks, and U.S. bonds. This portfolio can easily be implemented with just three mutual funds.

As an example, one could implement this investment plan at Vanguard with the following funds:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX)
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market Fund (VBMFX)

You can find an excellent description of this simple investment plan at Bogleheads.org.

Target Date Retirement Funds

A target date retirement fund enables investors to get instant diversification with just one mutual fund. These funds take your contributions and split them among multiple stock and bond mutual funds. In addition, there is no need to rebalance your investments as you get closer to retirement. Target date retirement funds adjust the allocation between stocks and bonds as the investor nears retirement.

These types of funds are readily available in most 401(k) and other workplace retirement accounts. They are not all created equal, however. Some cost more than others, and the investment strategies vary from one fund family to the next. As a result, it’s important to check the expense ratio of the fund before investing.

Final Thoughts on How to Invest

As one gains more investing experience, he or she may choose to move away from the above options. Some like to take a more active role, particularly as they study and learn more.

The above options, however, are an excellent way to get started as an investor. And these strategies will also serve well those that chose to stick with them over a lifetime of investing.

There is more to investing than just picking a few funds. First, there’s the question of whether to invest in a taxable account or retirement account. And if one chooses a retirement account, there’s still the question of which type of retirement account. There’s also the question of how much to invest and where to open an investment account.

You’ll find these questions covered in detail in this video:

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Europe's Biggest Utility Unveils $190 Billion Investment Plan – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Enel SpA, Europe’s biggest utility, is set to invest 160 billion euros ($190 billion) over the next 10 years on a bet that demand for green energy and electrification will surge globally.

Under Chief Executive Officer Francesco Starace, Enel has sought to ride the accelerating shift to a low-carbon world, committing vast sums of money to expanding its renewable power, networks and energy-efficiency divisions. Its bold investment plan comes as competition for new projects intensifies, with utilities now vying with oil majors pushing more aggressively into the sector.

Enel plans to invest about 40 billion euros over the next three years, driving annual profit gains of as much as 10% over the period, the Rome-based company said Tuesday. Almost half of that spending will be channeled to renewable energies.

It’s a “monster investment” program and is above expectations, Roberto Letizia, an analyst at Equita SIM SpA, said in a note.

Enel’s shares jumped as much as 3.3% in Milan, the most in two weeks. The stock traded up 3.2% at 8.34 euros as of 11:39 a.m. local time, extending its gain this year to 18%.

The utility will offer shareholders a guaranteed fixed dividend with a target of 43 euro cents a share in 2023, the strategic plan shows. An increase in the use of so-called sustainable finance — which will account for about half of total gross debt in 2023 — will allow Enel to lower its cost of borrowing.

Open Fiber

The company made no mention Tuesday of any decision on the potential sale of its 50% stake in telecommunications company Open Fiber SpA. The Italian government, which owns about 24% of Enel, has pressed the utility to sell its holding, which has attracted a 2.65 billion-euro bid from Macquarie Group Ltd.

Starace did however touch on acquisition opportunities, saying Enel would favor distribution networks over generation assets.

“We keep this approach open,” he said during a presentation. If an opportunity arises, “we think this is the right time.”

Enel said almost half of its investments will be directed to developing infrastructure and networks, while the rest will be allocated to power generation. The company expects to have about 120 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2030, almost three times more than the current level.

Enel forecast an increase of 8% to 10% a year in adjusted net income through 2023. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will rise 5% to 6% annually, reaching as much as 21.3 billion euros in 2023.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Germany's Short-Lived Rebound Driven by Consumption, Investment – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — German consumers and companies ramped up spending before a resurgence in coronavirus cases forced authorities to reintroduce restrictions, putting a halt to the recovery in Europe’s largest economy.

Figures from the statistics office show private consumption rose 10.8% in the three months through September with investment up 3.6%, contributing to an overall quarterly expansion of 8.5% — stronger than initially reported. Since then, temporary business closures and rules affecting social activities have plunged parts of the economy back into a slump.

Output is likely to stagnate or even shrink in the final three months of the year, the Bundesbank said last week. While domestic restrictions are weaker and more focused on hospitality and leisure activities than during the first wave, exports are suffering from a resurgence of the virus across Europe, it said.

Sales abroad jumped more than 18% in the third quarter, with imports up some 9%.

A business confidence gauge due later on Tuesday is expected to deteriorate, mirroring trends from across the euro area. Lockdowns have put the 19-nation economy on track for another contraction, according to a survey published Monday.

Germany’s outlook could take a turn for the worse on Wednesday when Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s regional leaders will decide on whether to tighten and extend virus curbs through much of the upcoming holiday season.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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