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Federal government posts $95.6 billion deficit for 2021-2022 fiscal year – Yahoo Canada Finance



OTTAWA — The federal government posted a deficit of $95.6 billion for its 2021-22 fiscal year.

In its monthly fiscal monitor report, the Finance Department says the tally for the April 2021 to March 2022 period compared with a deficit of $314.0 billion a year earlier.

Program expenses, excluding net actuarial losses, totalled $457.3 billion, down from $577.6 billion a year earlier due in large part to lower transfers to businesses, individuals, and other levels of government.

Public debt charges rose to $24.8 billion compared with $20.5 billion a year earlier.

Revenue for the fiscal year totalled $396.8 billion, up from $299.5 billion, due to higher tax and other revenues.

Net actuarial losses were $10.3 billion, down from $15.4 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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Air passengers question baggage delays at Halifax airport – CTV News Atlantic



After a week in Florida with her folks, Jillian and Justin Bean should be fairly well-rested, but that’s not quite the case thanks to an unusual experience at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport when they touched down Sunday night.

Although their flight was direct, their departure was delayed in Orlando by three or four hours, which apparently caused another problem when they landed in Halifax.

After deplaning from the international flight, the process seemed typical until passengers tried to collect their baggage — a necessary step to clear customs and go home.

Minutes turned to hours, with passengers getting increasingly agitated by the delay and no one providing answers about what was going on.

“Two hours in, pretty frustrated,” Justin Bean told CTV News.

“We were already on a four-hour delay on the way in. And then, to arrive with no explanation or direction from anyone, whether it was airport security or WestJet, just standing around waiting, and the stress level increasing as all the passengers were talking to each other and trying to come up with assumptions as to what was going.”

“That’s the whole problem,” added Jillian Bean.

“That’s why I’m upset: there’s such a lack of accountability here.”

Video from the scene showed a number of passengers gathered around a WestJet agent, who’s heard saying, “I’m just coming out here to deliver a message. I’m not a lead. I’m not anybody in control.”

Two Halifax Regional Police officers also showed up, but it’s unclear who called them.

Justin Bean says that proved to be disappointing as well.

“Well, at first, we thought, ’Great, we can leave. They’ll let us out of the door. It seems like a human right,'” said Bean.

“But, in reality, it kind of felt like the cops were there to keep the mob at bay while WestJet did their thing behind the scenes.”

In an email to CTV News Monday afternoon, the airline acknowledged the problem and apologized.

“We can confirm that WestJet flight 1041, travelling between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ), experienced a delay at MCO and consequently arrived late in Halifax yesterday evening,” wrote WestJet media relations advisor Madison Kruger.

“Upon arrival, our third-party service providers, including our baggage handlers, across YHZ were working through significant delays due to many off-schedule arrivals and resource constraints, which resulted in a substantial and unfortunate delay in providing guests with their baggage following their flight.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience our guests faced as a result and appreciate their patience; we understand how impactful it can be when travel does not go as planned.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to deliver the WestJet experience our guests expect and deserve.”

“Across our network, we are working alongside our third-party service providers to alleviate baggage delays and have invested in additional WestJet oversight to support our providers responsible for actioning and delivering our baggage services in a timely manner.

There’s little doubt there’s been a major increase in air travel in recent months, and airport officials admit staffing shortages continue to be an issue.

“Many of our partners continue to experience staff shortages, and of course, there’s now an increase in demand after two years of very little activity,” said Tiffany Chase, the director of public affairs, marketing and customer relations at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

The Bean family, who were travelling with their 18-month-old toddler Oliver, did get to speak with WestJet customer service on the phone early Monday afternoon and were directed to file for compensation through the website.

Jillian Bean says they will likely do that, but in the meantime, she remains disappointed by the experience.

“We need to figure out some other way to do it if you’re going to continue to encourage people to travel,” she said.

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The close: Wall Street sharply lower as consumer pessimism stokes recession fears – The Globe and Mail



Wall Street tumbled in a broad sell-off on Tuesday as dire consumer confidence data dampened investor optimism and fueled worries that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive battle against inflation could tip the economy into recession.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell about 2% and 3%, respectively, with Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and weighing the heaviest. The blue-chip Dow shed about 1.6%.

But in Canada, the TSX closed with only slim losses thanks to a rally in the energy sector. The heavyweight financials sector also held relatively steady, sheltering the Canadian benchmark index from deeper losses.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended down 35.58 points, or 0.2%, at 19,222.74, holding on to much of its gains over the previous two days.

The Toronto market’s technology sector fell 2.2%, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, ended 1.6% lower.

In contrast, energy rallied 4.2%, gaining for a third straight day, as U.S. crude oil futures settled 2% higher at $111.76 a barrel.

Supportive of oil, major producers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates looked unlikely to be able to boost output significantly while Western governments agreed to explore ways to cap the price of Russian oil.

The rally for energy in recent days offers “a glimmer of hope that the TSX can go back to outperforming some of the global markets,” said Greg Taylor, a portfolio manager at Purpose Investments.

The Toronto market has had a volatile second quarter. Still, its decline of 9.4% since the start of the year is much less than for the S&P 500, which is on track for its biggest first-half percentage drop since 1970.

All three U.S. indexes are on course to notch two straight quarterly declines for the first time since 2015.

“At some point this aggressive selling is going to dissipate but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be anytime soon,” said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist Ingalls & Snyder in New York.

Data released on Tuesday morning showed the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index dropping to the lowest it has been since February 2021, with near-term expectations reaching its most pessimistic level in nearly a decade.

The growing gap between the Conference Board’s “current situation” and “expectations” components have widened to levels that often precede recession.

“(Investors are) sitting there wondering whether declining consumer confidence will translate into recession and we haven’t resolved that question,” said Tom Hainlin, national investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “We haven’t seen second quarter earnings reports, so we don’t know if companies are seeing a slowdown.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 491.27 points, or 1.56%, to 30,946.99; the S&P 500 lost 78.56 points, or 2.01%, to 3,821.55 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 343.01 points, or 2.98%, to 11,181.54.

Ten of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 ended the session in negative territory, with consumer discretionary suffering the largest percentage loss. Energy was the sole gainer.

With few market catalysts and market participants gearing up for the July Fourth holiday weekend, the day’s sell-off cannot be blamed entirely on the Consumer Confidence report, said Tom Hainlin, national investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“It’s hard to attribute (market volatility) to one economic data point with so much noise around portfolio rebalancing at quarter-end,” Hainlin said.

“There’s not a lot of new information out there and yet you see this volatile stock environment,” he said, adding that there will not be much new information until companies start earnings.

With several weeks to go until second-quarter reporting commences, 130 S&P 500 companies have pre-announced. Of those, 45 have been positive and 77 have been negative, resulting in a negative/positive ratio of 1.7 stronger than the first quarter but weaker than a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

Among stock moves, Nike Inc slid 7.0% following its lower than expected revenue forecast.

Shares of Occidental Petroleum Corp advanced 4.8% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc raised its stake in the company.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.28-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.70-to-1 ratio favored decliners. The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 29 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 29 new highs and 131 new lows. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.54 billion shares, compared with the 12.99 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Reuters, Globe staff

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Recession risks put Canada's stock market beat in jeopardy – BNN



Recession fears are dimming chances that the Canadian market can continue this year’s outperformance.

While the S&P/TSX Composite Index’s drop is less steep than other global indices, a looming economic downturn could test its resilience. Surging oil and gas prices helped boost energy stocks and kept the 9 per cent slide for Canada’s key benchmark from following the S&P 500 Index to its 19 per cent plunge.

Now those energy price surges are fading amid growing concerns about an economic slowdown, sending some investors fleeing from the value-heavy S&P/TSX. Strategists like Macan Nia, Manulife Asset Management’s co-chief investment officer, are focusing on the next move by US policy makers. 

“If there is a pivot in Fed tone where they become less hawkish, then the US markets will rally versus the TSX,” Nia said in an interview. “The outperformance that we have seen in the first half of the year between Canada and the US — Canada could give that up.”

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Energy stocks dominated in the first half of the year amid a commodity boom as investors sought safe havens amid escalating geopolitical risks. Of the top 10 companies with the strongest gains, nine are oil and gas companies. Athabasca Oil Corp. soared 114 per cent and Tourmaline Oil Corp. surged 72 per cent.

Now, that rally has fallen victim to recession fears because of the potential for lower demand if the economy slows. The S&P/TSX slid from its record high in March into a correction, as financials and materials turned negative, while still managing to outpace the tech-heavy S&P 500.

In part, that’s because oil, mining and financial stocks make up more than 60 per cent of the Canadian index. Those found favor with investors amid a revival of enthusiasm for value stocks.

The Canadian market started the year strong with market strategists broadly calling for the S&P/TSX to outperform its US counterpart. By early April, the benchmark had risen to outdo the S&P 500 in its widest quarterly outperformance in 13 years.

As concerns over a recession escalated, the S&P/TSX gave up those gains. While energy still stands tall as the only sector up this year, it’s down 13 per cent from its peak in early June. Materials erased the climb it made earlier in the year and banks tumbled as low as 20 per cent from their record high in February.

Bank of America Corp. equity strategist Ohsung Kwon is still bullish on Canada’s energy sector. He’s projecting that the S&P/TSX is set to outperform the S&P 500 this year, so long as a recession doesn’t ravage the index’s value stocks.


“Energy still has room to run,” Kwon said in an interview. “Energy stocks are not really pricing in the full benefit of $120 oil and if you look at free cash flow yields for these companies, producers are on average expected to generate 15 per cent free cash flow yield this year compared to the S&P yield of about 5 per cent, so there is still a big valuation discount.”

Other strategists are still convinced that the Canadian market will outperform this year, even if there’s a recession. 

Kurt Reiman, BlackRock Inc.’s chief investment strategist, said energy and materials valuations are low even though their earnings are set for strong growth, and that will propel the S&P/TSX to beat the S&P 500 on an annual basis for the first time since 2016.

“If the risk does grow around a recession and that starts to hit the commodities, then we’ll have a garden-variety selloff,” Reiman said at an advisory conference hosted by Royal Bank of Canada last week. “But our view is that commodity prices are more elevated here and because of the nature of the return of cash to shareholders, we find this to be an attractive relative performer.”

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