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It's Election Day in America. Here's the Wall Street playbook – CNN

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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
What’s happening: Wall Street is preparing for a long 24 hours. Top strategists told me they’ll be pacing between their TV sets and their Bloomberg terminals. They plan to keep close watch on both early results and US Treasury yields, global stocks and the US dollar.
Most of Wall Street is now expecting a “blue wave,” where former Vice President Joe Biden takes the White House and Democrats win control of the Senate. While that could lead to higher corporate taxes, eventually hitting stocks, investors are mostly honing in on the implications for additional pandemic relief. They’re hopeful that with Democrats in charge, a generous stimulus package north of $2 trillion could be passed quickly.
Most strategists don’t expect this result to materialize overnight, however.
“[The] base case is there is no result, but we’ll see the facts on the ground,” Deepak Puri, Americas chief investment officer at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, told me.
Andy Lewin, a vice president at BGR Group who advises financial services firms on what’s happening in Washington, said that he’s telling clients to first scrutinize early results from Florida, North Carolina and Georgia and Arizona. All four of those states went to President Donald Trump in 2016, and a Biden victory could signal the president is heading for defeat.
“Winning one or more [of these] states makes it more likely Biden wins, and markets will react accordingly,” Lewin told me.
Attention will then turn to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which are expected to take longer to tally their votes given the volume of mail-in ballots and when officials can start counting them.
“With those states processing mail-in ballots very late, finishing the first official count [could take] days after the election, resulting in a period of uncertainty,” Nomura analysts warned clients.
Margins matter: In a tense election year where many investors are worried about a contested result, margins of victory will be important, according to JPMorgan’s strategists.
“A contested election is still likely, but would have less credibility and market impact if election margins are wide and broad,” they said in a recent note.
Given the weight investors are putting on fresh stimulus, they’ll also be closely watching key Senate races. Maine, North Carolina, Iowa and Georgia are the most important states to monitor, per Nomura.
Remember: Markets could pick winners before news outlets do, given a tendency to search for early “tells.” Still, trading is likely to remain turbulent until there’s a clear result. Once that happens, stocks could jump no matter who wins, since it would resolve a source of uncertainty.
“While investors should brace for more volatility as investors respond to the outcome of the US election, we believe a more durable rally in stocks is not far away,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, told clients Tuesday.

Big Tech braces for an unpredictable election

The days — and possibly weeks — after Election Day will be a huge test for platforms like Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Google’s YouTube.
Social media companies have developed game plans for a range of outcomes. But in an unpredictable year, they could still be caught flat-footed, my CNN Business colleague Donie O’Sullivan reports.
The fears: Doctored videos could spread. Fake accounts could pop up. The president himself — who has declined to say he’ll support a peaceful transfer of power if he loses — could even move to undermine election results using his Twitter account.
“My biggest fear at this point is something totally unexpected happening that no one predicted,” one Big Tech employee told Donie, who spoke with more than a dozen people who are either employees on teams countering misinformation and extremism at the major social media platforms, or who work directly with those teams.
New rules: Twitter said Monday that it would label tweets making “claims about election results before they’re officially called,” including assertions made by candidates and campaigns. Facebook similarly has pledged to clarify if vote counting is still in progress should a candidate or party declare “premature victory” before major media outlets call the race.
As tensions run high, one big concern is that divisive online discourse could spark real-world clashes.
“If it isn’t a landslide one way or the other, every race that leans one direction and goes another is a potential flashpoint for offline violence,” one employee at a major social media platform said.
Twitter said that content “inciting interference with the election [or] encouraging violent action or other physical harms” could receive an additional warning label or be taken off the platform. Facebook has said it’s coordinating with state attorneys general and other law enforcement officials responsible for protecting the election.
Ferrari (RACE) reports earnings before US markets open, and Prudential (PBIP) follows after the close. But for markets, it’s all about the US election.
Coming tomorrow: Will there be clarity on the race for the White House and the US Senate? Traders will be glued to the results.

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Pfizer Vaccine Could Get Final FDA Approval by September – NBC News

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B.C. records 342 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily case count since May 27 – CBC.ca

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B.C. health officials announced 342 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest daily case count since May 27. 

In a written statement, the provincial Ministry of Health said there are currently 1,764 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Half the new cases are in B.C.’s Interior. 

The breakdown by region is as follows:

  • 171 new cases in Interior Health, which has 945 active cases. 
  • 66 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 388 active cases.
  • 57 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 258 active cases.
  • 32 new cases in Island Health, which has 109 active cases.
  • 13 new cases in Northern Health, which has 52 active cases.
  • Three new cases of people who reside outside of Canada, a group that has 12 active cases.

There are five active outbreaks in long-term care homes in the province. Four are in the Interior Health region, and one is in Fraser Health. 

A total of 55 people are in hospital. Of those, 23 are in intensive care, up from 20 a week ago.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up 17 per cent from last Wednesday, when 47 people were in hospital with the disease. 

There were no additional deaths in the past 24 hours. The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 1,772 lives lost. 

As of Wednesday,  81.5 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 67.9 per cent a second dose.

Delta variant behind increase in cases

The number of COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant is doubling every seven to 10 days in British Columbia, experts say.

Sarah Otto, an expert in the mathematical models of pandemic growth and evolution at the University of British Columbia, said the variant, which first became prominent in India, is displacing the alpha variant that originated in the United Kingdom.

“Delta is now the most common variant in the province, with its frequency doubling every week relative to alpha,” Otto said.

“The delta variant increases the viral load by about 1,000 fold, making it much easier to catch and transmit.”

Leading vaccines, including those approved for use in Canada, do appear to ward off serious disease that can lead to hospitalization or death.

Walk-in Wednesday

A vaccination blitz is being held Wednesday to increase vaccination rates in the province, with walk-in clinics providing a COVID-19 vaccine to any resident who needs one.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the campaign is an effort to make vaccination as accessible as possible. 

“We have to try everything. There’s a lot at stake for their health, as individuals and a lot at stake for the community’s health,” Dix said.

British Columbians aged 12 and over who have not yet been immunized can register in three ways:

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Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today – CBC.ca

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  • Ottawa reports five more COVID-19 cases Wednesday.
  • There are four more cases in the Outaouais.

Today’s Ottawa update

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported five more COVID-19 cases Wednesday and no new deaths.

The health agency removed 12 cases from its total, as it’s been doing from time to time as it double-checks its database (often due to residents living in other regions).

There are 43 known active cases in the capital.

Its medical officer of health said last week getting vaccinated and following familiar rules such as masking and distancing can stop COVID-19 from taking hold again.

Researchers measuring levels of the coronavirus in Ottawa’s wastewater have found a slight increase at the end of July. (613covid.ca)

Numbers to watch

0.5%: Ottawa’s average COVID-19 test positivity rate is unchanged.

0.95: The number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). A number under one is a sign the spread is slowing.

3.8: The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day total of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents.

0: The number of active COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa.

0: The number of Ottawa residents being treated for COVID-19 in an Ottawa hospital.

768,618: As of Wednesday, the number of Ottawa residents who have received at least the first vaccine dose, about 1,200 more than on Monday..

668,736: The number of Ottawa residents who are fully vaccinated, which is about 6,700 more than two days ago.

83%: The percentage of Ottawa residents 12 and up — all those who are currently eligible for a vaccine — who have at least one vaccine dose.

72%: The percentage of eligible Ottawa residents who are fully vaccinated.

Across the region

There are currently fewer than 100 known active cases in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

Most local health units are generally reporting an average of a new case or two per day at most and aren’t reporting any COVID-19 hospital patients or outbreaks.

The Outaouais has been averaging slightly more cases, including four more cases Wednesday.

An outbreak from a party north of Trenton is now linked to seven confirmed cases.

In eastern Ontario, most units have met the province’s fully vaccinated threshold for the next reopening step.

Ontario is currently under Step 3 of the province’s pandemic reopening plan.

All of Quebec is under green zone rules.

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