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Major North American indexes up on possible COVID-19 vaccine news – BNN

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TORONTO – Major North American indexes advanced Thursday as news emerged about an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trial.

“Markets are headline-driven as they always are, and this seems to be the latest one and it’s positive,” said Erik Bregar, head of FX strategy at the Exchange Bank of Canada.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 29.38 points to 16,606.76.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 46.85 points to 27,739.73. The S&P 500 index moved up 10.66 points to 3,385.51, while the Nasdaq composite added 118.49 points to 11,264.95.

Markets moved up after headlines said Johnson & Johnson would be soon starting a trial of a vaccine.

The company expects to start a Phase 3 trial on an estimated 60,000 participants on Sept. 5, according to a filing on ClinicalTrials.gov, a database of public and private clinical studies.

“Markets tend to really love these vaccine headlines,” said Bregar, noting this one reads positive on the surface.

“Everything’s kind of been up ever since that,” he said, noting it’s a contrast to early-morning trading when markets were down after disappointing economic data out of the U.S.

After two weeks of declines, the number of workers applying for unemployment in the United States moved up over one million, according to a government report.

That soured investor sentiment for a few hours before the vaccine-related news boosted markets, Bregar said.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.79 cents US compared with 75.92 cents US on Wednesday.

The October crude contract lost 29 cents to US$42.82 per barrel and the September natural gas contract declined by about seven cents to US$2.35 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract shed US$23.80 to US$1,946.50 an ounce and the September copper contract fell nearly five cents to roughly US$2.98 a pound.

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Disney will lay off 28,000 theme parks workers due to coronavirus pandemic – CBC.ca

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Squeezed by attendance limits at its theme parks and other restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it planned to lay off 28,000 workers in its parks division in California and Florida.

Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to non-union hourly workers, Disney officials said.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

In a letter to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said his management team had worked hard to try to avoid layoffs.

He said they had cut expenses, suspended projects and modified operations, but it wasn’t enough given limits on the number of people allowed into the park because of pandemic-related measures.

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business,” he said, “including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.”

Disney officials said the company would provide severance packages for the employees where appropriate, and also offer other services to help workers with job placement.

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INQUINTE.CA | Three presumptive COVID-19 cases at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Belleville – inquinte.ca

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Struggling outdoor equipment retailer MEC opposes efforts to pause sale to Kingswood – CBC.ca

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Beleaguered outdoor recreation retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op is opposing a proposed delay of the company’s sale to a U.S. private investment firm, saying there is “significant urgency” to closing the deal.

Kevin Harding with the Save MEC campaign filed an application in a B.C. court last week to adjourn the sale to California-based Kingswood Capital Management, part of an effort to preserve the retailer’s status as a co-operative.

The group said it wants to “explore alternative options to address MEC’s liquidity issues,” including selling real estate, obtaining operating loans and bringing in a credit card rewards program.

In a response filed Monday, the company doubted the group’s ability to help address MEC’s cash flow issues, noting that the proposed sources of potential funding don’t involve “concrete commitments or realistic options.”

The Vancouver-based company said given the number of factors that need to be addressed before the sale closes, including negotiations with landlords, the proposed adjournment would put the deal in jeopardy.

MEC said it’s urgent for the sale to close before the retailer experiences “significant weekly cash flow losses,” which may worsen with rising COVID-19 rates.

The company added there is a “real risk” that a delay could lead to the closure of MEC’s operations.

“The transaction has to close in a timely manner before MEC’s forecasted losses escalate and in order for the purchaser to take advantage of the upcoming holiday sales periods,” MEC said in the court filing.

The 49-year-old retailer traces its roots back to a group of West Coast mountaineers, who came up with the idea of opening a Canadian outdoor recreation store during a climbing trip to Mount Baker in Washington state.

The grassroots co-operative officially launched in 1971 with six members and about $65 of operating capital.

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