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Many Canadians believe worst is yet to come in COVID-19 pandemic: poll – News 1130



VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Despite B.C. recording its deadliest COVID-19 numbers yet, many people think the worst of the pandemic is still ahead of us.

With no guarantee for when the health crisis will end, people increasingly are feeling grim about growing case and death toll numbers in this country, according to a poll from Research Co.

Pollster Mario Canseco says a lot has changed in just a few months.

“It started to get a little bit better when it came to the way Canadians perceived this COVID-19 pandemic in the summer. But now, we’re back to the level we had a couple of months into the lockdown. So, definitely, the views of many Canadians are turning sour,” he tells NEWS 1130.

The survey has found that 64 per cent of Canadians polled believe “the worst of the pandemic is ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ ahead of us.”

That, Canseco notes, is an 18-point increase from September.

“I think it’s a combination of factors. We are heading into the end of the year, the holiday season. We might be in a situation where it’s going to be difficult to get together with family. When we were first asking about this back in March and April, you saw a lot of people who expected this crisis to last five or six months, maybe seven months,” he says.

“The idea that we were going to be heading into, probably, a second lockdown in some parts of the country right before the holidays was not something that was fathomable for a lot of Canadians, but now seems to be something that could be happening fairly soon.”

Meanwhile, Research Co. has also found many Canadians are in favour of staying put.

Restrictions on travel

Canseco says there’s been consistent support when it comes to dealing with travel.

“Ninety-two per cent say it’s a good decision to keep the border with the United States closed to non-essential travel, 90 per cent saying everybody who travels into Canada has to go into a mandatory quarantine.”

In addition to that, Canseco says 82 per cent of respondents are in support of prohibiting non-essential travel between provinces, while 75 per cent say they’d endorse limiting travel within their province.

“The level of support for something like this is quite high and it’s really not something that I expected to see. I thought it was going to go, maybe, 50/50. The holidays are coming, people don’t want to say that they would be happy curtailing travel plans. But now that we see the magnitude of the situation, the number of cases, there are definitely more Canadians who say let’s not even travel from within our own provinces because the spread hasn’t been contained yet.”

When it comes to how the federal government has been handling the health crisis, British Columbians showed the highest level of satisfaction out of the four most populous provinces.

And as we wait patiently for a vaccine, more than 70 per cent say they’ll definitely or probably get one as soon as they’re able to, not marking a significant change from what was seen in the last survey.

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Credit Suisse stops custodian service for some U.S. cannabis stocks



By Shariq Khan and Matt Scuffham

(Reuters) – Credit Suisse Group AG has told customers in recent months it will no longer execute transactions in shares of cannabis companies with U.S. operations or hold them on behalf of clients, a cannabis company executive and other industry sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Swiss lender was among a handful of banks that had been willing to buy and sell marijuana-related stocks for clients in the United States and hold those shares as a custodian.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Cannabis remains illegal under U.S. federal law, even though many states have legalized its use. This represents a legal risk for investment banks working for companies that produce or trade the drug.

Credit Suisse’s compliance and risk management procedures have come under scrutiny from investors and analysts after it lost at least $4.7 billion from the collapse of Archegos, an investment firm dedicated to managing the fortune of hedge fund veteran Bill Hwang, as well as the suspension of funds linked to insolvent supply chain finance company Greensill.

The MSOS exchange-traded fund, which tracks U.S. marijuana stocks, has fallen by more than a fifth since early February. Several market players said they believed Credit Suisse’s actions played a role in the selloff.

“(When) Credit Suisse pulled custodian (services) on cannabis stocks, a number of large investors in the space lost their ability to custodian the stocks,” said Abner Kurtin, Chief Executive Officer of newly-floated marijuana grower Ascend Wellness Holdings Inc.

“That led to a significant selloff.”

A custodian bank holds customers’ securities for safekeeping, to prevent them from being stolen or lost, while also collecting dividends and handling other corporate actions. It plays an important role in helping many investors to hold shares in companies.

The weed industry has boomed over the last three years, as Canada and a succession of U.S. states, including most recently New York and New Jersey, legalized recreational use.

Credit Suisse shares are down over 20% so far this year, and the bank has said it is cutting its prime brokerage business, which caters to hedge fund clients, by about a third.


(Reporting by Shariq Khan and Matt Scuffham; Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Sun Life’s misses first-quarter profit estimates



Sun Life

TORONTO (Reuters) – Sun Life Financial Inc on Wednesday missed analyst estimates for first-quarter core profit, which rose from a year earlier due to business growth and earnings in its asset management and Canadian units.

Underlying profit was C$850 million ($693 million), or 1.45 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended March 31, from C$770 million, or C$1.31, a year earlier. Analysts had expected C$1.46 a share.

Reported net income jumped to C$937 million, or C$1.59 a share, from C$391 million, or 67 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

($1 = 1.2266 Canadian dollars)

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Manulife, Sun Life post improved first-quarter core profits on business growth, investments




TORONTO (Reuters) – Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial Inc on Wednesday reported increased core profits from a year ago, driven in part by business growth and improved earnings across all major business units.

But while Manulife beat analyst expectations for the quarter ended March 31, Sun Life missed estimates.

Payouts globally have risen due to claims related to the coronavirus pandemic, but strength in stock markets has helped soften some of that impact. Earnings of Canada‘s top two insurers were affected by steepening yield curves in North America.

While it tempered Sun Life’s results, the No. 2 insurer still saw reported profit more than double from a year ago as a result of favourable equity markets and interest rate changes.

Sun Life also took an after-tax restructuring charge of C$57 million related to changes it is making to its workspace, the company said.

Manulife reported core earnings of C$1.6 billion ($1.3 billion), or 82 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended March 31, from C$1 billion, or 51 Canadian cents, a year earlier. Analysts had expected 77 Canadian cents.

Reported net income attributable to shareholders declined to C$783 million, or 38 Canadian cents, from C$1.3 billion, or 64 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Sun Life reported underlying profit of C$850 million ($693 million), or 1.45 Canadian cents a share, in the three months ended March 31, from C$770 million, or C$1.31, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected C$870.8 million or C$1.46 a share.

Reported net income jumped to C$937 million, or C$1.59 a share, from C$391 million, or 67 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

($1 = 1.2277 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

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