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McDonald’s, Pepsi, others should consider pausing Russia operations -NY pension fund

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Major global brands, including McDonald’s Corp, PepsiCo Inc and the Estee Lauder Cos Inc, should consider pausing their operations in Russia, New York state’s pension fund chief wrote in letters to several companies on Friday.

Other companies that received the letter were Mondelez International Inc, Fortinet Inc, Kimberly-Clark Corp, Bunge Ltd, Coty Inc, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc and Trimble Inc.

None of the companies immediately replied to a request for comment.

Political pressure is building for companies to halt business in Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine, and sanctions are making some operations difficult. Some big companies have already said they will stop, including sneaker maker Nike and home furnishings firm IKEA.

The letters from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli urged companies to review their businesses in Russia because they face “significant and growing legal, compliance, operational, human rights and personnel, and reputational risks,” wrote DiNapoli, who oversees the state’s roughly $280 billion pension fund, which owns shares of the companies.

Pausing or ending operations in Russia “would address various investment risks associated with the Russian market and play an important role in condemning Russia’s role in fundamentally undermining the international order that is vital to a strong and healthy global economy,” the letter said.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Home sales tumble again as mortgage rates surge – Business News – Castanet.net

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Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed for the third consecutive month in April as mortgage rates surged, driving up borrowing costs for would-be buyers as home prices soared to new highs.

Existing home sales fell 2.4% last month from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

That was slightly higher than what economists were expecting, according to FactSet. Sales fell 5.9% from April last year. After climbing to a 6.49 million annual rate in January, sales have fallen to the slowest pace since June 2020, when they were running at an annualized rate of 4.77 million homes.

The median home price in April jumped 14.8% from a year ago at this time to $391,200. That’s an all-time high according to data going back to 1999, NAR said.

“Without a doubt, rising mortgage rates, rising prices are hurting affordability, but we should not discount that we’re still lacking inventory,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Fierce competition for limited properties on the market and ultra-low mortgage rates superheated the housing market the last couple of years, but now its cooling as homebuyers face sharply higher home financing costs than a year ago following a rapid rise in mortgage rates.

In April, the weekly average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate home loan climbed above 5% for the first time in more than a decade, crimping would-be homeowners’ purchasing power at the outset of the spring homebuying season, traditionally the busiest period for home sales.

Mortgage rates are climbing following a sharp move up in 10-year Treasury yields, reflecting expectations of higher interest rates overall as the Federal Reserve hikes short-term rates in order to combat the worst inflation in 40 years.

With inflation at a four-decade high, rising mortgage rates, elevated home prices and tight supply of homes for sale, homeownership has become less attainable, especially for first-time buyers.

Higher rates can limit the pool of buyers and cool the rate of home price growth — good news for buyers. But higher rates can also limit affordability.

For now, the housing market continues to favor sellers as buyers vie for a still tight inventory of homes for sale, which has kept pushing up home prices. Even as sales slowed last month, it was common for homes on the market to receive multiple offers.

Inventory levels have to go higher before multiple offers dissipate from the market, Yun said. Until then, prices are likely to move higher.

“We anticipate, again, a continuing decline in home sales, but not necessarily home prices,” he said.

On average, homes sold in just 17 days of hitting the market last month, unchanged from March or April last year. In a market that’s more evenly balanced between buyers and sellers, homes typically remain on the market 45 days.

As is typical in the spring, the number of homes on the market increased in April from the previous month. Some 1.03 million properties were available for sale by the end of April, up 10.8% from March, but down 10.4% from April last year.

At the current sales pace, the level of for-sale properties amounts to a 2.2-month supply, the NAR said. That’s up from 1.9 months in March, and down from 2.3 months a year ago.

Real estate investors and other buyers able to buy a home with just cash, sidestepping the need to rely on financing, accounted for 26% of all sales last month, down from 28% in March, NAR said.

Homes purchased by investors made up 17% of sales in April, down from 18% the previous month, while first-time buyers accounted for 28% of transactions, down from 30% in March and 31% a year ago.

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Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling – Better Dwelling

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  1. Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling  Better Dwelling
  2. Consumer sentiment in Canada posts biggest drop since pandemic onset amid inflation  The Globe and Mail
  3. One of the Hottest Housing Markets in Canada Turns into Buyers’ Market  Bloomberg
  4. View Full coverage on Google News



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Gas prices in Ontario rising: Best time to fill up | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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Gas prices in Ontario dropped 10 cents per litre on Friday ahead of the long weekend, but the relief at the pumps is expected to be short-lived. 

The average price of gas in Ontario dropped to $196.6 per litre Friday, which is a 13-cent drop from Wednesday.

However, President for Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says Ontario gas prices are projected to rise over the next two days.

“We’re going to see a four-cent increase on Saturday and although the markets haven’t settled yet, it’s pretty clear that we are likely looking at about a two-cent increase (on Sunday). In other words, you got the 10 cents off today, it’s going to go up between now and Sunday by about six cents a litre,” he told CP24 Friday morning.

On Wednesday, gas prices hit a whopping $209.9 per litre, and McTeague says gas prices are set to top that in the coming week.

“Next week, the Americans begin their unofficial kickoff to the summer driving season. That’s going to put a lot of pressure on gas prices for us here in Canada. They are really the ones to determine prices for us, they’re a large market. I would expect that we’re going to be back to $2.10 a litre probably within the next week or so.”

Gas prices have been elevated since late February mostly due to fuel supply shortages amid the war in Ukraine and international sanctions that have been imposed as a result.

For the coming summer months, McTeague says the outlook on gas prices is grim partly because of impending weather issues.

“We may see days where we hit $2.30, $2.25 if we’re lucky. American weather problems in the Gulf Coast tend to be a big deal,” he said.

“The summer looks like average prices will get to $2.15 a litre here in the GTA, and right across most of southern Ontario,” he added.

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