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North American stock markets staunch the bleeding Tuesday after massive sell-off –



A day after one of their worst days in history, North American stock markets were up slightly on Tuesday as bargain hunters did a little cautious buying on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

The TSX and Dow Jones industrial average both eked out small gains of about one per cent nearing midday. Both jumped toward big gains at the open, before giving up most of them and then seesawing up again.

That was a marked departure from Monday, when the TSX plunged 10 per cent and the Dow lost almost 13 per cent as investors woke up to the reality that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has the potential to wallop the North American economy.

“Surprise, surprise, there was bottom fishing. Investors went bargain hunting,” said Francis Lun, a stock analyst in Hong Kong.

The cautious buying on Tuesday stemmed from hopes that governments at various levels are standing ready to do whatever it takes to keep the economy running amid widespread shutdowns and quarantines.

Closing businesses can help slow the spread of the virus, but it also takes cash out of the pockets of companies and workers.

From parked airplanes to empty restaurants, nobody knows when economies might revive or even when countries will be able to get the spread of the virus under control. That has filtered down into stock markets as just about every sector is worth much less today than it was a few short weeks ago, with the world waking up to the prospect of a worldwide recession.

“The recession we expect now is going to be much deeper – and lasting for at least one quarter more – than our previous forecast,” said economist Stephen Gallagher, with French investment bank Societe Generale. “The pullback could be deeper as cancellations and closures spread.”

Wall Street’s so-called fear gauge, the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, almost doubled on Monday to 82.69. That’s higher than it was during the 2008-09 financial crisis.

The VIX was slightly lower Tuesday but wild swings up and down in markets show volatility is very much the new normal at the moment.

“A slightly more positive tone is sweeping through global financial markets on betting that fiscal relief may be arriving to complement aggressive monetary policy actions,” Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said.

“Details as yet are sparse,” said analyst Jasper Lawler, with the trading platform LCG. “Investors are pinning their hopes on governments flooding people and businesses with enough cash to survive months of a coronavirus-induced lockdown.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 70.77 cents US Tuesday, compared with an average of 71.61 cents US on Monday.

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Ontario COVID-19 deaths jump past 100; caseload more than 4,000 – 680 News



TORONTO — Another 25 people in Ontario have succumbed to COVID-19, bringing the provincial death toll for the virus to 119, health authorities reported on Sunday.

The fatalities come as the overall known caseload jumped past the 4,000 mark with more than 400 new ones reported. More than 150 people were on ventilators.

More than three dozen outbreaks have been reported in nursing homes across the province. The frail elderly are at particular risk for coronavirus, which can produce no or mild symptoms but can also cause lethal pneumonia.

About half the cases in the province are in Toronto, where the latest figures indicated 25 doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers in the city were infected.

Ontario has projected between 3,000 and 15,000 lives that could be lost to the pandemic even with stiff stay-home restrictions.

On Sunday, the union representing correctional officers said about 40 inmates of a large women’s prison in southwestern Ontario were locked down due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Five inmates at Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ont., were infected, Correctional Service Canada said.

The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers also said one guard was infected. Prison staff was being given protective equipment if they need to interact closely with inmates, the union said.

Correctional Service Canada did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

The pandemic has prompted most businesses and public facilities to close down, causing financial havoc across the country.

Ontario Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath called on the provincial government to spend up to $1.15 billion to help small and medium-sized businesses, charities and community-based non-profits survive.

“We not only want them to survive, we want them to be able to keep staff on the payroll as much as possible,” Horwath said in a statement.

The previously announced federal wage subsidy was welcome but simply not enough, Horwath said. The NDP proposal calls among other things for a 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy of up to $10,000 a month for three months and a freeze on utility payments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 5, 2020.

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Saudi Arabia, Russia Push Negotiations for Global Oil Pact – Yahoo Canada Finance



(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia, Russia and other large oil producers are racing to negotiate a deal to stem the historic price crash as diplomats said some progress was made on Sunday.

The talks still face significant obstacles: a meeting of producers from OPEC+ and beyond — delayed once — is only tentatively scheduled for Thursday. Russia and Saudi Arabia want the U.S. to join in, but U.S. President Donald Trump has so far shown little willingness to do so.

Oil diplomats are trying to stitch together a meeting of G20 energy ministers for Friday, as part of the effort to bring the U.S. on board, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Crude prices have fallen 50% this year, as the economic effects of the pandemic have knocked out about a third of global demand. The price crash is so dramatic that it’s threatening the stability of oil-dependent nations, the existence of U.S. shale producers, and poses an extra challenge to central banks.

Even the International Energy Agency, which represents nations that consume oil, is calling for action. And oil officials know that if a deal to cut output in an orderly way isn’t reached, the slump in prices will force some producers to shut down operations as storage on land and at sea is filling up.

The aim of talks, first revealed by Trump last week, is to cut oil production by about 10% — the biggest ever coordinated reduction. Oil rallied on Trump’s comments last week, but then pared those gains as the diplomatic intricacies became clearer.

Cut Together

Saudi Arabia and Russia both say they want the U.S., which has become the world’s largest producer thanks to the shale revolution, to join the cuts. But Trump had only hostile words for OPEC on Saturday, and threatened tariffs on foreign oil.

“If the Americans don’t take part, the problem which existed before for the Russians and Saudis will remain — that they cut output while the U.S ramps it up, and that makes the whole thing impossible,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group that advises the Kremlin.

It’s not clear if Russia and Saudi Arabia will require the U.S. to publicly commit to cut production — a challenge in the private, fragmented American industry — or if a compromise gesture would be enough. Alexander Dynkin, president of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, a state-run think tank, said Moscow would like the U.S. to lift some sanctions as a compromise.

Russia and Saudi Arabia — which sparred publicly between themselves over the weekend — have also disagreed about how they would calculate the cuts, according to a person familiar with the talks.

But in another sign of progress, Norway — which hasn’t joined any production cuts since 2002 — signaled over the weekend it was ready to reduce unilaterally its output if others did. And a senior official from the oil-rich Canadian province of Alberta said it will dial into the oil meeting this week. Iraq’s oil minister said he was optimistic about a deal.

Any agreement will require diplomatic agility at a time when nations are devoting massive resources to fighting the pandemic itself. It’s also a battle of wills between Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and Trump. On all sides, there are maneuvers to avoid blame if negotiations fail.

Trump said Saturday at a White House press briefing he’s opposed OPEC his whole life, and characterized it as a cartel, or monopoly. “I don’t care about OPEC,” he said. He threatened to use tariffs if needed to protect the domestic oil industry, even as he predicted that Saudi Arabia and Russia would come to an agreement.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia postponed its monthly price-setting event for exported oil. Saudi Aramco’s official selling prices for May will be pushed to Thursday, according to people familiar with the situation. The OPEC meeting has also been tentatively rescheduled for Thursday.

The move allows the company to have a better idea of how negotiations are going before setting the prices that are its key weapon in its battle for market share. Last month, it also delayed the event in the midst of wrangling at OPEC+ and responded to the breakdown in those talks with a historic price cut — launching the price war negotiators are now trying to unravel.

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Ontario's hardware stores shift to curbside pickup, delivery during COVID-19 pandemic, – CTV News



Ontario’s hardware stores, cannabis retailers and non-essential construction sites are now required to stay closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ontario Government reduced the list of essential businesses allowed to remain open to 44 categories, including grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and LCBO and Beer Stores.

Hardware stores and cannabis retailers are no longer allowed to stay open for in-store shopping, but can offer online service and curbside pick-up. All non-essential stores must stay closed for two weeks.

Here’s a look at how stores have adjusted their business model due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario Cannabis Store

The Ontario Cannabis Store says you can order online for delivery.

The Ontario Cannabis Store is waiving delivery charges to make its service accessible.

Preston Hardware

Preston Hardware says you can place your order online or by email for curbside pick-up or delivery.

Canadian Tire

All Canadian Tire stores in Ontario must close for in-store shopping.

Canadian Tire says customers can still shop online with free curbside pick-up at stores or delivery

Home Depot

Hope Depot stores in Ontario remain open for curbside pick-up and delivery.

Lowe’s Canada

All Lowe’s stores in Ontario remain open, but only for curbside pick-up following an online order.

Lowe’s also offers delivery options for purchases made online

Home Hardware

Home Hardware says some of its locations are offering delivery-only.

Shoppers are advised to check with their local store about online, phone or email orders.

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