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Retail sales jumped 23% in June, enough to get back above where they were before COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Canadian retailers racked up $53 billion in sales in June, a 23 per cent rise from May and enough to put the figure above where it was in February before COVID-19 walloped Canada’s economy.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that sales were up in all types of stores, but cars and car parts, along with clothing and accessories, led the way.

Sales were 1.3 per cent higher in May than they were in February, the month before large swaths of Canada’s economy including retailers shut down to try to contain the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Retail sales fell by about a third from February through April, before beginning a rebound in May and into June.

Sales of essentials, such as food and medical products, held fairly steady in the early days of the pandemic, as Canadians shopped online for things they deemed necessities but didn’t spend much on anything else.

That trend bounced back in a big way in June as sales of discretionary items saw some of the biggest gains including:

  • Clothing stores, up 142.3 per cent.
  • Furniture and home furnishings, up 70.9 per cent.
  • Building and garden supply stores, up 13 per cent.
  • Cars and car parts, up 53 per cent.
  • Hobby, book and music stores rose by 64.9 per cent. 

The June numbers mean that sales in all those types of stores had surpassed the level they were at before the pandemic hit. 

“It’s a V-shaped recovery for retail sales despite all the doom and gloom in recent months,” Bank of Montreal economist Benjamin Reitzes said in a research note. “Hard to believe anyone would have expected this just a few months ago.”

Ontario leads gains

Sales rose in every province, but as TD Bank economist Ksenia Bushmeneva noted, June’s figure’s were given a boost by the delayed reopening in two of Canada’s hardest hit and most populated provinces.

“There was also a significant regional story to June’s numbers, with Ontario and Quebec — provinces that were more hard-hit by the pandemic — moving further along their reopening processes,” she said. “[But] those eye-popping gains are not expected to last.”

E-commerce continued to do very well, with online sales clocking in at $3.2 billion for the month. That’s an increase of 70 per cent from the level of a year earlier.

That figure does not include sales at online selling giant Amazon.ca, since the data agency does not consider Amazon to be a retailer because it does not have physical locations in Canada. Instead, those sales are booked as wholesale sales.

Overall, retail sales are not just higher than they were before COVID-19, but they’re also now 3.8 per cent higher than where they were a year ago, in June 2019.

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Wall Street opens lower as jobless claims rise – Reuters

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Sept 24 (Reuters) – Wall Street opened lower on Thursday as a surprise increase in weekly jobless claims signaled that a labor market recovery was cooling and that more fiscal support would be necessary to avoid another round of mass layoffs and furloughs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.04 points, or 0.18%, at the open to 26,716.09. The S&P 500 opened lower by 10.78 points, or 0.33%, at 3,226.14, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 81.97 points, or 0.77%, to 10,551.02 at the opening bell. (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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US STOCKS-Tech stocks lift Wall Street as economic rebound slows – Reuters

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(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.)

* Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rise to 870,000

* Nikola slides after Wedbush downgrade

* Accenture drops, BlackBerry rises on quarterly earnings

* Indexes up: Dow 0.39%, S&P 0.54%, Nasdaq 0.81% (Updates to early afternoon)

Sept 24 (Reuters) – Wall Street climbed in choppy trading on Thursday, with investors returning to the perceived safety of technology-related stocks as a surprise rise in weekly jobless claims signaled a slowdown in economic growth.

Nine of the 11 major S&P indexes were trading higher, with information technology leading gains.

Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Netflix Inc , Nvidia Corp and Facebook Inc, which have outperformed at a time of increased economic uncertainty, rose between 0.5% and 2.7%.

“Investors are going to be needing stocks that can weather a lower growth path because if we don’t get another round of fiscal stimulus, there’s not going to be a lot more we can do to continue boosting the economic recovery,” said Max Gokhman, capital markets strategist at Pacific Life Fund Advisors.

Waning hopes of more fiscal stimulus, signs of a faltering business recovery and a sell-off in technology-related names have weighed on U.S. stocks this month.

The S&P 500 briefly fell 10% below its intraday record high hit on Sept. 2. If the benchmark index closes at that level, it will enter correction territory.

Dow constituents, considered a barometer of economic confidence, lagged the S&P 500 on Thursday as data showed 870,000 Americans applied for jobless benefits in the week ended Sept. 19, up from 866,000 in the previous week.

Job cuts have spread to industries such as financial services and technology that were not initially impacted by the mandated business closures in mid-March because of insufficient demand.

At 12:32 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.39%, the S&P 500 was up 0.54% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.81%.

The CBOE volatility index, which is hovering near two-week highs, is expected to climb in the run up to the quarter end next week.

“The key is the VIX index, which has not yet reached levels that would suggest a continued strong move to the downside,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“So you might get a day of bargain hunting followed by a day of selling, but as the last days of September come into place, we should begin to see some sort of window dressing by institutions.”

Homebuilders climbed 0.8% as sales of new single-family homes increased to their highest level in nearly 14 years last month.

Nikola Corp, which is set for its biggest weekly decline ever, shed another 4.3% as Wedbush downgraded the stock to “underperform”.

Accenture Plc fell 6.4% after the IT consulting firm forecast current-quarter revenue below expectations, while, U.S.-listed shares of Canadian security software firm BlackBerry Ltd jumped 5% after it posted a surprise rise in quarterly revenue.

Declining issues nearly matched advancers on the NYSE and the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded seven new highs and 116 new lows. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Etobicoke pub temporarily closes after employee tests positive – CityNews Toronto

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An employee at Firkin on the Bay has tested positive for COVID-19.

The pub is located at 68 Marine Parade Drive near the Lake Shore in Etobicoke.

The pub has temporarily shut it’s doors and in a letter to customers say they are taking necessary steps to ensure that they can reopen when it’s “absolutely safe to do so.”

The employee last worked at the location on September 20 from 10:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Management at the pub say they contacted Toronto Public Health and shared contract tracing details. As per public health officials guidance all employees at the location have gone into self-isolation and will undergo testing before being able to return to work.

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