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Stock market news live updates: Stocks fall as investors await Fed decision, Powell cues

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U.S. stocks barreled down Wednesday as Wall Street readied for a highly anticipated policy announcement from the Federal Reserve and accompanying remarks from Chair Jerome Powell.

The U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise its key short-term interest rate by 0.75% for a fourth straight time after its two-day meeting concludes at 2 p.m. ET.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell 0.6% in midday trading, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was off by about 0.2%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) slid 1%.

Treasury yields advanced along with equities. The benchmark 10-year note held above 4%, while the rate-sensitive two-year yields hovered around 4.5%.

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On the economic data front, U.S. private payrolls saw an unexpected increase in October, per the ADP’s national employment report, which serves as an imperfect curtain-raiser for the government’s monthly jobs report due out Friday. Wednesday data suggests the labor market remains tight despite the Fed’s efforts to tamp down growth in its fight against inflation, suggesting aggressive rate hikes may continue.

Investors will tune in for Powell’s press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET in the aftermath of the rate decision, set to come along with economic projections from policymakers and the latest dot plot showing each member’s forecast for the U.S. short-term interest rate.

“The focus will be on what comes next, and we expect Chair Powell to hint that the Federal Open Market Committee will likely slow the pace to 50 basis points in December,” economists at Goldman Sachs led by Jan Hatzius said in a recent note.

Any signal from the central bank on a potential easing in the pace of tightening will serve as a tailwind for the major indexes, which closed last month higher on expectations of a policy pivot stoked by chatter from some officials suggesting a scale back of rate increases and global concerns that tightening may trigger financial instability. But some strategists have pushed back against the notion that a shift in the Fed’s path is imminent, with inflation and payrolls still elevated.

“As of now, the inflation and labor market criteria have not been met, so Mr. Powell can’t pre-announce any intention to shift to slower rate increases without contradicting what he said just six weeks ago,” Pantheon Economics Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson said in emailed comments. “Evidence of fading pressure in the pipeline is abundant, but it is yet to hit the numbers which the Fed Chair has said clearly on multiple occasions matter most, namely, the actual core inflation data.”

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03: U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell listens during a meeting with the Treasury Department's Financial Stability Oversight Council at the U.S. Treasury Department on October 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. The council held the meeting to discuss a range of topics including climate-related financial risk and the recent Treasury report on the adoption of cloud services in the financial sector. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03: U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell listens during a meeting with the Treasury Department's Financial Stability Oversight Council at the U.S. Treasury Department on October 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. The council held the meeting to discuss a range of topics including climate-related financial risk and the recent Treasury report on the adoption of cloud services in the financial sector. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 03: U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell listens during a meeting with the U.S. Treasury Department on October 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

On the corporate side, shares of Estée Lauder (EL) sank more than 7% after the company slashed its full-year forecast. The cosmetics maker cited currency headwinds, lockdowns in China, and some U.S. retailers taking its cosmetics and fragrances off of their shelves amid worries of slowing demand.

Paramount (PARA) shares fell as much as 12% after the company reported a hit on profit over investments in content and said weakness in advertising revenue also weighed on the quarter.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) shares gained 3% after the chipmaker reported better-than-feared earnings results, even as fourth quarter revenue guidance fell short of Wall Street estimates.

The dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken September 1, 2020. Picture taken September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/IllustrationThe dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken September 1, 2020. Picture taken September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/Illustration
The dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken September 1, 2020. Picture taken September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/Illustration

Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid owner Match Group (MTCH) shares advanced 5% after financials showed revenue that beat analysts’ estimates and the company vowed to control costs to prepare for a dimmed economic expectations.

Mondelez International (MDLZ) shares advanced 2% in after the Oreo-maker lifted its full-year outlook on sales and profit and indicated shoppers have continued to indulge on snacks and beverages despite inflation’s pinch.

Meanwhile, shares of Airbnb (ABNB) fell nearly 10% after the company warned of slowing fourth-quarter growth as consumers sour on higher cost rentals and favor urban and cross-border destinations.

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Sharing Too Much Information May Hinder Your Job Search

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In Mad Men’s season four episode Waldorf Stories, Roger Sterling tells Don Draper, who’d just interviewed a junior copywriter candidate, who unbeknownst to him was Roger’s wife’s cousin, advice he gave him he knew seldom works in the corporate world: “I told him to be himself. That was pretty mean, I guess.”

The key to getting hired is telling your interviewer what they want to hear without sinking yourself by telling him or her what they don’t need to hear. Always remember: Employers make judgments about what you communicate.

For example, if you live close to the employer, you should let them know, as this will be seen as a plus, whereas if you don’t, you should keep it to yourself. (e.g., If you live quite a distance away, stating your address on your resume could disqualify you as a candidate who’s not “geographically desirable.)

The hiring process, especially at the interview stage, is a process of disqualification. 500 applicants, one position to fill necessitates disqualifying 499 candidates, which makes hiring a fundamentally adversarial process. Therefore, the fewer excuses you give an employer why they shouldn’t hire you, the higher your odds of getting hired.

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I see it all the time: job seekers who run themselves into walls by oversharing. More than once, I wanted to say, “Don’t say that! You’re coming across as if you can’t control yourself.”

Nobody is entitled to acceptance. I know from firsthand experience that being “myself” often has consequences. Call it arrogance or overconfidence; in terms of job searching, I’m a let the chips fall where they may type of guy. For me, it’s imperative I feel welcomed and I’m a good fit. Therefore, throughout the hiring process, I don’t hide my personality, hobbies or how I approach and value my work. If I’m not hired for those reasons—being who I am— which has happened many times, then that’s not an employer I’d be comfortable working for; therefore, I averted what would have been a negative working situation.

Despite my “this is who I am” attitude, I’ll say this as someone who has worked in the corporate world for longer than I care to admit: Sometimes, you need to filter, especially when speaking with someone who can hire you. Learning how to read a room—call it having “social intelligence”—and using your reading to know what to say and, more importantly, what not to say is a skill that’ll serve you well.

It should go without saying that what you communicate about yourself will influence what the other person thinks of you. Hence, before “communicating,” ask yourself if what you’re about to reveal, be it on your resume, LinkedIn profile, social media or especially during an interview, will help or hinder you. What will the reader/person you’re speaking with do with the information you’re offering?

Over the years, I’ve interviewed many different personality-type people, resulting in some interesting interactions. I once had a candidate reveal they were seriously contemplating having a sex change and were in the process of consulting doctors. I still have no clue why they decided to bring this up.

When communicating with employers, only share relevant information about yourself that will sell you as an asset to the bottom line and enable them to gauge you as you want them to, thereby influencing some, but not all, of the employer’s hiring decision-making narrative, including, but again not all, biases. For me, I want a potential employer to gauge whether I, as authentic me (key), will be a fit, thus why I communicate who I am as much as I do. I don’t want to put on a show to be accepted, only to end up in a workplace that doesn’t work for me. NOTE: I speak for myself.

Suppose you want to convey you’re a team player. In this case, besides offering examples from your work history, mention you play in an adult baseball league. Want your interviewer to see you as someone creative? Then, mention you paint landscapes. Compassionate? Let your interviewer know you volunteer at the local suicide hotline. Healthy? Mention you jog 5 km every evening to unwind.

Fair or not, everything you communicate about yourself, including your speech (e.g., vocabulary, pronunciation, use of profanity) and physical appearance, is used to form an opinion about you. You control much of how people perceive you, which means you control the determining hiring decision factor: Hiring managers hire candidates they feel good about.

As a rule, steer clear of the obvious taboo subjects—religion, politics, gossip, conspiracy theories and partying. In addition, don’t bring up:

  • Your finances.
  • Having a side business.
  • Your retirement plans.
  • That you’re desperate for a job.
  • Health issues that won’t interfere with your job performance or require special accommodations.

When you overshare, especially during an interview, you increase the odds of providing information that’ll be used to disqualify you. Before you say anything, post it on your social media or LinkedIn profile or include it on your resume; think carefully about how you’ll be perceived, then act accordingly.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to [email protected].

 

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B.C. cyberattack: 1.5 billion ‘unauthorized access attempts’ daily

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Careful attention to government statements and legislation is required to get a handle on the level of risk British Columbians’ information is under, as investigators probe multiple breaches under a continued barrage of attacks.

Government sources have confirmed to CTV News that various government ministries and agencies, along with their associated websites, networks, and servers, face approximately 1.5 billion “unauthorized access” or hacking attempts daily. That represents an increase over the last few years, and explains why the province adds millions of dollars per year to its cybersecurity budget.

Public Safety Minister, Mike Farnworth, sought to reassure the public that “there’s no evidence at this point that any sensitive personal information was accessed” and was adamant that no ransom demands have been made yet. He confirmed police and federal agencies are involved.

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But Wednesday’s late-afternoon statement from the premier’s office acknowledging the provincial IT infrastructure had been compromised, a week after CTV News was first to report public employees began receiving urgent bulletins to immediately change their passwords, includes important clues. 

It notes “sophisticated cybersecurity incidents,” plural and that government has notified the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The OIPC declined our interview request and referred us to provincial legislation requiring public bodies to notify his office when there are privacy breaches that “could reasonably be expected to result in significant harm” to physical well-being, reputation, finances, employment, or property.

While Opposition Leader, Kevin Falcon, blasted the government for withholding notification of the attack for at least a week, and doing so an hour before a highly-anticipated Canucks playoff game, one expert is siding with Farnworth’s insistence that delay was necessary.

University of British Columbia associate professor, Thomas Pasquier, specializes in cybersecurity investigations and agrees with government technology experts and third-party advisors who prioritized securing the networks and finding where the breaches were successful.

“It’s important to understand the source and understand what has been done after the initial compromise and how it propagated,” he said. “It could be multiple things, including a phishing attack or a misconfigured database and an attacker got access.”

The federal Communications Security Establishment, which oversees the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, confirms: “we are working with officials in British Columbia to support their efforts to mitigate the incident” but wouldn’t provide further details. In their email statement they emphasized “cyber threats remain a persistent threat to Canadian organizations, as well as critical infrastructure owners and operators.”

Pasquier urged the government to provide more transparency, but also speculated “the attack may be still ongoing and the investigation is not clear, potentially, about the exact source and the exact extent of the compromise.”

 

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Canfor shuttering sawmill and pulp line production in B.C.

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Canfor Corp. (TSX:CFP) will permanently shutter a sawmill in Bear Lake, B.C., indefinitely curtail one production line at a pulp mill, and suspend a planned investment to revitalize its shuttered sawmill in Houston, B.C.

Canfor blamed “persistent shortage of economically available timber and challenging operating conditions in northern British Columbia” for the closure decisions.

The closure plans include permanently shutting down its Polar sawmill in Bear Lake, north of Prince George. That closure alone will affect 180 employees.

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Canfor Pulp Products Inc. (TSX:CFX) simultaneously announced it will indefinitely curtail one production line at its Northwood facility in Prince George. The curtailment of that production line is expected to affect 220 works.

Canfor also announced that a previously announced plan to invest in the revitalization of its Houston, B.C. mill, which it previously shut down, has been shelved.

Last year, Canfor announced it was shutting down its Houston sawmill, but said planned to redevelop the mill. That announcement came after the company announced it would permanently shut down its pulp mill in Prince George.

But Canfor said Thursday it is shelving the Houston mill redevelopment. The company blamed provincial policies for a shrinking timber supply.

“The ability to reliably access enough economic timber to run our manufacturing facilities is critical for our business,” Canfor president Don Kayne said in a press release.

“Unfortunately, while our province has a sufficient supply of timber available for harvest as confirmed by the Allowable Annual Cut set by BC’s Chief Forester, the actual harvest level has declined dramatically in recent years.

“In 2023 the actual harvest was 42 percent lower than the allowable cut, a level not seen since the 1960s. While this decline is partly the result of natural disturbances – beetle infestations and wildfire particularly – it is also the result of the cumulative impact of policy changes and increased regulatory complexity.

“These choices and changes have hampered our ability to consistently access enough economic fibre to support our manufacturing facilities and forced the closure or curtailment of many forest sector operations, including our Polar sawmill.”

Canfor Pulp CEO Kevin Edgson likewise said a lack of fibre was to blame for the decision to shut down one production line at its Northwood pulp mill in Prince George.

“The persistent shortage of economic fibre, particularly in the Prince George region, has led to the closure or curtailment of a number of sawmills, which in turn has dramatically reduced the volume of chips available to meet the needs of our pulp operations,” he said in a press release.

“Despite exhaustive efforts, including expanding well beyond our traditional operating region, there is simply not enough residual fibre to supply the current production capacity of all our operations.”

Canfor Pulp operates two pulp production lines at its Northwood mill in Prince George and one production line at its nearby Intercon facility. The company said it will continue to operate both lines at Northwood over the next few weeks, then wind down operations to a single production line at the beginning of the third quarter.

 

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