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Stock markets rise as investors await decision in uncertain U.S. election –



Stock markets moved higher on Wednesday even as investors digested results of a U.S. election that remained too close to call.

U.S. stock indexes including the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were both up more than two per cent in the afternoon and the technology-focused Nasdaq fared even better.

Shares in large tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Adobe, Apple and Google were all up by more than five per cent. That’s largely because those companies have fared well during the pandemic and are likely to continue to see strong demand for their services no matter who is in the White House.

The TSX was a little more muted, with the main index up about 100 points or half a per cent. Energy companies and financial firms gained ground, while most other sectors lost ground.

The election outcome is of particular interest to Canadian energy companies, since the two presidential candidates have wildly different policies for the oil and gas sector. Donald Trump is more open to energy exploration, but favours U.S. firms. Joe Biden, meanwhile, is perceived to be a net negative for Canada’s oilpatch, but the sector will face challenges no matter who wins.

“Although tariffs on energy are less likely, tariffs on other products, such as steel and aluminum, may continue,” TD Bank chief economist Beata Caranci said in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Canadian producers know this all too well.”

One sector of the TSX that was a clear loser on the day was cannabis stocks, which saw something of a mixed bag in the results. On the upside, four more states voted to legalize recreational use of the drug with New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota becoming the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th states to do so.

But a Congress and White House divided across party lines is unlikely to see more drug liberalization laws come to pass anytime soon.

Business professor Michael Armstrong at Brock University studies the cannabis market, and he says more states legalizing cannabis is likely to add pressure to the federal government to do something, but Republican control of the Senate makes full legalization unlikely.

“In the next Congress you’re going to have more representatives representing states where they have local cannabis businesses,” he said in an interview. “They are going to have a strong incentive to support legalization at the federal level.”

That would be good news for cannabis companies, who have been waiting for permission to sell into the U.S. market.

But since it’s unlikely to happen, those same companies now face a bleaker prospect. Shares in Canada’s two biggest cannabis companies, Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis, both lost almost 10 per cent of their value.

Other sectors

Manulife’s chief investment strategist Philip Petursson said September and October during election years are typically bad months for the stock market, but November and December tend to be good. So Wednesday’s buying makes a lot of sense. 

Dennis Mitchell is CEO of Toronto-based money manager Starlight Capital. (Starlight Capital)

“Markets are already looking past the election to a continued recovery and favourable seasonality,” Petursson said. “Trying to gain an edge in the equity markets based upon potential or real election results is a greatly unrewarding exercise.”

While the winner of the election is still unknown, it’s looking more and more clear that the expected Democratic sweep of all three branches of government is not happening, which means that more gridlock in Washington can be expected.

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, at least from the perspective of the stock market. Should Biden emerge victorious while the two branches of Congress remain as they were, that could be an ideal situation for markets, said Dennis Mitchell, CEO of Toronto-based money manager Starlight Capital.

“Markets are rallying because the chaotic status quo is shifting to more predictability and stability,” he said. “Drop Trump, take Biden but keep the House and Senate where they are … This is the perfect scenario for markets and they are showing their support for this outcome.”

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COVID-19: Fifty-six new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa; Ontario sees jump as planning underway for mass vaccinations – Ottawa Citizen



Provincial experts met with local health officials from across Ontario on the weekend to discuss an accelerated rollout after changes announced late last week.

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Ontario reported 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths as of late Saturday, a jump over the previous day when the province reported 990 new cases.

Ottawa Public Health reported 56 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths. Thirty-one COVID-19 patients are in hospital and three are in intensive care. There have been a total of 15,110 cases in Ottawa.

Two new school outbreaks were reported in the city: At Gloucester High School, one student and one staff member tested positive; at the Ottawa Islamic School, one staff member tested positive. There are six ongoing outbreaks in child care and schools, 20 ongoing outbreaks in health-care institutions and four ongoing outbreaks in the community.

Ongoing outbreaks continue in parts of The Ottawa Hospital Civic campus and at least one city shelter.

Ottawa’s surveillance data puts it near the top of the provincially rated “orange zone” when it comes to pandemic restrictions, with indicators suggesting cases could soon be going up.

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As of late Saturday, Ottawa’s seven-day average rate of infection among 100,000 people was 37.3 per cent. Anything above 39.9 is in the red category, where more restrictions kick in. The city’s positivity rate is at 2.1 per cent (1.3 to 2.4 per cent is in the orange zone). And its reproduction number was at .95 (below the 1.0-1.1 for the orange zone).

Toronto Public Health, meanwhile, reported 329 new cases, with 192 in Peel and 116 in York Region. Those three regions have been the hotspots in the province.

Provincial officials met with local vaccine officials from across Ontario on the weekend to discuss plans for accelerated rollout after changes announced late last week.

Among the most significant was approval to delay second doses of vaccines for up to four months in order to speed up mass vaccinations with one dose. Canada has also now approved a total of four COVID-19 vaccines and is getting more doses earlier than anticipated.

Canada will get eight million COVID-19 vaccines before the end of March, 36.5 million vaccines by the end of June and 107.9 million before the end of the summer, according to Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand.

That should allow most Canadians over 18 to be vaccinated by the beginning of summer.

In Ottawa, pop-up clinics for people over 80 in select high-risk neighbourhoods began Friday and are continuing. But, in light of more available vaccines, the city expects to begin mass vaccination clinics for over 80s as early as March 17, said Anthony Di Monte, chief of emergency and protective services.

The planned ramp-up comes as signs are pointing to the beginning of a third wave in Ottawa, likely leading to more restrictions.

Not only does wastewater surveillance indicate that more people in Ottawa are infected with COVID-19, but for the first time more contagious variants of concern have been detected in the wastewater.

Meanwhile, the province is scheduled to begin COVID-19 vaccine pilot projects in some pharmacies in Kingston, Toronto and Windsor this week, using the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not recommended for people over 65.

There have been a total of 308,296 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ontario and 7,067 deaths since the pandemic began.

Across Canada, 884,086 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed since the pandemic began and 22,213 people have died.



(As of Saturday afternoon)

1,299: New confirmed cases

308,296: Total cases

15: New deaths

7,067: Total deaths

606: Currently in hospital

273: Currently in ICU

179: On a ventilator

30,192: Doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in 24 hours ending March 7 at 10:30 a.m.

890,604: Total vaccines administered

271,807: People fully vaccinated


(As of Saturday at 3 p.m.)

56: New confirmed cases

15,110: Total cases

0: New deaths

442: Total deaths

31: In hospital

3: In ICU

37.3: COVID rate per 100,000 population

2.1 per cent: Positivity rate

0.95: R(t) number

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Ontario reports nearly 1,300 new coronavirus cases, 15 more deaths – Global News



Ontario reported 1,299 cases of the novel coronavirus Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 308,296.

“Locally, there are 329 new cases in Toronto, 192 in Peel and 116 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

A total of 290,840 COVID-19 cases are considered resolved, which is up by 1,105 and is 94.3 per cent of all confirmed cases.

Fifteen additional deaths were also reported on Sunday, bringing the provincial death toll to 7,067.

Nearly 46,600 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now completed a total of 11,398,354 tests and 20,057 remain under investigation.

Read more:
City of Toronto ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines 24/7 as long as supply allows

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The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 3.1 per cent, which is up from Saturday’s report, when it was 2.3 per cent, and is up from last Sunday’s report when it was 2.4 per cent.

There have been 828 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first discovered in the U.K. (up by two), as well as 31 of the B.1.351 variant which was discovered in South Africa (no change), and 13 cases of the P.1 variant, first found in Brazil (up by five).

Provincial figures showed there are 606 people hospitalized with the virus (down by 14), with 273 in intensive care (down by five), 179 of whom are on a ventilator (down by two).

However, the province noted that more than 10 per cent of hospitals did not submit their daily bed census for Sunday’s report — as is often the case on weekends — possibly causing the reported number of hospitalizations to be lower than it actually is.

Click to play video 'Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines!'

Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines!

Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines!

Here is a breakdown of Ontario’s cases by age and gender:

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  • 151,786 people are male
  • 154,860 people are female
  • 41,619 people are 19 and under
  • 113,005 people are 20 to 39
  • 88,966 people are 40 to 59
  • 44,226 people are 60 to 79
  • 20,400 people are 80 and over

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The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.

The province also notes that the number of cases publicly reported each day may not align with case counts reported by the local public health unit on a given day. Local public health units report when they were first notified of a case, which can be updated and changed as information becomes available. Data may also be pulled at different times.

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,748 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is unchanged. There are currently 84 outbreaks in long-term care homes, 59 of which are reported to have no resident cases.

There are 55 active cases among long-term care residents and 139 among staff.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, 890,604 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 30,192 over 24 hours. So far, 271,807 people in the province are considered to be fully vaccinated.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Some provinces set to ease COVID-19 restrictions Monday – Canada News –



UPDATE: 2:30 p.m.

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s chief public health officer expressed optimism over vaccines ahead of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it’s been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice.

“Yet, as the months have gone by, I have also witnessed the remarkable courage, strength, and generosity demonstrated by Canadians,” she wrote in a statement.

“Through it all, it is the incredible support that Canadians have shown for one another that has impressed me the most.”

Tam expressed optimism that brighter days were coming, thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

“This week has been a very good week for Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination programs,” she wrote.

The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are among the provinces preparing to lift restrictions on Monday after weeks of stable or declining cases.

A stay-at-home order in Ontario’s Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions, including Quebec City, will be downgraded from red to orange on the province’s colour-coded regional alert system.

All of New Brunswick will transition to the less-restrictive “yellow” alert level Sunday at midnight, meaning residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume.

Canada’s two biggest cities will remain under fairly strict restrictions, however.

Toronto — and neighbouring Peel Region — will enter the “grey lockdown” category, which will allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leaves gyms, personal care services and indoor restaurant dining closed.

The greater Montreal region remains a red zone, which means an 8 p.m. curfew is still in effect.

Tam said the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks.

In a long message, Tam said it is not that it is not possible to directly compare the efficacy of different vaccines to one another.

“Each vaccine was studied in a separate trial conducted at different times, using different populations and conditions,” she wrote.

She said the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, manufactured by Janssen, was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, while the AstraZeneca vaccine was found to have an efficacy of 62 per cent in generally preventing “symptomatic COVID-19.”

Both vaccines, she said, were found to protect against severe disease, meaning that those who got COVID-19 after the shot were much less likely to get seriously ill.

Currently, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization does not recommend that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given to those aged 65 or over due to limited data, but Tam stressed that the recommendations could change.

She noted both the new vaccines are easier to transport than those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which require freezer storage.

With Canada set to receive more than 900,000 COVID-19 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week, many provinces are ramping up their vaccination campaigns.

Health authorities across British Columbia will start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments Monday for people 90 years old and older and Indigenous residents over the age of 65.

Quebec, which has been booking vaccine appointments for seniors 70 or 80 and over depending on the region, will speed up the pace this week as more mass vaccination centres open across the province after focusing mainly on hard-hit Montreal last week.

Ontario reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far.

Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 116 more cases and two more deaths due to COVID-19, including a person who was under 20 years old.

The government said it would receive more than 14,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will be sent to five different parts of the province.

ORIGINAL: 12:30 p.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer is expressing hope for the future as the world prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Dr. Theresa Tam says it’s been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice.

But she says it’s been “a good week” for Canada’s vaccination program thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

Tam says the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks.

The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

A stay-at-home order in Ontario’s Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions will be downgraded from red to orange on the province’s colour-coded regional alert system.

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