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The close: Wall Street sharply lower as consumer pessimism stokes recession fears – The Globe and Mail

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Wall Street tumbled in a broad sell-off on Tuesday as dire consumer confidence data dampened investor optimism and fueled worries that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive battle against inflation could tip the economy into recession.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell about 2% and 3%, respectively, with Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com weighing the heaviest. The blue-chip Dow shed about 1.6%.

But in Canada, the TSX closed with only slim losses thanks to a rally in the energy sector. The heavyweight financials sector also held relatively steady, sheltering the Canadian benchmark index from deeper losses.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended down 35.58 points, or 0.2%, at 19,222.74, holding on to much of its gains over the previous two days.

The Toronto market’s technology sector fell 2.2%, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, ended 1.6% lower.

In contrast, energy rallied 4.2%, gaining for a third straight day, as U.S. crude oil futures settled 2% higher at $111.76 a barrel.

Supportive of oil, major producers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates looked unlikely to be able to boost output significantly while Western governments agreed to explore ways to cap the price of Russian oil.

The rally for energy in recent days offers “a glimmer of hope that the TSX can go back to outperforming some of the global markets,” said Greg Taylor, a portfolio manager at Purpose Investments.

The Toronto market has had a volatile second quarter. Still, its decline of 9.4% since the start of the year is much less than for the S&P 500, which is on track for its biggest first-half percentage drop since 1970.

All three U.S. indexes are on course to notch two straight quarterly declines for the first time since 2015.

“At some point this aggressive selling is going to dissipate but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be anytime soon,” said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist Ingalls & Snyder in New York.

Data released on Tuesday morning showed the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index dropping to the lowest it has been since February 2021, with near-term expectations reaching its most pessimistic level in nearly a decade.

The growing gap between the Conference Board’s “current situation” and “expectations” components have widened to levels that often precede recession.

“(Investors are) sitting there wondering whether declining consumer confidence will translate into recession and we haven’t resolved that question,” said Tom Hainlin, national investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “We haven’t seen second quarter earnings reports, so we don’t know if companies are seeing a slowdown.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 491.27 points, or 1.56%, to 30,946.99; the S&P 500 lost 78.56 points, or 2.01%, to 3,821.55 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 343.01 points, or 2.98%, to 11,181.54.

Ten of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 ended the session in negative territory, with consumer discretionary suffering the largest percentage loss. Energy was the sole gainer.

With few market catalysts and market participants gearing up for the July Fourth holiday weekend, the day’s sell-off cannot be blamed entirely on the Consumer Confidence report, said Tom Hainlin, national investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“It’s hard to attribute (market volatility) to one economic data point with so much noise around portfolio rebalancing at quarter-end,” Hainlin said.

“There’s not a lot of new information out there and yet you see this volatile stock environment,” he said, adding that there will not be much new information until companies start earnings.

With several weeks to go until second-quarter reporting commences, 130 S&P 500 companies have pre-announced. Of those, 45 have been positive and 77 have been negative, resulting in a negative/positive ratio of 1.7 stronger than the first quarter but weaker than a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

Among stock moves, Nike Inc slid 7.0% following its lower than expected revenue forecast.

Shares of Occidental Petroleum Corp advanced 4.8% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc raised its stake in the company.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.28-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.70-to-1 ratio favored decliners. The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 29 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 29 new highs and 131 new lows. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.54 billion shares, compared with the 12.99 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Reuters, Globe staff

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Toronto continues investigation into cause of massive power outage – CP24

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Hydro One says it will take “several days” to repair hydro lines that were damaged after an upright crane in the lake slammed into them and caused a massive power outage downtown on Thursday.

The outage occurred in the city’s financial district at around 12:30 p.m., leaving approximately 10,000 customers without power at its peak.

A portion of the Eaton Centre was left in the dark, forcing hundreds of stores to temporarily close. The outage also knocked out power in parts of the Hospital for Sick Children’s campus.

Traffic lights were down in some intersections causing heavy traffic and significant streetcar delays. However, the outage did not affect subways.

Toronto Fire said crews responded to a number of elevator rescues, but no injuries connected to the outage were reported yesterday.

Hydro One says the outage was caused when a barge moving an upright crane in the Port Lands area hit overhead high voltage transmission lines.

“Now, what happened when that crane hit the line resulted in a downstream effect where a surge of power affected a nearby station on the Esplanade that we were actually using to reroute power to Toronto Hydro,” Hydro One Spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa told CP24 Friday morning.

The City of Toronto says the barge was being operated by a subcontractor to Southland-Astaldi Joint Venture (SAJV), which is a contractor for the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant outfall project.

Crews were reportedly preparing to move equipment into the lake for the project when the incident occurred.

“We’re going to use stone that needs to be placed out in the lake and the subcontractors were going to do that work for us but they were moving equipment. The event occurred off-site while they were doing their preparatory work,” Lou Di Gironimo, Toronto Water’s general manager told CP24 Friday.

Outage

Baccega Rosa said Hydro One crews were able to reroute about 50 per cent of the power shortly after the incident, which resulted in power being restored in some areas quicker than others.

Crews then had to stop their efforts and wait for the fire department to clear the site for workers to safely enter and reroute the rest of the power.

Outage

Once crews gained access, they were able to reroute all power to Toronto Hydro and power was fully restored downtown by 8 p.m.

Baccega Rosa said there are established safety protocols to stay a minimum of 10 metres away from power lines, which were not followed yesterday.

“And that’s (for) anyone whether, you know, you’re a barge passing under them (power lines) or if you’re doing work around your house and you need to trim the tree branches around the line connecting your home. You know, everyone was very lucky yesterday that there was not a safety incident and no one was hurt as a result of this,” she said.

The city has launched an investigation into the incident and has requested a full report from SAJV to understand what happened.

“So the big thing that we’re going to look at is what happened? Who was in charge of the subcontractor work? What were the safety procedures in place at the time? And then what exactly happened when the crane hit the wires?,” Di Gironimo said.

Di Gironimo could not confirm if the subcontractors will face any consequences for the incident.

“That will be part of the investigation to find out what happened. What were those precautions that were supposed to be in place. What was followed? What wasn’t?”

He said the city is meeting with SAJV next week and plans to complete the investigation within a matter of weeks.

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B.C. couple still owes $19M despite bankruptcy, appeal court rules – Business in Vancouver

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B.C. couple still owes $19M despite bankruptcy, appeal court rules – Economy, Law & Politics | Business in Vancouver


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​Rogers, Shaw formalize planned Freedom sale to Quebecor – BNN Bloomberg

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Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. announced Friday they reached a definitive agreement for the previously-announced proposed sale of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile wireless business.
 
The three companies said that the terms of the definitive pact are “substantially consistent” with their original announcement on June 17, when they said Montreal-based Quebecor agreed to pay $2.85 billion to purchase Freedom. Originally, July 15 was the target to reach the definitive agreement.  

“We are very pleased with this agreement, and we are determined to continue building on Freedom’s assets,” said Quebecor president and chief executive officer Pierre Karl Péladeau in a release Friday. “Quebecor has shown that it is the best player to create real competition and disrupt the market.”
 
The transaction is conditional on Rogers receiving final regulatory approvals for its planned $20-billion takeover of Shaw, which was announced in March 2021.
 
The road to regulatory approval has become more treacherous for Rogers after Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell stated his objections to the plan, warning it would diminish competition in the telecom market, notwithstanding Rogers’ long-stated intent to divest Freedom Mobile.
 
Rogers’ legal counsel has argued vociferously against Boswell’s claims, saying in a June 3 filing with the Competition Tribunal that Boswell’s stance “is unreasonable, contrary to both the economic and fact evidence presented to the Bureau, and not supportable at law.”
 
The Competition Tribunal is currently scheduled to begin a hearing on the matter Nov. 7.
 
Rogers also has to clear another regulatory hurdle: its planned acquisition of Shaw requires approval from Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who has previously said he won’t allow the wholesale transfer of Shaw’s wireless assets to Rogers.
 
The process became more complicated for Rogers after a national network outage knocked out service to its customers in early July.

Champagne subsequently said the outage would “certainly be in [his] mind” when weighing the merit of the Shaw sale.
 
For its part, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Communications announced its conditional approval of the transaction in March.
 
Shaw investors have consistently demonstrated skepticism that the deal will go ahead as planned, as evidenced by its shares never once attaining the $40.50-per-share takeover offer from Rogers since the takeover was announced last year.

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