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US stocks drop, Treasuries climb amid economic angst

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Stocks rose as gains in giant technology companies drove the Nasdaq 100 toward a record, tempering concern that a recovery from the pandemic-induced recession will need more time. Treasuries climbed.

A rally in heavyweights such as Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. offset a slide in energy producers and banks in the S&P 500. Intel Corp. — the world’s largest chipmaker — jumped on news it’s entering into accelerated agreements to buy back US$10 billion of shares. Zoom Video Communications Inc. surged after Morgan Stanley boosted its price target for the video-conferencing company. Earlier Thursday, equities slumped as applications for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased, with initial jobless claims climbing to more than 1.1 million.

Wall Street’s obsession with the fortress-like profit potential of internet and software stocks seems to remain intact. Thanks to solid balance sheets and a suite of products that benefit from social distancing, technology companies have extended this year’s surge — the biggest among major S&P 500 groups. The industry has sustained the momentum for stocks even after a rally of more than 50 per cent from March lows and concern over stalled negotiations on further economic stimulus measures.

On the trade front, China confirmed plans to talk with U.S. officials soon to review progress on their preliminary deal — a rare engagement between the world’s largest economies as relations deteriorate. Speaking in Arizona earlier this week, President Donald Trump said he canceled those plans because he’s unhappy with the Asian nation’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Euro-area PMIs will be released on Friday.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent as of 12:41 p.m. New York time.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 1.1 per cent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1.6 per cent.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.2 per cent.
The euro fell 0.2 per cent to US$1.1818.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.2 per cent to 105.94 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined four basis points to 0.64 per cent.
Germany’s 10-year yield decreased three basis points to -0.51 per cent.
Britain’s 10-year yield fell two basis points to 0.214 per cent.

Commodities

The Bloomberg Commodity Index declined 0.9 per cent.
West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 2.3 per cent to US$41.95 a barrel.
Gold strengthened 0.2 per cent to US$1,932.85 an ounce.

–With assistance from Joanna Ossinger, Todd White, Cecile Gutscher, Lynn Thomasson, Katherine Greifeld, Vildana Hajric and Claire Ballentine.

Source: – BNN

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Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists – Canada News – Castanet.net

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CALGARY – Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins in about two months are being forced to balance profits with protecting the health of their guests in view of a COVID-19 pandemic that shows few signs of ending.

Although medical experts agree there’s little chance of infection while flying through the powder on a steep double-black-diamond ski run, they say the risk increases dramatically when riding a packed gondola to the top of the hill or enjoying an apres ski cocktail in a jammed resort bar.

Resorts say skiers and snowboarders will have to wear masks on lifts and gondolas and when indoors and social distancing will be encouraged by removing tables and chairs in bars and restaurants. They are vowing more frequent cleaning and sanitizing.

But few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill, a prospect that worries Dr. Stephen Freedman, a child health researcher and professor in the department of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

“The ski hills have a responsibility to control the number of people that are on the hill and that number cannot be as high as it was pre-COVID,” he warned.

Gondola loading is particularly tricky for Sunshine Village ski resort in Banff National Park, where the only way for guests to get from the parking lot to the main ski area is by taking a 17-minute ride in an eight-person gondola car.

“As the gondola is our main lifeline, when it is busy we will be loading it to capacity,” said spokeswoman Kendra Scurfield in an interview.

“We tried limiting capacity in the spring prior to being closed for COVID and we found the lineup was more of a hazard. People weren’t social distancing in line, it backed onto to the road, it just became more dangerous than loading people up.”

Sunshine also won’t limit overall skier numbers, she said, but aims to reduce crowding by offering an afternoons-only season pass for the first time this year to encourage people to arrive later in the day. It’s also erecting two large tents and opening a little used building to allow guests to warm up without entering its common areas.

At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, B.C., hiking, biking and sightseeing guests were able to load the eight-man gondola from the base lodge to the top of the mountain at capacity during the summer if they had appropriate face masks, said Matt Mosteller, spokesman for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.

It hasn’t been decided if that will also be allowed this winter, he said, adding that operator Resorts of the Canadian Rockies is still working on the fine details of COVID-19 rules for its six resorts in B.C., Alberta and Quebec.

Plans could change, he said, but the company so far is not intending to restrict the overall number of skiers at its resorts.

Meanwhile, at destination resort Whistler Blackcomb, 120 kilometres north of Vancouver, no formal limits have been placed on the number of guests allowed on the hill but the expectation is that numbers – which can reach 35,000 people on busy days – will be 10 to 20 per cent lower, said spokesman Marc Riddell.

Passholders will be given preference to reserve a lift ticket and daily tickets will be available online only if there’s sufficient capacity. Staff will restrict the number of guests on lifts and gondolas so that unrelated parties have sufficient social distancing, Riddell said.

The lockdowns last March eliminated as much as 25 per cent of the season for some mountain resorts, said Christopher Nicolson, CEO of the Canada West Ski Areas Association, which represents 92 ski hills west of the Manitoba-Ontario border.

Limits on international travel pose a major challenge because 10 to 30 per cent of skiing guests are from outside of Canada, he said. On the other hand, Canadians will find it harder to travel outside the country this winter, so that could result in more domestic ski visits.

Canadians are able to take lessons from the mixed 2020 ski season in Australia which is just wrapping up now.

In an email, Colin Hackworth, CEO of the Australian Ski Areas Association, said the ski industry in that country went into the season in June vowing to present a simplified and comprehensive COVID-19 operating plan.

“In Australia, the resorts worked to a 50-per-cent-of-normal capacity constraint, and limited capacity by way of selling/distributing online passes only,” he said.

There were setbacks, Hackworth said, including COVID-19 outbreaks that resulted in bans on travel from Melbourne to ski resorts in Victoria state and resulting in the closure of two ski resorts after only a few days.

He added the 2020 season was “probably the worst Australian snow season on record,” which meant some resorts were forced to close earlier than usual.

Dr. Freedman said he thinks it will be difficult for Canadian ski hills to maintain proper cleansing and social distancing this year and he’s not happy about plans to pack eight people in a gondola.

But he knows of at least one skier who will be hitting the slopes anyway.

“I’m an avid skier, I intend to be skiing this winter. But I also intend to do it wisely and to use precautions.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 28, 2020.

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LOTTO MAX second prize not so bad for local couple – BayToday.ca

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Shane and Laura Toms of North Bay have $245,723.10 more in their bank account after winning a LOTTO MAX second prize in the September 24 draw.

Shane and Laura matched six numbers plus the bonus number to win the prize. 

The parents of two, discovered their win when Shane checked their ticket using the OLG Lottery App.

“I laughed, I thought it was funny,” Shane shared, while at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto to pick up their cheque.

“Then I called my wife while she was at work to tell her the big news!”

The couple plan on saving their winnings for their children’s future. 

“It feels good. We’re excited. The future is taken care of,” they concluded.

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Here's the story of the $4 bill and a Sault-based blunder – SooToday

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From the archives of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library:

From 1900 to around 1911, people across Canada may have been carrying around in their wallet a little piece of Sault Ste. Marie . . . in the form paper money.

While it may seem like an unusual amount today, the Dominion of Canada issued $4 bills beginning in the late 1880s; their popularity was largely sparked by the exchange rate at the time, and the ease of converting $4 Canadian into one British Pound.

And, of course, the $4 bill was just one of the many monetary denominations that are no longer being printed, including 25 cent, one dollar, and two dollar bills.

The original $4 bills pictured the Marquess of Lorne, the fourth Governor General of Canada. In 1900, the design of the bill changed to feature portraits of Lord Minto, the eighth Governor General, and his wife. During that revamp, the bill also began to highlight Canadian scenery – or at least, that was the intent.

In between the portraits of Lord and Lady Minto, an illustration showed a ship making its way through the Sault Ste. Marie locks. The image would highlight the locks as part of an important shipping route – and, since the locks had only just been completed in 1895, it was also an example of impressive, new infrastructure in the Dominion of Canada.

There was just one problem: whoever designed the bill did not check that they had the country correct. The $4 Canadian bill mistakenly featured the locks in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan.

As the Globe and Mail wrote in a retrospective column about the gaffe, “Somebody’s face must have been very red at Ottawa.”

When the mistake was noticed, the issue was recalled. In 1902, the government began to issue new $4 bills – this time with a depiction of the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario locks as a ship passed through.

In 1904, $4 bills ceased being issued, but they continued to circulate for several years after that; however, by 1947, according to a Globe and Mail article, they would rarely show up in circulation anymore.

Today, the bills are a collector’s item. And, while you are unlikely to open up your wallet and see Sault Ste. Marie on your paper money anymore, copies of the bill remain – in private collections and in places like the British Museum and the Bank of Canada Museum.

Each week, the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library and its Archives provides SooToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Public Library has to offer at www.ssmpl.ca and look for more Remember This? columns here

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