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US stocks hit new high after coronavirus crash – BBC News

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A key US stock index has hit a new high despite ongoing worries about the sharp economic impact of the pandemic.

The S&P 500, one of the widest and most prominent US market measures, inched higher on Tuesday to close at 3,389.78 – about three points above its 19 February record.

Other US indexes have also rebounded.

The Nasdaq hit another record after surpassing its prior high in June while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is within about 5% of its February record.

US shares have been on an upward path since 23 March, when America’s central bank announced a slew of unprecedented economic support measures.

But when the pandemic set in and markets tumbled more than 33%, such a rapid market recovery seemed nearly unthinkable, said William Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird.

“To be even having this conversation right now is remarkable,” he said.

He said the strength and speed of the rebound was especially surprising, given America’s continuing struggle to contain the coronavirus and ongoing concerns about the economy. The US saw its sharpest quarterly contraction on record in the three months to July, amid widespread lockdowns.

“It’s not surprising that we had a meaningful recovery, but that over the last couple of months we’ve continued to rally… I’m shocked that we’re having this conversation,” Mr Delwiche said.

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Analysts say the recovery is partly due to Federal Reserve moves and other stimulus, as well as demand from investors who are confident the economy will heal and see few better opportunities to make money than on the stock markets.

While surprising, such a speedy market rebound is not unprecedented, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research. By his calculations, it’s actually the third fastest rise to a new high for the S&P after such a deep fall since 1929.

But the gains in the US have outstripped many other markets. London’s FTSE 100 remains about 20% lower than its January high, while France’s CAC 40 is off about 19%.

Japan, which has seen its Nikkei 225 index climb back to roughly 4% of its pre-crisis high, has benefited from both aggressive government stimulus and relative success at controlling the virus without mass lockdowns.

Tech stocks drive the rally

The unusual strength of the US rebound comes from its tech companies, such as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, which have been seen as winners despite lockdowns, along with companies in areas like cloud computing and machine learning.

“We would not be flirting with all-time highs were it not for technology,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management.

Shares in the S&P 500’s tech sector have climbed roughly 25% so far this year, even as other areas remain flat or negative. The energy sector, for example, is down roughly 37% since the beginning of January, while financials are down about 20%.

Market disconnection

Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that’s a warning sign for those who might want to see the new S&P 500 high as a signal about the broader economy.

“There’s big dispersion between those that have done well and those that have done poorly,” he said.

Overall, the S&P 500 is up about 5% since the start of the year.

But of the 500 companies in the index, more than half have shares trading lower than they were start of the year, he said. And that’s even though the big companies in the S&P 500 index are better equipped to withstand a downturn than many smaller firms.

“We’ve come a long way and there’s a lot of optimism in there and that is concerning,” Mr Silverblatt said. “If we don’t get what we expect – disappointment is not a good item in the market.”

Mr Sandven said unless prospects for the wider economy improve further gains will be limited.

Political questions – about whether Washington will approve further economic stimulus and how the US presidential election will play out – could also mean a bumpy ride ahead for investors, he added.

“Clearly there’s a lot of optimism riding on a return to growth in 2021,” Mr Sandven said. “But there’s reason for caution.”

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Why some snowbirds are still heading south this winter despite COVID-19 and a closed land border

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Despite the U.S. having the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases, Canadian snowbird Elizabeth Evans is determined to head south next month. That’s because her only winter home is parked at an RV resort in Williston, Florida.

“I don’t have a [winter] home here,” said Evans, who’s currently living in her summer trailer at a campground in Niagara Falls. “I don’t have any winter clothes.”

Evans is one of a number of snowbirds set on going to the U.S. this winter, despite the ongoing pandemic. But getting there may not be easy: To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential traffic until at least Oct. 21.

Evans believes the closure will be extended, so she plans to fly to Florida on Oct. 30 — two days before the campground where she’s living closes for the season.

“There’s no way I am staying here,” she said. “Even if I had to get on the plane buck-naked, I’d be on it.”

 

Elizabeth Evans and friend Susan Walley at at RV resort in Williston, Florida, where Evans lives during the winters. (Submitted by Elizabeth Evans)

 

The Canadian Snowbird Association — which has more than 110,000 members — said it’s hard to gauge at this point what percentage of its members will actually head south this winter.

Some snowbirds have already nixed their plans, while others are undecided.

“A significant portion of them are in a holding pattern, just to see what shakes out at the land border,” said spokesperson Evan Rachkovsky.

WATCH | Alberta snowbirds planning to spend winter at home:

 

Snowbirds who would normally be preparing to head off for warmer climates are now stuck in Alberta preparing for winter thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. 3:32

Some experts predict the Canada-U.S. land border could stay closed to non-essential travel until the new year.

Although Canadians can still fly to the U.S., Rachkovsky said many snowbirds won’t go without their cars but can’t afford the big fees — between $1,500 and $6,000 — to ship their vehicles.

“It’s not really an option for some of them to fly.”

 

Elizabeth Evans’ RV, which is parked year-round at an RV resort in Williston, Florida. (Submitted by Elizabeth Evans)

 

Evans is one of those who would typically drive down to the U.S., which allowed her to transport her household supplies in her truck. She said she’s can’t ship her truck packed with luggage, so this year she’s leaving it behind, along with many household necessities.

But she’s still bent on going to the U.S., even as health experts warn of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall.

Evans said she plans to take precautionary measures such as social distancing and keep to her RV resort.

“I will take the risk because I know how to protect myself, and everybody — at least in my resort — follows the rules,” she said. “I’m more concerned about falling off my bicycle than I am of COVID.”

Escape winter while isolating

Travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said so far less than 10 per cent of his snowbird clients have made firm plans to go south this winter. He said those who are going say they will aim to avoid crowds, just as they would in Canada during the pandemic.

“They’re going to be prisoners in their developments or their condos,” said Firestone, with Travel Secure in Toronto. “They’re saying, ‘I guess I’d rather sit down in Florida than sit here in Ontario and face the harsh climate.'”

 

Perry Cohen said he and his wife, Rose, plan to take all necessary precautions when they head to their condo this winter in Deerfield Beach, Florida. (Submitted by Perry Cohen)

 

That about sums up Perry Cohen’s itinerary. The snowbird — who is one of Firestone’s clients — aims to head to his condo in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in early December as long as the COVID-19 case count remains low in that area.

Cohen, who lives in Toronto, said he plans to take the necessary precautions and stick to his gated community — all while enjoying the warm weather.

“Why would I want to be cooped up here when I can be there, out in the sunshine, in the fresh air?” he said. “You have more positives to go than to stay here.”

Cohen also plans to fly to Florida and has a car parked at his condo. He said an added reassurance for him is that he can now purchase COVID-19 medical insurance — just in case he or his wife did get the virus.

“I like a complete package to know I’m looked after [if], God forbid, I have a problem.”

COVID-19 medical coverage returns

Several travel insurance providers recently restarted selling COVID-19 medical coverage, after dropping it in March when the pandemic began its global spread

Firestone said that even with the coverage, snowbirds could face problems if the community where they’re living has an outbreak.

“The hospitals will get filled, the intensive care units will get filled, and then the fun will begin, regardless of whether you have insurance or not.”

Cohen argues Canada could also experience overrun hospitals. Currently, COVID-19 case numbers are surging in Ontario and Quebec.

“You take a chance and go, because we can have the same problem here.”

Source:- CBC.ca

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Oil Prices Under Pressure As Gasoline Inventories Climb

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a draw in crude oil inventories of 831,000 barrels for the week ending September 25 – but this draw was more than offset by a build in gasoline inventories.

Analysts had predicted an inventory draw of 2.325-million barrels.

In the previous week, the API reported a small build in crude oil inventories of 691,000 barrels, after analysts had predicted a draw of 2.256 million barrels.

Oil prices were trading down sharply on Tuesday afternoon before the API’s data release as the market continues to be spooked by the rising number of coronavirus cases around the world – a factor that could lead to decreased movements and industrial activity around the world, and ultimately, to decreased oil demand.

In the hours leading up to Tuesday’s data release, at 12:44 pm EDT, WTI had fallen by $2.00 (-4.93%) to $38.60, down $1 per barrel on the week. The Brent crude benchmark had fallen by $1.82 at that time (-4.29%) to $40.61.

Oil production in the United States fell during the last week, and it is still down significantly from a high of 13.1 million bpd on March 13. U.S. oil production currently sits at 10.7 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration – 2.4 million bpd under those March highs.

 

The API reported a build in gasoline inventories of 1.623 million barrels of gasoline for the week ending September 25 – compared to the previous week’s 7.735-million-barrel draw. Analysts had expected a much smaller 648,000-barrel draw for the week.

Distillate inventories were down by 3.424 million barrels for the week, compared to last week’s 2.104-million-barrel draw, while Cushing inventories rose by 1.610 million barrels.

At 4:36 pm EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $38.99 while Brent crude was trading at $40.76.

 

Source:- OilPrice.com

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COVID-19 on flights: More trips added to B.C.’s exposure warning list

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VANCOUVER —
Several more flights have been added to B.C.’s COVID-19 exposure list, with passengers being warned they should self-monitor for symptoms of the disease.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control posted details about the latest flights Monday evening. All four are domestic and either departed from or landed at Vancouver International Airport.

The flights most recently added to the BCCDC’s list are:

  • Sept. 18 – Air Canada flight 122 from Vancouver to Toronto (rows 13 to 19)
  • Sept. 19 – Air Canada flight 303 from Montreal to Vancouver (rows four to eight)
  • Sept. 22 – Air Canada flight 304 from Vancouver to Montreal (rows 22 to 28)
  • Sept. 24 – Air Canada flight 123 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows 20 to 24)

Passengers seated in the specified rows may be at a greater risk of exposure to the coronavirus, the BCCDC says.

More than 50 flights have been added to the BCCDC’s exposure warning list so far this month. Last week, Health Canada said there was no confirmed COVID-19 transmission on domestic flights within Canada, or on international flights to or from Canada.

Health officials in B.C. no longer directly contact people who were seated near someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Instead, health authorities post notices online about flights with confirmed cases.

Source: – CTV News Vancouver

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