TORONTO — Several disappointing U.S. earnings reports pulled North American stock markets lower on Tuesday, while investors sold off materials and energy stocks.Here are the closing numbers TSX — 12,516.89 -11.46 -0.09% S&P 500 — 1,676.26 -6.24 -0.37% Dow — 15,451.85 -32.41 -0.21% Nasdaq — 3,598.50 -8.99 -0.25%The S&P/TSX composite index lost 11.46 points to 12,516.89, closing out a tightly-traded session ahead of comments from both Canada’s central bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday.The Canadian dollar was up 0.45 of a cent to 96.47 cents US before the Bank of Canada issues its first policy decision under new governor Stephen Poloz, scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday.On the TSX, materials stocks dropped 2.2%, as Agrium (TSX:AGU) fell $2.42 to $93.16.The energy sector closed 0.3% lower with the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange weakening 32 cents to US$106 a barrel.Gold stocks were some of the biggest gainers as August bullion rose $6.90 to US$1,290.40 an ounce while the TSX gold sector rose 3.1%. The September copper contract on the Nymex gained 4.2 cents to US$3.187 a pound.In the U.S., investors still had plenty to digest as both Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage maker, and retail brokerage Charles Schwab, delivered second-quarter results that disappointed analysts.Coca-Cola reported declining profits and weak volume growth for the quarter. Charles Schwab said its profits fell seven% to $256 million, or 18 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $275 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P moved back after closing at record highs for three consecutive sessions. The Dow shifted back 32.41 points to 15,451.85, the Nasdaq composite index was 8.99 points lower to 3,598.50 while the S&P 500 index slid 6.24 points to 1,676.26.North American markets were holding back from any major shifts before the testimony from U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday that could set the tone in markets for the rest of the summer.“It’s sort of a wait and see attitude. No one wants to position themselves too much in one way or the other,” said Norman Raschkowan, North American strategist with Mackenzie Financial Corp.In particular, investors will be looking for any further guidance on when the Fed will start to reduce its monetary stimulus.The Fed is currently spending US$85 billion a month to buy financial assets in the hope of keeping long-term borrowing rates low and stimulating the U.S. economy. The new money created by the various monetary stimulus enacted in recent years have been one of the key drivers of the markets.Disappointing retail sales figures on Monday reinforced expectations that the so-called “tapering” may take place later in the year than previously thought.“The markets have rallied since (the Fed) softened their view, so people are a bit confused about how the Fed really sees the current environment,” Raschkowan added.Shares of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. (TSX:L) pulled back a day after the company announced it planned to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (TSX:SC) for $12.4 billion in cash and stock — a deal that has sparked a review by two ratings agencies.Standard & Poor’s is placing the companies on CreditWatch “with negative implications,” which means it may lower or affirm the ratings within the next three months.DBRS also placed Shoppers Drug Mart under review with negative implications, reflecting Loblaw’s “potential assumption of approximately $1 billion of Shoppers’ debt.”Loblaw stock dipped $1.53 to $48.60, while Shoppers moved down 43 cents to $59.69.Barrick Gold stock (TSX:ABX) lifted nearly six% after a Chilean appeals court ruled against the world’s largest gold mining company on Monday. The court ruled in favour of Chilean Indians who accuse Barrick of contaminating their water downstream and creating more doubts about the future of the world’s highest gold mine. Shares of the company gained 93 cents to $16.620.Sun Media Corp. announced plans Tuesday to cut 360 jobs and close 11 publications across the country, including its 24 Hours free daily newspapers in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. The media company’s parent, Montreal-based Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B), saw its shares fall 23 cents to $47.50.In economic news, The U.S. Labor Department reported a tame inflation rate with the consumer price index rising 0.5% in June from May. Two-thirds of the increase came from a 6.3% jump in gas prices, the largest since February.A day after Citigroup easily topped Wall Street expectations, Goldman Sachs did the same on Tuesday. The global investment and securities firm reported that it doubled its quarterly profits for the second quarter, and posted revenue of US$8.61 billion.Johnson & Johnson also said its second-quarter profit more than doubled thanks to higher sales of medicines and medical devices.After the market close, Yahoo Inc. said its earnings climbed 46%, thanks to a major boost from an investment in Chinese Internet company Alibaba. But its revenue fell 7% from last year. The company earned US$331 million, or 30 cents per share in the three months ending in June. That compared with net income of $227 million, or 18 cents per share, at the same time last year. Revenue totalled $1.14 billion.TOP STORIESGoldman Sachs Group’s earnings were great … until you look at the detailsSun Media to cut 360 jobs and close 11 of its newspapers, including three free urban dailiesWalgreens was scoping Shoppers before Loblaw bought the chainOECD: Unemployment to remain high as Canada and the world fails to shake financial crisis WHAT’S ON DECK WEDNESDAYECONOMIC NEWSBank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s debut policy announcement at 10 a.m. U.S. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke makes his semi-annual policy report to the House of Representatives at 10 a.m. CANADA8:30 a.m.International securities transactions UNITED STATES8:30 a.m.Housing starts (June): Economists expect a 5% rise Building permits (June): Economists expect a 1.5% rise 2 p.m.Beige Book CORPORATE NEWSUNITED STATESAmerican Express Company Q2 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.22 a share Bank of America Corp. Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 25¢ BNY Mellon Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 57¢ eBay Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 64¢ International Business Machines Q2 earnings: Analysts expect US$3.77 Intel Corp. Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 39¢ Mattel Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 31¢ U.S. Bancorp Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 76¢ CANADAWest Fraser Timber Limited Q2 earnings
On the markets at midafternoon (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index is up 130.56 points to 15,323.10.The Dow Jones industrial average gained 121.98 points to 21,506.26.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 18.67 points to 2,451.82.The Nasdaq composite index gained 87.64 points to 6,239.40.The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.66 cents US, up from Friday’s average price of 75.57 cents US.
WINNIPEG — Grain quotes Friday for tonnes, basis Lakehead:Canola (Vancouver): Open High Low Close ThuNov. 506.00 509.20 505.20 506.90 506.20Jan. ’18 510.50 514.00 510.50 512.00 511.20March 517.00 517.30 515.30 515.60 514.90May 517.20 519.40 517.00 517.40 517.10July 518.90 521.30 518.70 519.30 518.60Nov. 485.10 486.20 485.00 485.50 484.80Jan. ’19 0.00 0.00 0.00 486.30 485.60March 0.00 0.00 0.00 489.00 488.30May 0.00 0.00 0.00 489.00 488.30July 0.00 0.00 0.00 489.00 488.30Nov. 0.00 0.00 0.00 489.00 488.30Barley (Western): Open High Low Close ThuOct. 0.00 0.00 0.00 145.00 145.00Dec. 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00March ’18 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00May 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00July 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00Oct. 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00Dec. 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00March ’19 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00May 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00July 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00Nov. 0.00 0.00 0.00 141.00 141.00ICE Futures Canada cash prices:Feed wheat: Track Thunder Bay CW: $178.00Canola:Thunder Bay No. 1 Canada: $516.90 (November 2017)Vancouver No. 1 Canada: $531.90 (November 2017)
TORONTO — Ontario is seeking to strengthen consumer protection rules around home warranties, ticket sales, real estate practices, and travel services in an omnibus bill introduced Thursday.Changes to ticket selling laws include making so-called scalper bots illegal. The bots purchase a large number of tickets online for a concert, show, or other event, then resell them at a large profit.But those bots often operate from out of the country, which would make enforcement difficult, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi admitted, so the bill also aims to undercut both profit incentive and resale abilities.“There’s no one way, or silver bullet, of dealing with bots,” he said.The bill would ban tickets from being resold at more than 50 per cent of the face value and make it illegal to knowingly resell tickets that were purchased by bots.“Companies like Ticketmaster and Stubhub, which pretty much control about 80 per cent of the market in Ontario, they invest a fair bit of money in dealing with bots because it’s a nuisance for them as well,” Naqvi said.Ticket sellers would also have to display an itemized list of all fees, taxes and service charges, and resellers would have to disclose the face value of the ticket. Those rules, as well as the resale markup limit, provide an easy point of enforcement, Naqvi said.“We took a very pragmatic view as to how can we create laws within our own jurisdiction that create a level playing field and rules that we can actually practically enforce,” he said.Catherine Moore, a University of Toronto adjunct professor of music technology, said the scalper bot ban itself sounds difficult to implement.“If the person who is behind or the company and the people who are behind the bots are not based in Ontario or are not based even in Canada, how can you prosecute them, how can you fine them?” she said.Ministry of Government and Consumer Services agents would get the power to do inspections and lay fines against violators of the act. Companies themselves would also get the power to sue other companies for losses resulting from the use of bots.Both Ontario’s opposition parties said they support the bill, but New Democrat Jennifer French said the Liberal government created a loophole for scalper bots in the first place, “so it absolutely is incumbent on them to fix it.”The government changed the Ticket Speculation Act in 2015 to make it legal to resell tickets above their original face value.Ticketmaster did not return a request for comment, but StubHub said it supports the legislation, though it is wary of the cap on resale prices. It told the government during consultations that more regulatory burdens on the ticket market will drive sales off mainstream platforms that provide certain protections.“Price caps displace tickets from secure sources, therefore exposing fans to higher instances of fraud, less transparency around fees, non-existent customer service and reduced ability for enforcement,” Laura Dooley, the company’s senior manager of government affairs, said in a statement.The omnibus bill would also separate the provider of Ontario’s warranty program for new homes from the body regulating new home builders. It would also make the dispute resolution process easier for homeowners who discover a problem in their new home’s construction.A 2015 review found fault with Tarion Warranty Corp.’s complex structure and over-arching mandate — it has overseen nearly all facets of the home building sector for the past 40 years — with both builders and homeowners questioning Tarion’s objectivity.At the time of the review Tarion said all of the review’s recommendations, which included splitting its responsibilities, would weaken consumer protection, increase costs and create barriers to entry for builders. On Thursday, it said it will support the province on a “smooth transition” and delivery of its plan.The bill also tackles the issue of double ending, in which a real estate agent represents both a buyer and a seller in a transaction, though specifics are being left to regulations. Ontario Real Estate Association CEO Tim Hudak said it will allow for greater transparency and consumer protection.Real estate sellers, brokers and brokerages would also be subject to stiffer fines if they violate a code of ethics, up from $25,000 to $50,000 and $100,000 for brokerages.In the travel industry, the bill would create new rules for out-of-province travel sellers and set new registration requirements for travel salespeople.
The government said Sri Lanka along with other developing nations have suffered an inequity as a direct result of the slow progress of the workload before the UN Commission that is processing the extended continental shelf claims from different coastal states that are signatories to the Law of the Sea Convention.“It is extremely unreasonable and totally unacceptable that a coastal nation with substantial entitlement to the valuable ocean bed resources must wait for decades to have their boundaries of their continental shelf demarcated officially by the United Nations,” Dharmakirti said. “We must make every effort to secure this for our next generation,” Chairman of the National Ocean Affairs Committee Chris Dharmakirti was quoted in the government statement as saying. Sri Lanka will send a team of legal, scientific and international affairs experts to attend the 22nd Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Law of the Sea at the United Nations in New York, to canvass international support to expedite the hearings at the Continental Shelf Margin Claim. Sri Lanka would have to wait until 2028 to have its claim for the extension of the continental shelf heard, but it will push for a hearing by 2018 or 2020, the government said. (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to push for the expansion of its sea boundary, also known as the continental shelf, and will deploy a delegation to the United Nations to discuss the issue, the government information department said on Sunday.The government said the expansion of the sea boundary will help it secure oil, gas, mineral sands and other resources from the ocean around the island.
The police headquarters has ordered the transfer of 17 policemen over an assault on a group of people in the Dikwella area early this morning.A protest was staged in the Dikwella town this morning over the assault with area residents attempting to go towards the Dikwella police station. Police spokesman SP Budhika Siriwardena said that the incident had reportedly taken place when area residents had contacted the Dikwella police to complain about a disturbance being created by a group of men who were passing time overnight before a perahera scheduled for today. The situation was however brought under control with the protesters being assured that the OIC of the Dikwella police station and several other policemen were being transferred to Matara over the incident. When officers of the Dikwella police station had gone to the location early this morning a tense situation had developed and several people were allegedly assaulted by the police.Most of those injured in the incident had to seek medical treatment in hospital. Investigations are underway. (Colombo Gazette)
President Mahinda Rajapaksa today announced the appointment of a special commission to investigate the Matale mass grave.President’s secretary Lalith Weeratunga said that the commission will be led by former Justice S.I. Imam, Retired High Court Judge Bandula Atapattu and former Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kitulgoda. The international police INTERPOL had in May been asked to assist in the investigations into the Matale mass grave. The Magistrate Magistrate had said in May that INTERPOL assistance had been sought and once that is obtained then DNA tests will be carried out on the skeletal remains found at the grave site.The Magistrate also ordered that public notices be issued in all three languages to ensure than anyone who has more information or wants to give evidence in the case comes forward. The UNP, which was in power during the 1987-89 period, said it will back an independent investigation into the mass grave. The UN had also been called to assist in the investigations into the mass grave. Over 150 skeletal remains and human bones have been unearthed from the mass grave in Matale. Forensics had determined that the remains were of those killed sometime in the late 1980′s and the area has now been marked as a crime scene.At least 10 skeletal remains were first found from the site near the Matale hospital in November last year by construction workers when land near the hospital was being dug-up to construct a new building. Following police investigations excavation work began to look for skeletal remains at the site and more remains were found.The JVP had demanded that the government carry out investigations on the mass grave following fears the remains maybe that of JVP members or supporters killed during a 1987-89 insurgency. In a written statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, ahead of the 22nd session last March, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a nongovernmental organization, had said that the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances should, through their experts, study the situation and the conduct of inquiries relating to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in Matale and assist the Sri Lankan government to ensure that these inquiries meet international standards. (Colombo Gazette) Weeratunga told media heads at a breakfast meeting that the commission has been asked to investigate all angles into the mass grave.
The Government today announced that the ETCA agreement with India will be signed soon.The announcement was made by Minister for Development strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrema at a joint press conference with visiting Indian Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in Colombo today. She discussed various bilateral trade and investment issues with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over an official dinner hosted in her honour. The Sri Lankan delegation also included other Sri Lankan Ministers namely Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Sujeewa Senasinghe, State Minister of International Trade, Ajith P. Perera, Deputy Minister for Power and Renewable Energy and Ms Anoma Gamage, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Development.The leaders expressed satisfaction on the progress of the proposed Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka. It was noted that the Second Round of negotiations for the ETCA is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on September 29-30, 2016. The leaders also discussed several other issues related to bilateral trade and investment.The deliberations were extremely cordial and marked by a spirit of mutual respect and understating that characterizes the strong and vibrant relations between the two countries. During the visit, a meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Business Forum was held. Many issues relating to trade, services and investment were highlighted and it was agreed that their resolution be explored.The Commerce and Industry Minister also had a bilateral meeting with a high level Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka. Nirmala Sitharaman visited Sri Lanka with the objective of enhancing and deepening bilateral trade and investment relations. The visit has emphasised the importance of Sri Lanka as an important trading and investment partner for India and would help in further deepening the existing bilateral relations. (Colombo Gazette)
Viber’s default end-to-end encryption provides stronger security in every voice or video call, message, video and photo, in both group and one-on-one messages where not even Vibercan see, read or have access to them. Anubhav Nayyar, Head of South East Asia Viber said, “Sri Lanka is major market in South Asia for Viber and we understand privacy and security is a serious concern among our many users. While other messaging applications may require users to manually enable encryption, end-to-end encryption on Viber is on by default so users don’t have to worry about turning it on and has been standard on the app since the feature was made available.”When a Viber message is sent, whether on mobile or desktop, the data travels from the device to the recipient’s as a scrambled code so that only their device has the unique key to translate to plain text. Given the recent outcry over privacy options on social networks by users, leading global messaging and voice app, Viber says it has taken careful steps to ensure data remains secure and private in Sri Lanka.Growing concerns have also risen about certain social and messaging apps harvesting private messages and using them as valuable data for their systems’ algorithms—or for their advertisers. Given that there are over eight million Viber users in the country and the phenomenal growth of Viber stickers with more than 100 million being sent and received monthly among Sri Lankans, Viber assures all users of have automatic protection through encryption. Once the message has been delivered, none of the data is stored on Viber’s servers. In case the device is offline, Viber stores only the encrypted version of the message for a limited time, still safe and secure, until their device connects to the internet and is able to receive what has been sent.As a result users have little concernor worries about suddenly receiving a targeted ad related to the subject of their private conversation—Viber cannot and will not, in any way, share their personal messages with anyone.“Viber is all about making sure our users can enjoy better ways of communicating every day, and a big part of that is assuring that the connections made are strengthened by secure measures users can always count on,” Nayyar noted. (Colombo Gazette)
Iran’s Foreign Ministry says there is consensus among the member states of the ASEAN to accept Iran as a member of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left Tehran for Colombo on Tuesday morning to hold talks with Sri Lankan officials before going to Singapore.The top Iranian diplomat is going to hold talks with Sri Lankan officials on ways to boost the bilateral relations, the Tasnim News Agency reported. Zarif will then pay an official visit to Singapore to sign a treaty between Iran and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries that promotes intergovernmental cooperation. (Colombo Gazette)