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Global markets sink again as tech and retail stocks drop

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Stocks dropped again Tuesday as losses mounted for the world’s largest technology companies. Retailers also fell, and energy companies plunged with oil prices as the market sank back into the red for the year.

Oil prices tumbled another 6.6 per cent as Wall Street reacted to rising oil supplies and concerns that global economic growth will slow down, a worry that’s intensified because of the trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Technology companies were hit after the Trump administration proposed new national security regulations that could limit exports of high-tech products in fields such as quantum computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Retailers also skidded. Target’s profit disappointed investors as it spends more money to revamp its stores and its website, while Ross Stores, TJX and Kohl’s also fell on disappointing forecasts.

The S&P 500 index lost 48.84 points, or 1.8 per cent, to 2,641.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 551.80 points, or 2.2 per cent, to 24,465.64.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 119.65 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 6,908.82. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 27.53 points, or 1.8 per cent, to 1,469.01.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 3.7 per cent in the past two days, and the S&P 500 is off 3.4 per cent. The Nasdaq, heavily populated with technology stocks, is off 4.7 per cent. The S&P 500 index has fallen 9.9 per cent from the record high it set exactly two months ago.

Canada’s main stock index also suffered a triple-digit decline as the drop in oil prices pushed the TSX down more than eight per cent in 2018.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 194.01 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 14,877.00.

Investors seek safe harbour

Investors are measuring a number of headwinds and increasingly playing it safe. The global economy is showing signs of weakening, with the United States, China and Europe all facing the rising threat of a slowdown, which can hurt demand for commodities such as oil and pose a threat to company profits.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China appear to be getting worse instead of improving, contributing to the sell-off in tech stocks and multinational industrial companies.

For much of this year, investors were hopeful the U.S. and China would easily resolve their differences on trade. That hope has faded in the last two months.

While U.S. President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping are expected to meet this month at a gathering of the Group of 20 major economies, the proposed limits on tech exports were one more reason to worry.

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday. Asian stocks slid Tuesday after tech losses dragged down Wall Street and Nissan’s chairman was arrested on charges of financial misconduct. (Koji Sasahara/Associated Press)

“A resolution doesn’t seem to be coming in the short term,” said Katie Nixon, the chief investment officer for Northern Trust Wealth Management. “A lot of the companies that are front and centre [like] Alphabet, Apple, IBM … could be significantly limited in the way they export their technology.”

Apple fell 4.8 per cent to $176.98 US and is down 23.7 per cent from the peak it reached October 3, though it’s still up almost 5 per cent this year. Microsoft lost 2.8 per cent to $101.71 US and IBM fell 2.6 per cent to $117.20 US.

As the tech giants swoon, investors have lately turned to safer bets such as utilities, real estate companies and makers of household goods. They’ve also sought the safety of U.S. Treasuries.

Oil down 30% since Oct. 3

The price of oil has been falling sharply in recent weeks and is now down 30 per cent since Oct. 3.

Saudi Arabia and other countries started producing more oil after the Trump administration announced renewed sanctions on Iran, Nixon noted. The administration granted waivers to several countries allowing them to continue importing oil from Iran, creating a supply glut that pushed prices dramatically lower.

Nixon said OPEC countries will probably cut back on oil production, but some investors are worried that the buildup in crude stockpiles is a sign the global economy isn’t doing as well as expected.

Earnings from retailers didn’t help investors’ mood. Target plunged skidded 10.5 per cent to $69.03 US after reporting earnings that missed Wall Street’s estimates due to higher expenses. Ross Stores, TJX and Kohl’s also fell on disappointing forecasts.

Tech stocks were among the biggest losers in Europe, too. Nokia and Ericsson, two top suppliers of telecom networks, each fell about 3 per cent. European indexes fell, with Germany’s DAX index dropping 1.6 per cent and the French CAC 30 falling 1.2 per cent. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.8 per cent.

Stocks also declined in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.1 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 2 per cent.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 6.6 per cent to $53.43 US a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 6.4 per cent to $62.53 US per barrel in London. Oil prices have nosedived since early October.

Wholesale gasoline fell 5.5 per cent to $1.50 US a gallon and heating oil skidded 4.6 per cent to $1.99 US a gallon. Natural gas dipped 3.8 per cent to $4.52 US per 1,000 cubic feet.

Bond prices were steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 3.06 per cent.

Gold slipped 0.3 per cent to $1,221.20 US an ounce. Silver fell 0.9 per cent to $14.27 US an ounce. Copper slid 1.2 per cent to $2.77 US a pound.

The dollar fell to 112.40 yen from 112.54 yen. The euro fell to $1.1399 US from $1.1453 US.

With files from CBC News.

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The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021

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Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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