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Trump’s ‘tariff man’ talk spooks investors, sends stock markets plunging





Stock markets fell precipitously on Tuesday as weekend optimism that the U.S. and China could de-escalate their trade war fell by the wayside.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than three per cent, or 799 points, to 25,027. The broader S&P 500 fared even worse, losing 88 points to close just above 2,700. And the technology-heavy Nasdaq was worst of all, down almost four per cent, or 283 points, to 7158.

The TSX was comparatively better off, down only 1.3 per cent, or 211 points, to 15,063, as a rebound in oil prices “helped to break the fall of the Canadian markets a little bit,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will be closed on Wednesday for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush, so U.S. investors will have to wait until Thursday if they want to alter their currently gloomy view.

“People were willing to pile in yesterday but today perhaps the bulls and bargain hunters were a little more reluctant to step in,” Cieszynski said. “We’ll see what happens when U.S. trading resumes on Thursday.”

The causes of the dour mood were myriad, but they all boil down to fears that the economy is in for a bumpy ride.

“It’s more concerns about China and Trump,” Barry Schwartz, chief investment officer with Baskin Wealth Management, said in an interview. “I thought we had the truce but the market decided to get skeptical on it today.”

‘Something turned out to be nothing’

That gloom was a marked change from Monday, as U.S. markets had a mini rally after the weekend summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to what seemed like a ceasefire in their roiling trade war.

The U.S. administration on Monday claimed China had agreed to lower several tariffs on U.S. goods, but Chinese media outlets made no mention of such a concession. Then White House officials on Tuesday struggled to explain what — precisely — the two sides have actually agreed to do.

“The sense is that there’s less and less agreement between the two sides about what actually took place,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “There was a rally in the expectation that something had happened. The problem is that something turned out to be nothing.”

“As soon as investors digested the information from the discussions, they focused on the uncertainties and lack of details,” said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Nevada-based Informa Financial Intelligence.

Those smouldering flames then had gasoline poured on them later in the day, when Trump made a series of statements on Twitter that reconfirmed he’s as committed to trade barriers as ever.

“There was no news today,” Schwartz said. “There was some stupid tweets but really no news of substance.”

It didn’t help the mood that the bond markets started making a sign that has a track record of predicting recessions in the past. 

The yield curve on U.S. three-year government bonds versus five-year bonds inverted — meaning the rate for the former is now higher than the one for the latter. (Under normal circumstances, long-term debt has a higher yield than shorter-term debt, to reward investors for locking in their money for longer. For more on why inverted yields are so fearsome, read this story.)

Inverted yields suggest investors aren’t feeling confident about the future, and there’s a strong correlation between the appearance of an inversion and the U.S. economy going into a recession shortly thereafter.

“When short-term interest rates are higher than long-term, it definitely tells you people are worried about the economic outlook for the future,” Schwartz said.

But he thinks the gloom was overblown. The global economy has been growing at a healthy clip for several years in a row now, and he sees no reason to think that won’t continue into 2019. “But skepticism is winning the day,” Schwartz said. “This is where the markets want to be for now.”


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





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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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





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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Real Estate

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





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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