TSX Wall Street advance as traders look to Federal Reserve for guidance

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market advanced as investors continue to buy up stocks that suffered during the worst of a market downturn earlier in the month. They are also looking ahead to tomorrow’s interest rate announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 40.01 points to 14,509.01. The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.28 of a cent to 89.26 cents US.U.S. indexes were also positive with the Dow Jones industrials ahead 72.21 points to 16,890.15, the Nasdaq gained 22.2 points to 4,508.13 and the S&P 500 index was ahead 7.73 points to 1,969.36.This week’s Fed meeting comes as the central bank’s key stimulus program — its massive bond purchases designed to keep long-term rates low — is set to wind up at the end of this month. Traders will also look for reassurance that the Fed is in no hurry to raise rates from near zero.Meanwhile, Twitter said that adjusted earnings in the latest quarter were one cent a share, matching expectations. But investors concerned about user growth and holiday-quarter revenue sent the stock tumbling 14%. read more

Regions hit hard by plunge in commodity prices get sweetened EI pot

OTTAWA – The federal budget is changing the rules that govern employment insurance, measures aimed at helping resource-dependent provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Saskatchewan.Workers there, many of them likely at or near the end of their unemployment benefits, will get a short-term boost.Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget adds five weeks to the regular 45 weeks of EI benefits those workers receive, effective in July but retroactive to January 2015.That measure will cost the treasury $405 million this year and $177 million next year.Long-tenured workers in the 12 regions identified in the budget as suffering the sharpest jumps in joblessness will be eligible for an extra 20 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 70 weeks.That change, too, will be effective in July but retroactive to January of last year.“In the short-term, the collapse of the price of oil and other commodities has strained families and communities in many provinces,” Morneau said in his budget speech.The budget also cut the two-week waiting period for benefits to one week, starting next year, added $19 million to speed up processing of benefit applications and $73 million over two years to hire more people at overwhelmed call centres. Regions hit hard by plunge in commodity prices get sweetened EI pot in budget by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 22, 2016 2:58 pm MDT Last Updated Mar 22, 2016 at 4:09 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Finance Minister Bill Morneau holds a news conference before the release of his federal budget in Ottawa, Tuesday March 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand read more