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Stock futures little changed heading into final session of June

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Stock futures hugged the flat line Monday evening as overnight trading kicked off ahead of the final session of the month and quarter.

The S&P 500 and Dow were on track to post gains of less than 1% for the month of June. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed amid a broad tech rally, with the index on track to post a monthly advance of more than 4%.

During Monday’s session, the Dow’s more than 2.3% gain was powered in large part by Boeing (BA), which surged 14% during the regular session after the Federal Aviation Administration began its long-awaited test flights for the 737 Max. The aircraft manufacturer pared some gains in late trading, dipping more than 1%.

Elsewhere, shares of Lululemon (LULU) rose in late trading after announcing it would be acquiring the home fitness startup Mirror, putting it in competition with indoor cycling company Peloton (PTON). Shares of Peloton fell in late trading, though the stock had more than doubled for the year to date through Monday’s close as Wall Street bet on the resilience of the workout-from-home phenomenon in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of Wells Fargo (WFC) also fell in late trading after the company announced plans to slash its dividend, following the Federal Reserve’s announced restrictions on bank payouts last week in its stress test results. Peer big banks including Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) left their third-quarter dividends unchanged, however, and shares of these banks traded slightly higher overnight.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is set to deliver testimony before the House Financial Services Committee alongside U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday. In prepared remarks released Monday afternoon, Powell noted that despite some more upbeat developments in recent economic reports, “output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels.”

“The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” he added in the statement. “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”

Incrementally more positive developments in the pandemic’s spread across new hot spots also helped buoy stocks during Monday’s session. Texas reported a 2.9% one-day increase in new coronavirus cases for the lowest rise in a week, according to Bloomberg data, though intensive-care units in the Houston area remained strained. Florida’s cases rose 3.7%, or 1.8 percentage points below the average increase over the past seven days. California’s new-case rate, at 2.8%, also trailed its average over the past week.

6:07 p.m. ET: Stock futures little changed

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:07 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,047.25, down 0.5 points or 0.02%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,482.00, down 15 points, or 0.06%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,981.25, down 7.5 points, or 0.08%

Traders wearing masks work, on the first day of in person trading since the closure during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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Finance

source – Smithers Interior News

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The CFL has sent Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault a revised financial request.

A CFL source said Friday the league is seeking roughly $42.5 million in aid. In April, it asked the federal government for up to $150 million in financial assistance in the event of a cancelled 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the league was anxious “to be accountable to taxpayers,’ and would attempt to repay a portion of government assistance through ”community programs, tourism promotion, the Grey Cup, our digital channels.”

The source added the new request is to cover operating costs and player salaries for a shortened 2020 season. The proposal also includes a letter of support from the CFL Players’ Association.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the government nor CFL have confirmed the request.

Last month, the CFL and CFLPA began talks to amend the current collective bargaining agreement to allow for an abbreviated season. The two sides must sign off on any changes for any games to be played.

But prior to the start of negotiations, the CFL presented the union with a memo outlining the conditions it wanted and a completion deadline of July 23.

When asked about the revised financial request, the CFL said, “We continue discussions with the federal government including discussions on our possible return to play.”

While the revision is for substantially less money, the CFL’s situation hasn’t changed much. It still requires financial assistance with revenues having dropped drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expenses expected to continue to rise if it tries to play a season with no fans

The CFL’s initial request of Ottawa consisted of three tiers: It called for $30 million immediately to manage the impact the outbreak has had on league business; additional assistance for an abbreviated regular season; and up to another $120 million in the event of a lost 2020 campaign.

When Ambrosie spoke to a federal standing committee on finance in May, he was roundly criticized for failing to stipulate where the funds would go and not involving the CFLPA in the process. But the source said the revised proposal mirrors an authentic financial offer and contains more specific details than the original one did.

The earliest an abbreviated ‘20 season will begin is September, but Ambrosie has stated a cancelled campaign also remains possible.

If the CFL holds a shortened season, it’s expected to do so in a hub city. Winnipeg has been mentioned as a strong hub candidate, but the source said Regina also is under consideration.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and Its Core Subsidiaries

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OLDWICK, N.J.–()–AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “bbb” and the various Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IR) on the unsecured debt and preferred equity of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) (Toronto, Canada). AM Best also has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a+” of the subsidiaries of Odyssey Group Holdings, Inc. (Odyssey Group). Concurrently, AM Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a” of the members of the Crum & Forster Insurance Group (C&F), the members of the Zenith National Insurance Group (Zenith Group), the members of Northbridge Financial Corporation (Northbridge) (Toronto, Canada) and Wentworth Insurance Company Limited (Wentworth) (Barbados). In addition, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICRs of “bbb” and the Long-Term IRs of Zenith National Insurance Corp. (headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA) and Fairfax (US) Inc. (Delaware), both of which are indirectly, wholly owned downstream holding companies of Fairfax. The outlook of all of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. (See link below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)

The ratings of Odyssey Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). The ratings also reflect group member Odyssey Reinsurance Company’s (Odyssey Re) ranking among AM Best’s top global reinsurers, supported by the group’s diversified global geographic footprint, which includes reinsurance and specialty primary insurance, large-line capacity and broad product offerings. Somewhat offsetting these strengths is Odyssey Re’s challenging operating environment, with the uncertainty brought by the current COVID-19 pandemic developments.

The ratings of C&F reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings also reflect the benefits the group derives from its role within the larger Fairfax enterprise. C&F also benefits from its diversified and growing product portfolio and distribution networks. Management continues to focus on growth in its specialty business at appropriate rates, terms and conditions. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the competitive market conditions that persist in the commercial lines sector and relatively unfavorable expense levels.

The ratings of the Zenith Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings also are enhanced by the benefits the group derives from its position in the Fairfax enterprise. Furthermore, the ratings reflect management’s expertise and commitment to maintaining underwriting discipline throughout market cycles. Zenith’s underwriting performance over many years has outperformed the workers compensation market. Somewhat offsetting these positive rating factors is Zenith’s concentration of written premium in California and Florida, as well as the job market impact caused by the COVID-19 reducing payrolls.

The ratings of Northbridge reflect the group’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings of Northbridge also acknowledge the group’s position within Canada’s commercial insurance market, diversified commercial lines franchise and strong broker distribution network. The group continues to benefit from improved and strong underwriting performance within its small to mid-market commercial segment. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are competitive market conditions that persist in Canada’s commercial and personal lines segments, and the group’s relatively unfavorable expense levels.

The ratings of Wentworth reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings also are enhanced by the benefits it derives from its position in the Fairfax enterprise. In addition, the ratings of Wentworth are supported by its historically profitable underwriting performance and loss reserve position. The company benefits from its investment portfolio, which includes a significant allocation of cash and short-term securities. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is the company’s concentration of property catastrophe exposure within its book of business, which subjects it to a substantial degree of volatility as evidenced over the past few years.

A complete listing of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries’ FSRs, Long-Term ICRs and Long-Term IRs also is available.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media – Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Billionaire Musk’s net worth zooms past Warren Buffett’s

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(Reuters) – Elon Musk’s net worth soared past Warren Buffett on Friday as the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> became the seventh richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Musk’s fortune rose by $6.07 billion on Friday, Bloomberg News said, following a 10.8% jump in the electric carmaker’s stock.

Buffett’s net worth dropped earlier this week when he donated $2.9 billion in Berkshire Hathaway <BRKa.N> stock to charity, the report added.

Tesla’s shares have surged 500% over the past year as the company increased sales of its Model 3 sedan.

The blistering rally also puts Musk in reach of a payday potentially worth $1.8 billion, his second jackpot from the electric car maker in about two months.

The stock is up about 38% since the close on July 1, a day before the company reported its quarterly delivery numbers.

Tesla’s solid delivery numbers heightened expectations of a profitable second quarter, which would mark the first time in its history that it would report four consecutive quarters of profit.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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