Business News Summary Headlines

Company releases, economic news, and business coverage.

Passengers leave ship docked off Japan after quarantine ends

YOKOHAMA, Japan - About 500 passengers left the Diamond Princess cruise ship Wednesday at the end of a much-criticized two-week quarantine that failed to stop the spread of the new virus among passengers and crew.

The quarantine's flop was underlined as Japanese authorities announced 79 more cases, bringing the total on the ship to 621. Results were still pending for some other passengers and crew among the original 3,711 people on board.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 09:12 PM

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as blockades drag on

MONTREAL - Via Rail says it is temporarily laying off 1,000 employees due to blockades that continue to halt trains on CN tracks in Eastern Canada.

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger service on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes for nearly two weeks due to the protests that have disrupted rail operations across the country.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 07:18 PM

Fed seems inclined to keep rates low as virus poses risks

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve officials were mostly optimistic about the U.S. and global economies last month, though they noted the risk posed by China’s viral outbreak and said they were ready to keep their benchmark interest rate at its current low level in the coming months.

Fed policymakers observed at their Jan. 28-29 meeting that risks to the U.S. economy had faded since their previous meeting in December, according to minutes released Wednesday. The Trump administration had reached a preliminary trade agreement with China, and Congress approved an updated trade pact with Canada and Mexico.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 06:44 PM

Gucci bares backstage, No. 21 celebrates a decade

Milan Fashion Week opened Wednesday with outreach to China, largely cut off from the rest of the world by a new virus, and to Africa, often overlooked by luxury except as references.

New York-based Chinese designer Han Wen presented a runway show on the eve of the main calendar, standing in for three Chinese designers who had been scheduled to show in Milan but were blocked by the spread of the new coronavirus.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 06:15 PM

Another Catholic diocese seeks bankruptcy after abuse deals

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, six months after disclosing it had paid millions of dollars to people sexually abused as children by its clerics.

The diocese joins at least 20 others across the United States in seeking protection from creditors through the federal bankruptcy system, but it is the first diocese in Pennsylvania to take such a step.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 05:37 PM

Bell Mobility: CRTC's MVNO proposal is 'highly aggressive,' puts spending at risk

GATINEAU, Que. - Canadian consumers won't get better deals on wireless data if mobile virtual network operators are introduced into an already competitive market, but such a move would slow an ongoing major upgrade to the national communication backbone, Bell Canada and Bell Mobility executives testified Wednesday.

Speaking at the second day of public hearings before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Gatineau, Que., Bell Canada chief executive Mirko Bibic said any form of MVNO mandate would an "aggressive" regulatory intervention.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 05:29 PM

Shelved Suncor thermal oilsands project wins Alberta government approval

CALGARY - The Alberta government has approved an application by Suncor Energy Inc. to build a 40,000-barrel-per-day thermal oilsands project but construction is unlikely to start any time soon.

The province says in a news release that the Meadow Creek West project 40 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, which would use steam to produce bitumen from wells, can now apply for environmental and local development permits.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 05:22 PM

TSX sets new record high on rally led by energy and materials; U.S. markets up

TORONTO - Canada's main stock index set a new record high Wednesday as a deceleration in reported cases of the COVID-19 virus set off a rally led by the key energy and materials sectors.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 67.02 points to a record close of 17,925.36 after hitting an intraday high of 17,933.21.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 05:17 PM

Nunavut projects fourth deficit budget in a row on slightly increased revenues

IQALUIT, Nunavut - The Nunavut government is tabling its fourth deficit budget in a row despite slightly increased revenues.

"Planning to spend more than we expect to receive in a year is not a comfortable feeling," said a copy of the speech Finance Minister George Hickes was to deliver in the territorial legislature Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 05:00 PM

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

TORONTO - Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:

Toronto Stock Exchange (17,925.36, up 67.02 points.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 04:25 PM