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Wall Street falters after strong start to wrap up a rocky 2018

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes faltered after a strong start on Monday in thin trading, as optimism on signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade war was offset by oil prices erasing gains in the last day of what is Wall Street’s worst year in a decade.

President Donald Trump said he had a “very good call” with China’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade and that “big progress” was being made, although Chinese state media were more reserved, saying Xi hoped the negotiating teams could meet each other half way.

Trump, as in the past when speaking on trade negotiations, gave no details on what issues were discussed. Trade experts and people familiar with the negotiations have said Beijing needs to do far more to meet U.S. demands for long-term change in how China does business.

“The fact of the matter is that there were Trump headlines over the weekend which pushed stocks higher initially, but such moves certainly don’t last for very long in a market like this,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

“News on just trade right now is hardly enough to sustain a rally, it just hasn’t been the case for a while.”

After the violent swings this month, the last day of trading is expected to be relatively muted in comparatively light volumes ahead of the holiday on Tuesday for New Year’s Day.

The S&P energy index .SPNY, the worst performing among the 11 major sectors this year, erased earlier gains to trade flat as oil prices dropped.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) fell 1.2 percent, cementing its place as the worst performing FAANG stock of the year, while Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) fell 0.5 percent.

While they weighed the most on the major indexes, the others in the group, Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), which rose between 0.8 percent and 2.7 percent, provided the biggest boost.

The trade-sensitive S&P industrials sector .SPLRCI also gave up gains to trade flat, although Boeing Co’s (BA.N) roughly 1 percent gain gave the biggest boost to the Dow Industrials.

At 11:52 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 130.67 points, or 0.57 percent, at 23,193.07, while the S&P 500 .SPX was up 6.13 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,491.87. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 17.62 points, or 0.27 percent, at 6,602.15.

Health stocks .SPXHC, already the best performing sector this year, were the biggest gainers, up 0.84 percent. The defensive utilities .SPLRCU and real estate .SPLRCR were among the eight sectors lower.

The S&P is down roughly 9.5 percent so far in December, on pace for its biggest monthly drop since February 2009 and its worst December since the Great Depression.

The S&P and Dow are down 6.5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, for the year, snapping two-year winning streaks in their biggest annual loss since 2008. The Nasdaq has ended a six-year winning streak to drop about 4.5 percent.

Most of the damage was inflicted in the past three months as worries about Sino-U.S. trade frictions, U.S. interest rate hikes, slowing corporate profit growth, Brexit and the partial U.S. federal government shutdown, now in its 10th day, formed a perfect storm across global financial markets.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Many of these concerns will carry over into 2019, but for this week the major point of interest will be key U.S. economic reports, including on manufacturing and employment.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.09-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs or lows, while the Nasdaq recorded three new highs and 52 new lows.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila

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Independent Consultant Beginner – 6 Should Have Pieces Of It Technology And Software

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What Make Sure You Really Know Right Anyone Decide To Travel

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When traveling with children advised plan your route in advance. Do a little research and see as relevant and fun places to stop such as parks, museums or other attractions. Once you take breaks every non-chemical hours so everyone maybe even including the children probably get out and stretch their legs.

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Majority of Canadian workers willing to take less pay for a workplace pension plan: survey

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A majority (70 per cent) of Canadians say they’re willing to forgo a higher salary in exchange for a workplace pension plan, according to a new survey for the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan by Abacus Data.

The survey, which polled more than 2,000 Canadian adults in April, signals an opportunity for employers to build back the post-coronavirus pandemic working landscape better by expanding access to good retirement plans — whether they’re defined benefit, defined contribution or group registered retirement savings plans, says Steven McCormick, senior vice-president of plan operations at the HOOPP.

According to the survey, a secure retirement remains of greater concern for Canadians than concerns about their health, debt load and job security. McCormick says this has been a consistent worry the HOOPP has seen in survey results over the past couple of years. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said they’re very concerned about having enough money in retirement, while 31 per cent were highly concerned about their personal debt load and 26 per cent cited their job security. Close to half of respondents expressed high concerns for their physical (43 per cent) and mental (40 per cent) health.

In addition, the pandemic has harmed the finances of more than half (52 per cent) of Canadians’ surveyed and it’s had a particularly disproportionate affect on the finances of younger adults. Adults aged 44 and younger said they’re twice as likely (25 per cent) to have had their finances greatly harmed, compared to those over the age of 60 (12 per cent).

Generally, younger adults tend to work in roles that may have been impacted most by the pandemic, says McCormick, whether in service industries that were shut down or frontline health care that have been busy but don’t always come with access to a pension plan. “Affordability is an issue, so I think their worries increased during this time.”

And while almost half (46 per cent) of Canadians surveyed said they’ve saved more money than they would have since the onset of the pandemic, among these respondents, over half (52 per cent) didn’t put any of their savings toward their retirement. Overall, most (63 per cent) Canadians surveyed haven’t set aside or saved anything for retirement in the past year, a five-point increase since 2019.

McCormick says this may be due to uncertainty or hesitancy about whether people’s immediate needs outweigh longer-term needs. And with 55 per cent of respondents noting they were very concerned about the cost of day-to-day living, he adds that rising prices have fuelled insecurity and worries so people are creating their own emergency funds right now.

While there’s a segment of the population who’ve saved more and, for them, the pandemic has created wealth, he doesn’t see this as a common narrative in the survey data. “If you don’t have access to a workplace pension or the opportunity to have things like automatic enrolment, the uncertainty of the time may have you holding onto money,” says McCormick. “In Ontario, we’re more optimistic about the pandemic than we were maybe a month ago, but there are still people worrying about whether there’ll be a fourth wave.”

In addition, more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said a retirement crisis is looming and 65 per cent said saving for retirement is prohibitively expensive. It’s a common and shared dream for many people in looking forward to a secure retirement, says McCormick, noting for many, making that dream a reality remains elusive.

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