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Loonie continues to soar on rate hike expectations, as North American indexes slide TORONTO – The Canadian dollar continued to climb Thursday as speculation grew that the Bank of Canada is ready to raise its key interest rate sooner rather than later.The loonie touched 77 cents US for the first time since February during the session before pulling back at the close to an average price of 76.83 cents US, trading 0.26 of a U.S. cent higher.The increase was also helped by an uptick in oil prices, with the August crude contract adding 19 cents at US$44.93 per barrel.Comments from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz on Wednesday raised expectations that a rate increase could come as early as next month’s central bank meeting on July 12.The bank had lowered its rate twice in 2015 to the very low level of 0.5 per cent to help offset the effects of the lower oil prices.Chief market strategist Colin Cieszynski of CMC Markets Canada says Poloz’s remarks point to the prospective trend that central banks around the world may start moving on rates.The U.S. Federal Reserve has already hiked its interest rates three times in about six months, and earlier this month, suggested it will raise rates again later this year.“Ideally what the Bank of Canada is looking for is some kind of sweet spot for rates,” said Cieszynski.“A few years back when the loonie was up at par (with the U.S. dollar), companies were really, really struggling,” he said. “When it was down in the low 70s, it was tough for consumers.”He says he expects the Canadian dollar to “take a break” over the next few days because it has risen a full U.S. cent against the greenback in two days.The gain in the currency Thursday came as the S&P/TSX composite index shed 142.16 points, or almost one per cent, to 15,213.42, with nearly all sectors ending in the red.It was also a negative session in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 167.58 points to 21,287.03 and the broader S&P 500 index fell 20.99 points to 2,419.70.The Nasdaq composite index dropped 90.06 points to 6,144.35 as U.S. technology companies continued to decline for another day.Elsewhere in commodities, the August gold contract retreated $3.30 to US$1,245.80 an ounce, the August natural gas contract dipped five cents at US$3.04 per mmBTU, and the September copper contract added two cents at US$2.70 a pound.Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter. by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 29, 2017 9:38 am MDT Last Updated Jun 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

A pensioner killed two of his passengers when he parked his car in the fast lane of the M42 to ask a road worker for directions. James Davies, 71, was giving his partner Christine Evans, 53, and her friend Barbara Jones, 63, a lift to Birmingham Airport when he got lost having come across a diversion.He was driving on the northbound carriageway of the M42 attempting to reach Birmingham Airport at 3am on January 5 when he came across a diversion.Davies parked in the fast lane between junctions 9 and 10 near the Warwickshire village of Kingsbury – some 10 miles north of the airport – after spotting workers on the opposite carriageway which was closed for maintenance.He put on his hazard lights before clambering over the barriers on the central reservation to speak to Highways Agency worker Jake Ashmore, who was in his car.Three drivers managed to swerve past Davies’ Vauxhall Meriva before a white Mercedes Sprinter ploughed into it.His partner of 12 years Ms Evans and her friend, pub landlord Ms Jones, who were in the back seat, were killed instantly.Ms Jones’ partner Gareth Isaac, who was also in the car, escaped with minor injuries, as did the van driver.  Barbara Jones (left) and Christine Evans (right) On Tuesday, Davies, of Welshpool, Powys, admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for two years and four months at Warwick Crown Court. Judge Anthony Potter said: “This was rightly described as a terrible tragedy, and it will affect all of those people, including you, for many years.”Although you had driven to Birmingham airport in the past, you were not particularly familiar with the M42, and when you encountered a diversion you became disorientated and you were heading north.”The southbound carriageway had been closed for some work to be done, and for reasons that are hard to fathom, having become lost, you decided to stop, not on the hard shoulder, but on the outside carriageway of the motorway.”The court heard Highways Agency worker Mr Ashmore watched in horror as Davies climbed over the central reservation and knocked on his window.Prosecutor Simon Davis said: “Mr Ashmore was immediately concerned, and ushered Mr Davies to the other side of the road, back towards his car, as quickly as he could.”It was obvious the defendant had parked in the fast lane of the northbound carriageway and crossed the central reservation and the closed southbound carriageway to the Highways vehicle.”Mr Ashmore, recognising the danger, ordered the defendant to move his car. He got out of his vehicle and took two to three steps towards the car with the defendant. Barbara Jones (left) and Christine Evans (right)Credit:SWNS Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “But within two to three seconds he saw a white van collide with the rear of the defendant’s vehicle.”The court heard Davies had been parked for no less than a minute and 15 seconds before it was hit by a Mercedes Sprinter van, which was projected forward and rotated twice in the air before crashing to the ground.The judge told the court putting the hazard lights on was a “wholly inadequate warning” to the danger the car presented. “Leaving a stationary vehicle in the fast lane of a motorway is dangerous enough, but to leave it with three people inside it, whose lives were in your hands, is even worse,” the judge added. In mitigation, the judge took into consideration the close personal relationship Davies had with his partner of more than a decade. But the judge also pointed out that a “significant” aggravating factor was that his driving caused the death of two people. The court heard that while Davies was subject to an interim driving ban he was caught behind the wheel teaching someone to drive.Jemma Gordon, defending, said: “Mr Davies finds himself before the court for the first time in his life in the most tragic of circumstances. A momentary decision affects those around us, and sometimes those effects are catastrophic.” read more