How well do you know your investment advisor? Although there is no simple test that can determine whether your advisor is the right fit for you, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you find the right advisor. In this video, I discussed 3 things to look for in a good investment advisor.
Is the market getting expensive? Read my recent interview by David Hodges from The Canadian Press.
Last Friday, I spoke with BNN's Michael Hainsworth to discuss the changes happening in the Canadian retail industry now that Sears Canada is closing after 65 years in the business. We also discussed the rise of online retail and how Amazon is affecting the market. Is Amazon a good buy today?
Minus a few blips along the way, stock markets have gone steadily up since the depths of the financial crisis in March 2009. This has some investors worried. After all, what goes up must come down. However, while that’s typically true, the fact is the markets have been quietly self-correcting over the past several months. For example, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is basically flat for the year.
The U.S. stock markets are interesting. They have outperformed the TSX but that growth is driven largely because of a handful of huge tech multinationals, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. For example, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average went from 21,000 to 22,000 very quickly, Boeing and Apple made up 500 points of that growth--two companies out of 30 on the index.
And then you have perhaps the most polarizing president in U.S. history. The inability of President Trump to pass his healthcare agenda has given rise to concern over whether he can get his tax cuts through. Geopolitical unrest, the result of threats coming from North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, coupled with devastating weather in the form of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are also weighing on investors. What will it all mean for the markets and individual companies?
The thing to remember is politics and weather have short-lived repercussions for the markets. Long-term, the markets will always rise. Any stock market chart goes from the bottom left to the top right with peaks and valleys along the way. When you look at the breadth of the market today, stocks are not overpriced or underpriced. Generally speaking, they are fairly priced.
Here’s what you need to know to navigate the uncertainty:
- Keep an eye on your sector allocation. When interest rates are on the rise, invest in bank stocks and move away from real estate trusts. Rotate your assets so they align with what’s happening in the economy. Buy and hold is no longer a smart move in today’s dynamic market environment.
- The outlook for corporate earnings is good. It’s always critical to look at the fundamentals of the stocks you invest in.
- Check in with your advisor. I contact each of my clients every six to eight weeks to discuss what’s happening and where I think they should be.
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With Canadian exports down for 3 months in a row will interest rates rise again? Check out my interview with David Hodges from The Canadian Press.
Good news for the economy isn’t so good for investors. That’s at the crux of the flat returns many Canadian investors have experienced so far this year.
If we dig a little deeper, we can see the domino effect of healthy early economic performance numbers and rising employment rates in the first quarter of 2017. That upward momentum extended into May when oil output surged and pushed an already strengthening Canadian dollar higher. GDP was up 4.6% over the previous year, outpacing any and all expectations for the second quarter. It’s no surprise that for many investors, their best month in terms of returns was May.
With all this momentum, it only made sense that the Bank of Canada would raise interest rates first in mid July and now once again in September. This latest increase has boosted the Canadian dollar to more than US80 cents, up about 10% from the start of the year. At the same time, the U.S. dollar is at a three-year low compared to currencies around the world.
What does all this mean for Canadian investors who are buying U.S. stocks? When you have a strong Canadian dollar buying U.S. investments, when converted back into Canadian dollars, investors see their rate of return negatively impacted.
The good news? A weaker Canadian dollar is in the best interest of the country economically and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, having come from Export Development Canada, knows this. He’ll be watching the impact of recent rate hikes and will adjust strategy accordingly.
In the meantime, here are a few key pieces of advice to help you stay calm and carry on:
- Hold your position. If you already own U.S. investments, do not rush to sell because of currency valuations.
- Re-evaluate your portfolio based on the merit of the individual investments.
- Put the strong Canadian dollar to work. If you have Canadian dollars, this is the time to buy foreign stocks.
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