Jul 4, 2014

You’re Guilty

Good day, One aspect of Behavioural Finance deals with irrational behaviour of individual investors.  As human beings, we have psychological biases which inhibit impartial judgement when it comes to dealing with money.  Most often this counterproductive behaviour happens subconsciously but ultimately impacts the outcome of our financial wellbeing. While there are many examples of psychological.

Jun 13, 2014

Tax Strategy #2 – Enhance Deductions via the IPP

Good day, In my May 9th commentary I listed a number of advanced tax planning ideas which are generally overlooked by retail investors.  In an effort to continue with the tax theme I thought I’d comment on the merits of the IPP (Individual Pension Plan). The IPP is an initiative which was introduced by the.

Jun 6, 2014

Where’s the Bubble?

Good day, When analyzing asset classes it’s important to recognize that the trend isn’t always your friend.  While opportunities to make money exist in every economy, opportunities to lose money are perhaps more abundant. Through our research we’ve narrowed down a few bubble prone asset classes and found Greek & Spanish bonds as well as.

May 30, 2014

US Recession Ahead?

Good day,   The US Commerce Department released its GDP figures this week showing negative growth for the last quarter.  The report showed a 1% annualized decline, worse than most economists had expected.  A recession is defined as two negative quarters of GDP growth but will we see economic contraction during the current quarter? Some.

May 26, 2014

Tax Deduct Medical Expenses

Good day, As mentioned in my last commentary, over the upcoming weeks I will include writings on advanced tax strategies seldom applied by most Canadians.  This week I thought I would provide a brief description of the PHSP (Private Health Services Plan). The Canada Revenue Agency approved plan allows businesses to convert all health, medical.

May 9, 2014

Canadians Lack Tax Advice

Good day, The retail investor is inundated with information from economists, reporters and the investment advisory community.  Headlines and talk shows aim to predict the future as eager listeners seek clues in order to protect and grow investment dollars.  I suppose to some extent I too am guilty of contributing to this phenomenon given my.

May 2, 2014

I Believe in You (just a bit)

Good day,   North American markets climbed this week despite increasing tensions in the Ukraine.  For the time being investors have learned how to digest headlines and perhaps they are better equipped to understand risk.  The world has experienced many troubling events during the last decade but investors have learned that even under tremendous political.

Apr 26, 2014

Markets Slip

Good day, A tougher week for North American markets with the Dow sliding 0.53% for the week, the S&P 500 0.45% and the TSX 0.27%.  While we had some strong earnings reports this from tech players including Apple, many of the tech names which have seen some of the largest gains during this bull cycle.

Apr 11, 2014

US Oil Independence

  In 2011 US President Obama made a speech discussing the country’s goal to becoming less reliant on importing oil from abroad.  According to the EIA (Energy Information Administration), since the speech, Texas and North Dakota have doubled crude output and Texas now pumps more oil than Iran.   Many European and West African crude.

Apr 4, 2014

Will The TSX Rally Last?

Good Day, As you know I’ve favoured US stocks over Canadian for over 4 years now. I’ve stated in recent commentaries that the TSX should catch up at some point but the timing is somewhat uncertain. The TSX Total Return index (including dividends) has shown strong returns of approximately 13% in 2013 but this doesn’t.

Mar 28, 2014

Canadian Interest Rate Uncertain

  Good day, Last Wednesday, US Fed chair Janet Yellen stated the Fed Fund Rate would likely increase about six months after the bond buying program would end.  This would bring potential rate hikes in the US as early as spring of 2015. In the past interest rate hikes in the US have been closely.

Mar 14, 2014

Stock Markets Shrinking

Good Day, According to the World Federation of Exchanges, at the end of 2013 only 5,008 stocks traded on American exchanges which represents a decline of 44% from the high in 1997 when 8,884 stocks were trading on American exchanges. That’s right, about half as many stocks are available for purchase today on US exchanges.

Mar 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Bull

Good day,   This week marked the 5 year anniversary for the S&P500 bull market.  While global markets have some catching up to do, the S&P500 (the largest market in the world) is trading at an all-time high.  So when will the party end?   Despite the record high, I believe US markets will continue.

Feb 21, 2014

Chugging Along

  Friends,   The contraction of global markets in January has reversed.  For the month of February most North American & European markets have seen significant returns:   TSX: 3.76% S&P500: 3.21% DJIA: 2.77% FTSE100(London): 5.11% DAX (Germany): 3.24% CAC40 (Paris):4.53%   The Federal Reserve in the US is holding steady to its plans to.

Feb 11, 2014

The Start of 2014

Good Day, January was an eventful month. The currencies of multiple emerging market countries around the world experienced aggressive declines given the Fed’s decision to slow its bond buying program. I’ve received questions from readers about the relationship between global currencies and Fed tapering so here’s a brief explanation. The suffering US economy of 2008.

Jan 31, 2014

Goin’ to Europe

Good day, I mentioned earlier this month that we have been and continue to add European exposure to our portfolios. There are many reasons we favour this space but here are just a few. Stocks in Europe are cheap, in fact about half the price of US stocks from a price to earnings point of.

Jan 15, 2014

2014 Market Outlook

Good Day, I reviewed The Finish Line archives this morning and in the January commentaries of the last three years, I stated that the US market would outperform Canada’s. The total return including dividends of the TSX for the three year period is 10.56% while the S&P 500’s three year return is 55.97%. In addition.

Jan 15, 2014

Will the Housing Market Crash?

Good Day, Perhaps you’ve watched the news and heard about the Deutsche Bank study released this week stating that Canadian real estate is overpriced by 60%. In addition many economists agree that Canadian homes are extremely overvalued and the market is poised for a significant correction. On the other hand, real estate companies tell us.

Jan 15, 2014

Buffet Still the Best

  Good day, A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has been the best performing stock since 1976. The report went on to say that Buffett’s success has come from the use of leverage coupled with purchasing high quality companies when discounted by the general market..

Jan 15, 2014

Does the Market Mirror the Economy?

Good day, While the stock market continues its relentless climb I dug a little deeper to see how the underlying economy is fairing. According to Bloomberg, a U.S. report showed this week that consumers spent money at the fastest pace in three months this last October.  This will likely continue into the holiday season which.

Oct 18, 2013

Where Do We Stand?

Good day, Over the last couple of weeks the debt ceiling story has monopolized headlines and investors have ignored economic data and company reports. As the anxiety over the debt ceiling has subsided, the market has returned to its ongoing gradual climb. There are four main factors which I believe are contributing to the rally..

Oct 11, 2013

Be Thankful

Good day friends, While I’m thankful today that American politicians seem to have come to their senses, it’s very easy these days to lose sight of the simple things that truly make us happy. Even the smallest holiday has become a commercial activity with all kinds of goodies that apparently should make one happy. Luckily,.

Oct 4, 2013

2013 – the new 1954

Good Morning, Bespoke Investment Group, the American investment and research firm along with Bloomberg, have been tracking and comparing the trading patterns of 1954 and 2013. The companies found that day-to-day price moves for the S&P 500 are almost identical. In 1954, the S&P500 recovered all of its losses from the great depression but this.

Sep 30, 2013

The Rise and Fall of a Canadian Global Player

Good Day, In 1984, two engineering students came up with an idea which led to a mobile communication giant, shaping the multi-billion dollar smart phone business we know today. Mike Lazaridis of the University of Waterloo & Douglas Fregin at the University of Windsor founded Research In Motion Ltd., which in its early days provided.

Sep 20, 2013

The Future of Asset Protection

Good Day, For decades, bonds have provided steady income for investors as well as a means to balance out and reduce the volatility of equities. While bonds could continue to present some short term opportunities, rising interest rates will unfortunately have a negative impact on fixed income investing. This presents a conundrum for the investment.

Sep 13, 2013

This Won’t Last Forever

There will come a time when I will write about a poor market outlook, likely due to overvalued stocks and overly optimistic views. Fortunately we are not there today. The sluggish but growing global economy suggests the bull market is nowhere near its end. This week the U.S. Commerce Department reported that retail sales in.

Aug 23, 2013

The News is No News

Investors around the world waited for a statement from the Federal Reserve containing definitive plans to either taper down its bond purchasing campaign, or leave it as is. Unfortunately, the Fed’s news was very similar to that of a few months back – no definitive plans. Although most U.S. officials feel tapering should begin at.

Aug 16, 2013

Canada Starts its Engines

For two years we have stressed the importance of maintaining a bias towards US equities. Stock valuations were more attractive than they had been in a number of years and given China’s slower economic growth, the TSX was bound to disappoint. This has paid off for our assets under administration. In 2012 the TSX saw.

Aug 9, 2013

The Spousal Loan

Good day, Of the many tax planning strategies available, an often overlooked but effective approach is the use of a spousal loan. Our clients regularly ask if they can hold their non-registered investments within the account of the lower income spouse. If the funds didn’t originate from the lower income spouse to begin with, the.

Aug 2, 2013

Is Your Cell Phone a Rip Off?

Good morning friends, It’s no secret that Canadians pay more to their cell phone service provider than just about any others around the world. Now could you ever imagine that the three big Canadian telecoms (Rogers, Telus & Bell) would ever get along and team up? With the proposed entry of American telecom provider Verizon.