Fluctuating oil prices is nothing new. We’re no longer surprised to see crude move +/- 4% in a day depending on the news, whether it be a production accident, an OPEC meeting or rising case counts. Most recently, oil has been under pressure on rising concerns over the demand impact of the next wave of infections. The contagious delta variant is already triggering renewed lockdowns in parts of China and other Asian countries where vaccination rates are low. This is a global concern, but we continue to believe that this remains a passing demand headwind, which can be offset by existing supply tailwinds.
Earnings season is nearing its conclusion for the U.S. and it has been a great season. With 442 S&P 500 companies having reported, 85% exceeded earnings forecasts and 83% beat on sales as well. Looking at data over two decades, these are historically elevated positive surprise rates. Even more impressive has been the magnitude of the surprises. On average, earnings beat by +17% and revenue by +5%. Wow.
A recent negotiation standoff between OPEC and the United Arab Emirates left investors wondering whether oil production would be ramped up enough to meet growing demand. Luckily, it appears the two sides have reached a tentative agreement and will meet once again in the coming months to hammer out the details. Still, this is a disconcerting piece of news that could have an effect on investors and the Canadian economy as a whole.
Portfolio diversification has always been a major key to investing success. This is exactly why the 60/40 portfolio theory has become so popular over the past 50+ years. But with interest rates remaining near zero, and a broader range of investable assets available than ever before, is it time to rethink this long-held portfolio management strategy?
Executors are the managers of estates: they administer the last will and distribute assets to beneficiaries and other specified parties in the will. An executor has responsibility with significant potential for moral hazard and a large influence on the velocity and amount of capital that is preserved within an estate; hence, it is paramount to elect a trusted and appropriate executor for your will and estate. To be an executor is to assume a legal responsibility that can be called upon at any time.
RRSPs and TFSAs should be included in an affluent Canadian’s tax-saving efforts. The problem is these shelters deplete fairly quickly for affluent investors. Let’s look at what role an RRSP and TFSA play in a high-net-worth investor’s portfolio.
Coming out of halftime, North American equity markets have witnessed a leadership reversal among the major indices. Canada has slowed, rising +0.8% in July, remaining higher this year by a healthy 18.2%. While Canada has paused, our North American counterpart south of the border has picked up the pace. The S&P 500 rose 2.4% in July, reaching fresh new highs. In fact, the S&P 500 has made a new record high in each of the last nine months. Too easy.
There is a large cohort of investors that loves gold, and a large cohort that dislikes gold; we are neither. Our opinion on the yellow metal and gold mining companies changes over time. This is evident in gold allocation in our fundamentally driven North American dividend-focused portfolio over the past five years, from less than 3% to over 9% and currently sitting at 7%.
With the number of economic and public health uncertainties worldwide, it’s important to diversify away from systematic risks that materialize when you invest in a limited number of asset classes. Alternative investments are financial options that don’t fall into the conventional silos of stock, cash, or fixed income markets — they often provide market uncorrelated income and yield in times of uncertainty. This article is the first in a series from Echelon on non-traditional alternative investments for Canadian High Net Worth investors. Here, we cover investments in private equity, private debt, and real assets.