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Jeff Herold Commentaries


Canadian Preferred Shares Continue Their Upward Pattern in March

Jeff Herold
Jeff Herold, Portfolio Manager, NexGen Canadian Preferred Share Fund

Canadian preferred share prices continued to move upward in a seesaw pattern during March. An absence of new issues and occasional ETF flows were contributing factors behind the market strength. Interestingly, increased purchases of preferred share ETFs had a delayed reaction to underlying preferred share prices. As well, when ETF volumes declined, it led to preferred share prices retracing their gains. The S&P/TSX Preferred Share index returned 1.81% in the month. The Solactive Laddered Rate Reset index gained 2.13%, as rate reset issues outperformed other types of preferred shares.

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Canadian Bond Market Remarkably Stable in March

 

Jeff Herold
Jeff Herold, Portfolio Manager, NexGen Canadian Bond Funds

The Canadian bond market was remarkably stable in March, as a federal budget, a rate increase and legislative turmoil in the U.S. and the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union were taken in stride by investors, with each event having minimal impact on the market. Bond yields in Canada and the United States remained within their respective trading ranges which began in early December. The FTSE TMX Canada Universe Bond index returned 0.41% in March.

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Canadian Bond Market Seesaws in February as Yields Rise Then Fall Twice in the Month

 

Jeff Herold
Jeff Herold, Portfolio Manager, NexGen Canadian Bond Funds

The Canadian bond market moved in a seesaw pattern in February, with yields rising and then falling twice in the month. The bond market remained in the trading range that began in December, once the market had initially reacted to the surprise U.S. presidential election result. The market’s focus remained on the new U.S. administration, as the correlation between Canadian and U.S. bond yields was very high. Investors were hoping for greater clarity on the new government’s fiscal, regulatory and trade policies. The economic consensus remained optimistic, with risk premia (yield spreads) for provincial and corporate bonds shrinking and the U.S. stock market continuing its post-election rally. The FTSE TMX Canada Universe Bond index returned 0.96% in February.

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Canadian Preferred Shares Continued to Move Upward in Price in February

Jeff Herold
Jeff Herold, Portfolio Manager, NexGen Canadian Preferred Share Fund

Following their very strong gains in January, Canadian preferred shares continued to move upward in price in February, but at a more subdued pace. Reduced activity in preferred share Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) probably accounted for the smaller preferred share gains. The Bank of Montreal Laddered Rate Reset ETF (ZPR) experienced a 45% drop in units created from January to February, although a meaningful $81.8 million still flowed into the ETF. We suspect that the lower activity in ZPR reflected reduced hedging requirements for structured notes as the RSP season wound down. Because of the lower demand for rate reset preferred shares, that sector underperformed the broad market for the first time since last September. Also in February, new issue activity increased to four issues, compared with only one the previous month. The S&P/TSX Preferred Share index returned 1.49% in the month.

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Canadian Bond Market Seesaws in January as Investors Discern the Impact of the Change in U.S. Government

 

Jeff Herold
Jeff Herold, Portfolio Manager, NexGen Canadian Bond Funds

The Canadian bond market experienced a seesaw month as investors tried to discern the impact of the change in the United States’ government. After a weak finish to 2016, with lower bond prices and higher yields, it appeared that in January the market was catching its breath and evaluating whether it had discounted too much following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. Slightly higher yields for long-term bonds resulted in lower prices that caused the value of the overall index to decline marginally. The FTSE TMX Canada Universe Bond index returned -0.12% in January.

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