Natixis Canada Blog

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Preferred Shares Rally into Early April, But Finish the Month Slightly Lower

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

The Canadian preferred share market initially extended its rally into early April, but prices declined over the balance of the month to finish slightly lower than where they began. In part, the pullback later in the month could have been market fatigue as preferred share prices have risen almost continuously since mid-November. As well, some investors appeared to have been buying rate reset issues in anticipation that rising 5-year Canada bond yields would improve their dividend rates. However, when bond yields hit their lowest level of 2017 in April, that rationale lost support. The decline in bond yields reflected a risk-off shift in investor confidence which impacted preferred shares, as well as common equities. Also, index rebalancing later in the month saw more issues entering the index than being removed. In order to make room for the additions, indexed portfolio managers may have been forced to do more generalized selling of other issues, which led to further weakness in the market. In addition, the issuance of structured notes linked to preferred share ETFs declined, thereby reducing preferred share demand for hedging purposes. The S&P/TSX Preferred Share Total Return index had a flat return of 0% in the month.

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Bonds Break Out of Their Trading Range, With Prices Moving Higher and Yields Declining in April

 

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

Following four months of sideways movement, bonds broke out of their trading range in April, with prices moving higher and yields declining. In large part, the catalyst for lower yields was the flagging optimism about the U.S. economy. The combination of weaker than expected economic data, the chaotic performance of the new Trump administration, and the inability of the U.S. Republican Party to agree on major policies such as the repeal of Obamacare, caused investors to lose confidence in the anticipated economic acceleration from the implementation of Trump’s election promises. Canadian bond yields lowered, following U.S. bond yields. The FTSE TMX Canada Universe Bond index returned 1.43% in April.

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Bonds and Equities Produce Positive Returns in Q1 2017, Signalling Stronger Economic Growth for 2017

Ron Patton, Portfolio Manager, Natixis Strategic Balanced Fund

Market Review & Outlook

All asset classes – fixed income, Canadian equities, and global equities – produced a positive return in the first quarter. Equities continued to advance higher, with the MSCI World Index, up 5.8%, outperforming S&P/TSX Composite Index, which was up 2.4%, following an excellent performance in 2016. The FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index returned 1.2%, a significant rebound from the -3.4% return seen in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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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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Global Equities Benefited from the Synchronized Uptick in Global GDP Growth in Q1 2017

Charles Lannon, Portfolio Manager, NexGen Global Equity Fund

 

Global equities, as represented by the MSCI World Index, returned 5.35% in Q1 2017 (in Canadian dollar terms, net of dividends). Sector leadership this year shows a marked shift from the types of stocks that enjoyed an initial bump in the aftermath of Trump’s victory. Thus far in 2017, cyclical stocks and industries are no longer outperforming. This likely reflects a more sanguine appreciation of the challenges that the new administration faces in implementing its agenda. It might also reflect a consideration as to whether or not the suite of policy proposals can instill the confidence necessary to accelerate U.S. GDP from the 1.6% growth rate that Bloomberg consensus expects this year. Regardless, global equities undoubtedly benefited from the synchronized uptick in global GDP growth with key PMI’s from the U.S., Europe, China and Japan remaining clearly above 50, a level that denotes growth and expansion.

 

 

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