(This was originally published in the May 2017 version of The Dividend Growth Newsletter. It is available here.)
Despite reports earlier in the year that Canada’s economic growth would outpace the U.S., the TSX has returned just 0.41% year-to-date. After an outstanding year in 2016, Canadian markets have remained relatively stagnant while the U.S. markets have rocketed; Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office had the fifth-highest percentage gain in the S&P 500 in history. Stats Canada says the country’s real GDP growth was 3.7% in Q1, but the Canadian dollar could go even lower with lower oil prices, Stats Canada’s numbers are often subject to revision and not always reliable, and the federal government has yet to inject the economy with any infrastructure spending.
The rest of the summer is expected to be quiet at best. At worst, there are many signals pointing towards a correction or a market downturn. Reports on overvalued stocks, low bond yields and an imminent bursting of the Canadian housing bubble have been ubiquitous, and the global political climate remains sensitive. Whether or not those calls come to fruition this year remains to be seen, but Canadians were sitting on big cash piles in 2016, which indicates investors have been cautious for quite some time.
The flip side, however, is that staying invested tends to pay off in the long run. Stocks in the Dividend Aristocrat portfolios are meant to be held long-term, even through market downturns. To better adapt to a constantly changing environment, 10 new names have been added to the three model portfolios, which are outlined in the newsletter.