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Market Volatility Perspective

Investments, Investment Views

Global stock market volatility accelerated in recent days on renewed global economic weakness concerns. Continued economic and stock market weakness in China has received much of the blame for the recent volatility. Last week’s devaluation of the Chinese renminbi against the U.S. dollar was an attempt by the Chinese government to boost exports, but may also signal an economy that is weaker than official reports indicate.

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Revisiting the Nifty Fifty

Investments, Investment Views

The ‘Nifty Fifty’ were a group of 50 popular large-cap U.S. stocks that were must own blue chips in the 1960s and early 70s. This piece from USA Today last year recaps the phenomenon quite well. This was a group of stocks with which you could do no wrong – they would grow and pay steadily increasing dividends in practically any environment. That attitude is beginning to see a revival today but it has historically produced poor results.

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Bond Market Update

Investments, Investment Views

The old proverb “may you live in interesting times” certainly applies to the bond market these days. It has been an extremely volatile year so far, with Government of Canada 10yr bond yields dropping from 1.80% at the start of the year to a low of 1.24% in February. But since then they’ve bounced right back up to around where they started!

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UK Election Implications

Investments, Investment Views

The referendum is pretty much a done deal now, although the outcome of the referendum is obviously unknown at this time. Generally, in my experience, there is a lot of hype when there is an upcoming referendum but when people go to vote, there is a bias towards the status quo (as seen in Scotland recently). So I would not consider the Conservative win as the expression of peoples' desire to leave the European Union (EU) - but rather the inability of the Labour party to offer much to the people in this election.

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Can Active Managers Beat Their Benchmark? Yes.

Investments, Investment Views

In the ongoing debate between active vs. passive investing, Invesco has released a whitepaper examining the historical outperformance of active management.

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The Upside of Downside Protection

Investments, Investment Views

Some of my fellow blog writers have previously commented on the benefits of downside protection through the teams’ value oriented approach to investing. For example, Nessim Mansoor wrote about Rule #1 and Gaelen Morphet wrote about The Asymmetrical Nature of Risk and Return. Today, I’d like to look at it from an asset allocation point of view.

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The State of Buybacks

Investments, Investment Views

I’ve seen a fair bit of news about swelling buybacks in the market, some condemning them as “financial engineering”, others praising the return of ever-piling cash on corporate balance sheets. Recently, I saw a Bloomberg article claim this is one of the most important factors in the market. I couldn’t disagree more.

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Funds that everyone can love

Investments, Investment Views

I had the pleasure of attending the Fundata FundGrade® A+ Awards where two funds managed by Empire Life Investments, Empire Life Emblem Conservative Portfolio1 and Empire Life Elite Balanced Fund2, were winners. I'm especially proud because as a product developer for Empire Life Investments Inc., I helped launch those two funds, so it was gratifying to see "my babies" all grown up and recognized as best in class. What mom doesn't love to see her kids get A+ grades?

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Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Investments, Investment Views

Those of us who remember the 1970's may recall the movie "Looking For Mr. Goodbar". A very young Diane Keaton starred as a bar-hopping single searching for Mr. Right. The current single life is not for her. She wants something new to happen. She eventually gets killed. Literally.

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Swiss Surprise!

Investments, Investment Views

When we think of Switzerland, a few things instantly come to mind – chocolates, watches, the Alps, and Swiss Banks among other things. One thing that doesn’t is surprises, and that is exactly what we got last week. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) decided to abruptly end more than a three-year peg with the Euro. The peg was initiated in 2011 with the big Swiss exporters in mind but maintaining the peg in the face of likely game changing monetary policy initiatives by the European Central Bank probably seemed too risky.

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