Third Quarter | 2015
Volatility increased across asset classes in the third quarter of 2015. China’s economy, weak global commodity prices, and anxiety around if, and when, the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates weighed on investors’ minds. This anxious sentiment was matched by weak, global investment returns across equity markets.
Second Quarter | 2015
Central bank action was a dominant theme this quarter. While the ECB and Bank of Japan maintained their massive stimulus programs, the Federal Reserve, bolstered by mostly positive economic data, continued to signal for an interest rate hike sometime this year. If, when and by how much rates may rise, continued to be key questions on investors’ minds.
First Quarter | 2015
The threat of slowing growth and deflation were the predominant themes during the first three months of 2015. Based on mounting evidence, central bankers around the world intervened by lowering interest rates and enacting other quantitative easing measures or stimulus plans. Notable participants included Canada, the ECB, China, Japan, India and Australia. The impact of lower energy prices was cited by several central banks as having the potential to reduce inflation and act as a deflationary force.
Fourth Quarter | 2014
2014 was a special year for the firm, marking 40 years since our founder, Chuck Mawer, decided to open one of the first investment counselling firms in Western Canada. Susan Hall, Mawer’s second employee who is still active with the firm today, often talks about Chuck’s legacy of “doing the right thing.” Today, we strive to follow this mantra in both the way we treat our clients and how we invest.
Third Quarter | 2014
The U.S. economy continued to show signs of progress this quarter. The labour market improved, inflation was subdued, and manufacturing and capital expenditures indicated that an expansion is likely underway. In response, the U.S. Federal Reserve continued to taper its asset purchase program and communicated its plans to cease this program as of October. Fear that a withdrawal of economic stimulus will cause higher bond yields has not materialized thus far, as yields have actually decreased during this period.
Second Quarter | 2014
The Q1 GDP data released in April seemed to indicate a stall in U.S. economic growth. Subsequent data revealed a much steeper economic contraction of 2.9%. Was this evidence that the U.S. economy was losing steam and requiring more aggressive intervention by the central bank? Or was this merely a statistical anomaly that was not indicative of the true state of the economy?
First Quarter | 2014
Global equity markets continued to rise during the first three months of 2014. This extends their rally to five years, with only periodic interruptions. One such interruption occurred when the political standoff between Russia and Ukraine prompted some investors to assess the implications of Russia’s aggression from the sidelines. The ensuing equity correction was relatively modest and short-lived, as global equity markets soon resumed their upward trajectory, with the MSCI World Index (C$) finishing the quarter with a 5.2% gain.
Fourth Quarter | 2013
Last quarter, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke surprised markets when he announced that the Fed was not ready to taper their unprecedented level of monetary stimulus. Despite repeated signals to prepare for this outcome, the Fed ultimately concluded that the economy was not healthy enough to wean itself from this monthly injection of capital. Investors celebrated this extension as both bond and equity markets rallied on the news.