A mixed week on the markets with the S&P500 making new highs while the TSX drifted a bit lower. Interest rates have ticked higher again as the market digests stronger than expected job numbers in the US and the realization that rates will not drop before the 3rd quarter.
|Close Feb. 1st 2024
|Close Feb. 8th 2024
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US Federal Reserve Chair was on 60 Minutes earlier this week. He was clear that the inflation target remains 2% BUT says that does not preclude cutting rates before the target is reached. He did quash any lingering hopes of a March cut. Click the link for the interview.
Jobs are still aplenty in the US with 353,000 new hires in January. Not everyone is buying into what appears to be a rosy picture on the surface. This commentator, Heresey Financial, points to widespread layoffs especially in the tech sector. Adding to the confusion is the way jobs are counted. David Rosenberg looks at other trends to re-enforce his bearish call on the economy and markets. Credit Card delinquencies, falling volumes at UPS, and flaws in the official data all contribute to his outlook. I have long held that the best markets climb a wall of worry. We will try to position for either eventuality.
BCE announced a 9% reduction in its total workforce this week. Subsidiary Bell Media will see its programming and number of stations cut as well. Long running investigative news program W5 will no longer be a stand-alone show, 45 radio stations are being sold, and news casts are being slashed at both CTV and BNN Bloomberg. At the same time BCE announced an increase to it divided which now stands at an unsustainable 130% of earnings.
In a continuing effort to reign in real estate speculation, the Federal Government has extended the Foreign Home Buyers Ban to 2027. The ban covers foreign commercial enterprises and people who are neither citizens nor permanent residents.
We do a lot of financial planning for our clients. The software we use (Vision Works) is comprehensive and can handle very complex plans. If you need a quick analysis of your retirement plans, we can do that as well. For those that are more hands on, here are a couple of free resources from the Government of Canada that will help you calculate your government benefits.
In a similar vein, there changes to taxes that you need to be aware of this year. Contribution levels for CPP and Employment Insurance (these are not technically taxes, even if they feel like it) are going up. “Informal Trusts” are now required to file a tax return. If you have assets that you hold on behalf of someone else (a minor child for example) you will need to file a return. Short-term rentals that are in an area that is not zoned for it will not be able to deduct expenses but will still need to report any income. For a more complete listing see this from BNN Bloomberg.
We are always here to answer your financial planning questions. If we don’t have the answer, we know where to find it.
Did you see the Grammys this year? We didn’t as we were watching grandson Alex win 2 gold medals at a skating competition, which means we missed this truly wonderful performance by Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs….. enjoy
Russ Lazaruk, RIAC, CIWM, CIM, FCSI
Managing Director & Portfolio Manager