Q2 2016 – Market Commentary
The second quarter of 2016 was dominated in the media by the news out of the United Kingdom, as the referendum results came pouring in after the May vote. Meanwhile, the US economy quietly made gains amidst the chaos of their ongoing political campaigns.
In our own back yard, the Canadian Dollar plateaued in relation to our neighbours to the south after two previous quarters that saw a huge decline in our currency, followed by an equal and then greater rise. Overall, the Canadian dollar has strengthened 6.6% against the US dollar so far this year.
With so many big political news stories leading the headlines, the economy flew slightly under the radar. Here we have provided a summary of some key updates for the last quarter from around the world.
- News on the Fort Mac wildfires was seen throughout May, and much was discussed about the economic implications of this tragedy. Looking back at the situation now, the results have seen a cut of roughly 1.25 percentage points off of real GDP growth in Q2. Although this is troubling for the Canadian economy, in the end there should be a bounce back in Q3 in relation to the scheduled clean-up efforts that is expected to bring the total decrease in the Canadian GDP growth rate to only 0.1%.
- In the Canadian market, the TSX recorded its second straight positive quarter in 2016 with both materials and energy sectors leading the economy.
- The S&P 500 rose 2.5% during Q2 with energy, healthcare, industrial, telecom, and utilities as the top performing sectors during this period. During this same time, information technology and consumer sectors were amongst the weaker players. This growth broke the trend of an 8% decrease from March 2015 to March 2016, which could be attributed to oil prices rebounding and the strength of the US Dollar relative to its counterparts.
- The US dollar was expected to rise with the Fed looking to raise interest rates, however, due to slower economic growth in the US, interest rates remained unchanged, and the dollar remained stable for the first time in many quarters.
- High volatility in the European economy ran parallel to the concerns regarding the recent Brexit referendum in the UK. As expected, there was a reaction in the marketplace following the unexpected decision for Britain to leave the European Union. However, many experts are concluding that although the effects from this referendum will be seen in the short-term, Britain’s long-term economy will be undisturbed. One major consequence that was witnessed amidst the whirlwind that followed the vote was the decline in the British Pound.
- Investors hate uncertainty, and after the referendum that is what we are left with for the short term. Over the long term, some say this may be the start of de-globalization and generational conflict, with voters around the world voicing their concerns with the status quo. Either way, it may be a good time for foreign investors to enter the market.
P.S. Millennials are quickly emerging as a high-impact generation within our society, and like those that came before them, face their own unique challenges when it comes to financial knowledge and independence. If millennials are present in your household or family, now is a great time to include them in your financial planning conversations. Have a look at the article “Millennials and Money” on page 23 of the enclosed issue of Solutions magazine for some great strategies that that can get them started on the right path today.