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Portfolio Manager Commentary – May 2019

The S&P / TSX total return Index increased by 3.2% in April, adding to the strong 1st quarter returns leading to a YTD return of 16.9%. This gives the Canadian market a very strong start so far in 2019 which has actually slightly outperformed the MSCI ACWI (13.4%) and slightly lagged the S&P 500 (18.3%). Most sectors of the Canadian market were positive contributors in April, with Informational Technology being the strongest and Materials being the weakest.

The Canadian central bank & the FED comments have remained highly constructive for the equity markets. Furthermore, the overall earnings are weak but not as much as was feared by the market. This explains why the market is holding its YTD gains.

YTD commodity prices, including energy and metals, have been stable which is crucial for the Canadian market. Finally, the current state of mind of the market is mainly shaped by US tariffs. In Canada more specifically, the real estate market remains steady despite worries about an over-extended cycle. The declining long-term interest rates in Canada are maintaining high valuations in the sector.

Our Nasdaq Inovestor Canadian Equity Index (NQICA) rose by 5% in April, leading to a YTD positive return of 17%, slightly outperforming the market. Looking at contribution factors to the NQICA returns, the largest proportion of the gains was thanks to Magna International (MG) that rose by 14.6%. Following a similar trend are Dollarama (DOL) and Equitable Group (EQB) which rose by 13.0% and 12.8% respectively as the market was anticipating attractive earnings. On the contrary, Metro Inc. (MRU) was down 1.4% over the month and Great-West Lifeco (GWO) down 1.98% during the last 2 weeks of April following its addition to the portfolio.