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February 2020

Portfolio Manager’s February Comment for January Results

The Canadian stock market as defined by the S&P-TSX posted another positive return for the month of January. This positive outcome took place despite global worries resulting from the coronavirus potential impact on the economy.

Last month, the S&P/TSX TR realised a 1.7% return, while the S&P500 TR was essentially flat and the MSCI ACWI ex USA declined by 2.7%. On a one-year basis, the S&P/TSX TR was up 15%, the S&P500 TR posted a 21.7% return while the MSCI ex USA lagged with a 10.5% return.

The best TSX sector for January was Information Technology up 9.4% followed by Utilities up by 7.6%. The worst sector for the month was Health Care down 2.6%.

The NQICAT was up 1.5% in January and 16.6% on a one-year basis. The NQICAT’s best performer was Brookfield Infrastructure (BIP.UN) up 11.1% closely followed by Constellation Software (CSU). BIP.UN was up in sympathy with other Utility stocks rallying as long term interest rate were coming down.

The worst performer was Parex Resources (PXT) the only oil stock of the portfolio. Every energy producer’s stocks price of the S&P-TSX Index came down in January. Energy producers were negatively impacted by a weaker outlook for oil demand, again caused by the fears around the Coronavirus and its impact on the economy.

2 stocks were sold and bought in the strategy in January. Norbord (OSB) was sold because its economic performance indicator turned negative. OSB cost of capital was higher than its return on capital as a consequence of its most recent quarterly report. OSB was replaced by Kirkland Lake Gold (KL). KL had the highest SP score in the material sector. Ritchie Bros. Auctionneers (RBA) was the other stock sold. The industrial sector EVA weight had having declined in the aggregate total profit. We had to sell the lowest SP score stock of the industrial sector which happened to be RBA. The consumer discretionary sector weight increased and MTY food group (MTY) was the stock with the best SP score in its sector that was not already in the portfolio.