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Portfolio Manager’s April Comment For Q1 2020

The performance of Global equities has been severely impacted by the COVID-19. The S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index declined by 20.9% in Q1 more than offsetting last years’ gains for an annualized negative total return of -14.2%. For Q1, the S&P500 total return was -19.6% also erasing last returns for an annualized total return of -7% while the MSCI ACWI ex US posted a -23.3% return leading to a negative -15.1% annualized total return.

The obvious of this year’s first quarter is the COVID-19 and its impacts on the economic activity. In this period of turbulence, the COVID-19 often decides who is the winner or the loser.

NQICA in Q1 returned -24.9% leading to a 1-year return of -16.3% versus the S&P/TSX composite which returned -20.9% in Q1 and -14.2% on a 1-year basis.

In Canada, the best Q1 sectors were Info-Tech down 3.8%, Utilities down 6.2% and Telecommunication Services down 9.2%. The worst sectors were Energy down 38.2%, Healthcare down 37.3%, and Consumer Discretionary down 33.3%.

The worst performers in the NQICA in Q1 were MTY with a return of -61.2%, as a majority of its franchises needed to close because of the COVID-19, Gildan with a return of -53.3% given its discretionary profile and closing some of its manufacturing facilities and Parkland Fuel Corp. with a return of -50.7% given the lower traffic at its gaz station. On the other hand, Metro delivered a 6.6% return, as its groceries and drug stores benefits from increased volume, Constellation Software realized a 1.5% return as it was not directly impacted from the COVID-19 while Canadian National was down only 5.8% despite the hostage of its network by pressure groups earlier this year and the upcoming economic slowdown.