Matthew Lekushoff |


Global indexes spent most of February in positive territory, only to see gains quickly dissipate.

While REITs and emerging markets (EMs) have fared considerably better than most, they were still about one and two per cent lower for the period, as of noon today (February 27). 

Canadian, International (Europe and Japan) and U.S. indexes, on the other hand, have been hit harder. The Canadian index is down almost four per cent, while the other two are down about five and six per cent, respectively. Of the indexes we track, the Canadian energy sector suffered most. 

As a collective, our energy stocks have fallen about 10 per cent month-to-date. Oil prices have been hit considerably hard over the last week.

On the positive side, safe havens, such as Canadian bonds, are slightly higher, while gold has shone brightly, currently five per cent higher than at the end of January. The yellow metal has risen almost 15 per cent over the last three months, reaching levels not seen in seven years.

This market volatility has been mostly due to one overarching factor: the coronavirus. Recent news of increased infection rates in South Korea, Italy, Iran, as well as, indications that it will likely spread to the U.S., has concerned global stock markets. That being said, the World Health Organization (WHO) has not deemed the virus a pandemic. The CBC provides the latest global news on the outbreak.

Given the difficulty in knowing how serious its spread could become, investors are uncertain about where things will go from here. From our perspective, we have conservative, well-balanced portfolios that, although not immune to a global pandemic, contain defensive positions, such as bonds, gold, and REITs. 

We are positioned to withstand increased market volatility and to take advantage should markets fall more severely.

Upcoming Finance Deadlines......
  • The RRSP contribution deadline is on March 2, only a few days away.
  • If you haven't done so already this year, you can add at least another $6,000 to your TFSA.


In the last couple of months, two of my colleagues passed away. One was very sudden. Their loss prompted me to reflect on life, its meaning and how we spend our time while we're here. The War Between More and Enough and One Thing are two blog posts that came out of these reflections.

Stubborn Attachments by Tyler Cowen: "Growth is good. Through history, economic growth in particular has alleviated human misery, improved human happiness and opportunity, and lengthened human lives. Wealthier societies are more stable, offer better living standards, produce better medicines, and ensure greater autonomy, greater fulfillment, and more sources of fun. If we want to sustain our trends of growth, and the overwhelmingly positive outcomes for societies that come with it, every individual must become more concerned with the welfare of those around us."
This book is both interesting and thought provoking. A summary of the book on the American Institute of Economic Research provides a taste.
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny: Another month, another Inspector Gamache book completed. I finished reading Bury Your Dead, the sixth book of the series, in Knowlton, Quebec - one of the towns that inspired it. I recommend visiting the Eastern Townships (south of Montreal), almost as highly as Louise Penny's books.
How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love by Maria Popova: Few things are more important than being passionate about how you spend your time. In this article, Maria Popova offers seven helpful resources for finding your one thing.
The Positive Side of Shame by Farnam Street: Shame is often considered an unsavoury weapon. Shane Parrish, however, argues that shame has played a valuable, even positive, role in human evolution, and can continue to do so. Using examples, such as the movement to save dolphins, he explains the ways shame (when used judiciously), can be used to influence harmful behaviour. It's a complex topic, ripe with potential unintended consequences. But, given today's environment, it's one worth understanding.

How Much is That Piece of Paper in the Window by Seth Godin: Learning and education are different things. In this short blog post, Seth Godin expands on this theme as only he can.
CRF Files: The Future of Korea by Peter Zeihan: Some perspectives on both North and South Korea's places in the geopolitical order and their future.

On Censorship  by Salman Rushdie: Salman Rushdie has dealt with censorship more than most. In his 2012 essay in the New Yorker, he shares some thoughts on a topic that is more relevant today than ever.
Why Are We So Certain About Our Mistakes? by Ryan Holiday: Examining our past decisions and opinions are one of the best ways to remain humble.


What do you get when you mix an extended Family Day weekend and a road trip to rural Quebec?

A lot of time to listen to good podcasts...
Joe Rogan Podcast (Robert Downey Jr.) A great conversation about life, movies, and how Robert Downey Jr. approaches his craft.
Joe Rogan Podcast (Bill Mahr):
Two seasoned comedians discussing comedy, life, and political correctness.
WTF (Nathan Lane) Nathan Lane is a riot. Funny, wise, and great stories for days. The conversation between Lane and WTF host, Marc Maron, focused on his childhood, movies, and his lifetime working in theatre.
WTF (Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio) A rare hour-long conversation with two of the world's biggest movie stars. I particularly enjoyed their thoughts on actors who are struggling to make it in the industry.

The Knowledge Project (Neil Pasricha) Author Neil Pasricha discusses resilience, an antidote for anxiety, and his two-minute morning routine for success.
Hardcore History: Adendum: Glimpses of Olympias A short episode of Hardcore History (at three hours...) on Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias. Possibly the toughest woman in history you've never heard of.


"If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets." 
- Haruki Murakami on love

Matthew Lekushoff

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