Matthew Lekushoff |


It's hard to believe how much has happened since my market update last Thursday. While last week saw markets drop steeply, and it felt as though that trend would continue, this week, however, markets roared higher. That is, until today. 

Global indexes fell sharply, likely sobered by U.S. COVID-19 infection levels surpassing all others, and some profit-taking from short-term traders.  

As mentioned in last week's special note, one of the most frustrating aspects of this correction has been the abnormal behaviour of traditional safe havens, such as, bonds and gold. The combination of extreme volatility and utter lack of liquidity caused them to decline and trade at a steep discount to their underlying values. This rarely occurs. It was akin to having $100 in your pocket, but only receiving $90 of value in exchange. 

Thankfully, this week's market increase has returned a degree of sanity for bonds and gold. Gold surged $150 (about 10 per cent) this week, is 20 per cent higher on the year, and has risen 34 per cent over the last 52 weeks. The Canadian bond index, for its part, was trading at an 8.4-per-cent discount to its net asset value (NAV) on March 18. This discount has declined each day since, to the point where it only stood at 0.68 per cent yesterday - a good sign for bond holders! 

Speaking of good signs for bond holders, the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates today by 0.5 per cent to an anemic 0.25 per cent.  Lower interest rates are good for most bond holders. As mentioned last week, this market will most likely continue to be volatile and there is no way of knowing how far it will decline or when the recovery will begin. 

Given this lack of information, we will do what works. We will rebalance portfolios in the near term (assuming the markets stay in the current range), and become more aggressive if markets decline further. 

Being well-diversified, our portfolios are well-positioned for whatever the markets have in store. And should the opportunity present itself - I plan on seizing it! 

Should you have any questions about anything economy or market related, feel free to contact me at, or 416-777-6368.


The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused life to unexpectedly change for most of us. Whether the impacts have been economic, social, mental, or, more likely, all of the above, we have all slowly had to adjust to a new way of living. And it's likely this will persist for at least the next month, but probably longer.
While I'm concerned, as many are, that this pandemic will worsen, I'm also heartened that governments, for the most part, appear to be taking the appropriate steps, and society is doing their part too.
From an investment perspective, I'm trying to view this period in time as an opportunity.
We are undoubtedly living through uncertain times, unprecedented for most of us. In light of the current climate, I considered removing what normally follows in this monthly letter - a review of interesting books, articles and more that I've had the pleasure of reading.
But I've decided against it. Diversions will become more valuable than ever. My intention is to provide helpful market perspectives, and a few appealing distractions during this difficult time.

The Power of Myth  by Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers: What we call mythology, the ancients considered gospel. They either believed the tales, or considered them divinely inspired. Although we no longer believe the validity of these stories, many consider them faithful reflections of our humanity and nature.
The Power of Myth is a series of interviews conducted in the '80s between mythology expert Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. Throughout these conversations, Campbell delves into the connection between mythology, who we are culturally, and what our species needs to thrive.
Washington Black  by Esi Edugyan: A wonderful novel about relationships, slavery, and hope. Esi Edugyan is not only a gifted storyteller, she's also a wondrous wordsmith. I underlined more passages in Washington Black than any other work of fiction. I highly recommend it.


Confluence Weekly Geopolitical Report: Implications of Changing Demographics: Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 : Demographics meaningfully influence global trends and development. This three-part series discusses how they've influenced today's world and could affect the future.
Do Elephants Have Souls?  by Caitrin Keiper: If you want to learn more about elephants, this is the article for you. Exceptionally informative and deeply moving, it's the finest source I've found on elephants yet. However, it will take over two hours to read. If you find this too long, Keiper provides dozens of elephant-related books, documentaries, and articles for further, and in some cases shorter, consumption.
The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention  by Farnam Street: A helpful article about improving how you learn.
The Inner Game: Why Trying Too Hard Can Be Counterproductive  by Farnam Street: Another solid FS article on learning.
The Idea Multiplier  by Vanguard Research: An examination of converging trends that may lead to improved global productivity. Please note: This was written before the current health situation. It's possible that some conclusions would change if written today, but perhaps they are even more relevant than ever.
Iron: From Mythical to Mundane  by The Roots of Progress: A relatively short read on the history of iron.

Select Pieces on Alternative Energy:
Nuclear Power Can Save the World  by Joshua S. Goldstein, Staffan A. Qvist and Steven Pinker: Nuclear power may be the world's best chance at reducing greenhouse emissions.
Rooftop Solar Power is Actually More Dangerous Than Chernobyl  by Brian Wang: Surprisingly, nuclear energy has caused fewer deaths (per unit of energy) than any other major energy source.

What We Need to Know About The Pace of Decarbonization  by Vaclav Smil: Decarbonizing will be much harder than people think.
Wind Turbines. How Big?  by Vaclav Smil:  Wind turbines have dramatically improved efficiency. Although room for improvement remains, they will soon be restricted by the current limitations of transportation, construction, and physics.


Made You Think #4: Finding Your Bliss Through Ancient Mythology : A good companion to Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth.
Econ talk (Rory Sutherland) A great conversation with the ever-interesting Rory Sutherland.
The Tim Ferriss Show (with Tyler Cowen) : I've long been a fan of economist Tyler Cowen's podcast , blog , and books . Hearing him interviewed was even better. I found the first half, especially the part on metacognition , particularly absorbing.


Naledi: A Baby Elephant's Tale  by Ben Bowie and Geoffrey Luck: The emotional story of a baby elephant and the state of Africa's elephants.
Drive to Survive (Season 2)  by Netflix: An entertaining recap of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Walk Away From The Money  by Dave Chapelle: Aside from being one of his generation's greatest comedians, Dave Chapelle also has a keen sense of what is important.


"Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result - eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly - in you." 
- Bill Bryson

"Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become."
- James Clear


Have some extra time on your hands? 

I would be impressed if anyone was able to replicate this rather inventive, albeit somewhat destructive, method of serving cake...  

Matthew Lekushoff

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