CFP. CSA. CDFA.
Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index achieved its highest level in five months this week. Rising oil and gold prices contributed to stock market gains that outpaced markets in much of the world. The price of crude hit a nine-month peak on potential supply side disruptions and an increasing expectation for global demand.
In the U.S., the S&P 500 benchmark reached its highest level since June 2008 and hovered around pre-financial-crisis levels for much of the week.
News flow remains largely positive for the U.S economy. Existing home sales in the U.S. rose by a greater-than-expected 4.3% in January, new home sales beat expectations and home prices rose in December, providing more hope for a housing market recovery.
This week’s jobless claims figures remain at a fouryear low, and corporate profits in the U.S. continue to beat expectations. As the quarterly earnings season winds down, 63% of the 461 S&P 500 companies that have reported fourth-quarter earnings have beaten expectations.
After a year and a half of negotiations, European finance ministers approved a €130-billion bailout designed to avoid a Greek sovereign debt default. However, concerns remain that the deal does not address Greece’s long-term problems.
Meanwhile, the European Commission said the eurozone is now in a mild recession and predicted the economy will shrink by 0.3% this year.
Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei index reached a sevenmonth peak, and China’s Shanghai Composite hit a three-month high.
In other news this week:
Canadian retail sales eased by 0.2% in December after four months of gains.
The Bank of Canada warned that growth in household debt backed by rising home prices means Canadians and the economy are vulnerable to corrections in the housing market.
China should speed up the loosening of capital controls, the country’s central bank said in a report outlining potential critical reforms for the economy. This could give foreigners greater access to China’s financial markets within a decade.
What’s ahead next week:
GDP fourth quarter 2011.
RRSP contribution deadline February 29.
Pending home sales.
Durable goods orders.
S&P Case-Shiller home price index.
GDP fourth quarter, second estimate.
Conference Board consumer confidence.
Federal Reserve Beige Book.
Personal income, consumption.
David W. Page is a Kamloops rider who is very active in his community and is a member of the RFBA
Phone: (250) 372-2955 Toll Free: 1-800-897-9559
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