Calm is the word

The Toronto market is up in peaceful fashion.

Please note the below data is to February 21, and the Toronto market has risen since then,

We are far enough into the New Year to get a decent reading on how equities have started out on the new calendar, so let’s take a look at how they’ve performed here in North America and around the planet.

We start with the domestic market. The S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 4.29% year-to-date, which makes us happy. Last year to this date the TSX was up 2.16%, which was okay, but it was the year before, when the benchmark exploded out of the gate, rising 6.45% to February 22, a growth rate that we pegged early on as unsustainable and turned out to be just that.

Accordingly, we can paint this year’s start as both a good one, and a potentially sustainable growth rate for the upcoming months.

We can also characterize the Toronto market as very calm, which is another positive. In terms of volatility, there have been only three days where the one-day market move from one trading day to the next exhibited more than a 1% interday move, and on no days this year has the market moved as much as 2% in one day.

Two years ago, with that frothy start to the year, there were five days of greater-than-1% daily changes (including three consecutive days), and one greater than-2% daily change, over the same period.

Couple this year’s lower volatility with the drop in the VIXC Index of just 13.20 and the word ‘calm’ definitely applies. So far so good.

The Canadian market can be divided into thirteen sectors. So far this year gold stocks as a group are ahead the most, collectively by 30.92%.

There are lots of little gold miners that add to this record, but we note that our recommended Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM) is up 36.0% so far this year.

Materials stocks as a group are up 18.15% for second place. Healthcare stocks are up 16.91% as the third-best sector.

On the downside, consumer goods stocks have been the worst so far this year, down 0.62%. Canadian Tire Corporation (TSX:CTC.A) is the best of our recommended consumer choices in this subindex so far this year, and it’s down 2.2%.

In second-worst place are financial stocks, down 0.42% as a group. Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX:SLF) and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSX:FFX) are leading this pack with year-to-date gains of 6.2% and 5.6% respectively; our best-performing recommended financial stock is Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO), up 2.6%, followed immediately by Manulife Financial Corporation (TSX:MFC), up 1.9% so far this year.

The third-worst sector has been telecom services stocks, down 0.16% as a group while the industry grapples with the latest wireless spectrum auction. Telus Corporation (TSX:T) has been the best of this bunch, up 6.1% this year.

Telus is followed by BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), Manitoba Telecom Services (TSX:MBT), Bell Aliant (TSX:BA) and Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B), up 4.0%, up 2.1%, down 1.1% and down 10.8% respectively in 2014.

But really the word ‘calm’ best describes this market as it dips its toe into the New Year. Let’s hope the moderate growth continues. Stay invested.



Money Reporter, MPL Communications Inc.
133 Richmond St.W., Toronto, ON, M5H 3M8. 1-800-804-8846

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