WEALTH Matters — FALL 2012

INVESTMENT MARKET COMMENTARY

The third quarter of 2012 saw a rebound in most equity markets, reversing a generally poor second quarter and restoring year-to-date sector returns to strong positive numbers. A key decision by the European Central Bank in late June seems to have reassured markets that the financial sector will be protected, easing fears of banking problems tipping already high national debts to dangerous levels.

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The Canadian S&P/TSX index was up strongly, and has a positive 2 year return despite its 9% loss in 2011. Both consumer and industrial sectors delivered solid growth for the quarter, signs of a reasonably steady economy. Health care took a breather from its blistering growth of the past year, while energy and materials bounced strongly off recent weakness on fears of a slowing global economy.

US equities continued their steady climb since the depths of 2008, with both small and large cap stocks now showing positive numbers across all periods measured. This is the first time in some years that his has been the case. The upcoming US election and the government’s need to deal with its budget deficit could end this rally in the 4th quarter.

Global equity returns were strong overall outside North America, with total returns higher than the  US market. Emerging markets are expected to continue to outperform the more developed economies, especially those of Europe still plagued with budget cuts and slow growth.

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