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Hilliard MacBeth

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Author of "When the Bubble Bursts: Surviving the Canadian Real Estate Crash"

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Canadian banks reported their results this week and, as expected, took substantially higher provisions for credit losses. Most of the increase in provisions came from estimates for future losses on performing loans. Banks are required to estimate future losses, based, in part, on a forecast for the economy and unemployment. Many Canadian households will face […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Evan Siddall, the CEO of the government’s housing agency, spoke to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday about Canadian housing risks. The agency he heads insures mortgages for the riskiest borrowers, those who cannot provide a down payment of at least 20 percent of the home purchase. Siddall suggested that the insurer could lose $9 billion […] Radio - Prospects for crude depend on the oil source

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - On May 13, 2020 Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell made a virtual speech warning about the weak U.S. economy, suggesting that fiscal and monetary policy makers must rise to the challenges caused by COVID-19. Since the Fed has already cut interest rates close to zero, announced unprecedented amounts of asset purchases and emergency lending programs, […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Investors in Canada, and elsewhere, are watching with fascination as Shopify, an Ottawa-based company founded by former snowboarder Tobias Lutke, grows to become the largest company by market value in Canada. Will Shopify be the next Amazon? In full disclosure I do not own Shopify (SHOP) or Amazon (AMZN). Shopify’s performance on the stock market […] Radio - Why Alberta’s oil patch is optimistic

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The impact of COVID-19 threatens to turn this recession into a unique event with unpredictable consequences. The economies of many developed countries were long overdue for a period of negative growth, and the elevated household debts in Canada, China and Australia meant that the next recession was going to be special. But now, because of […] Radio - Alberta still optimistic their oil can bounce back

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The Bank of Canada could play a key role in mitigating the economic impact of the recession. And the government of Canada will dramatically expand its role as lender, and spender, of last resort. This week both the Bank of Canada and Statcan reported on the troubled economy. What can Canadians expect during this recession? […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The U.S. stock market peaked on February 19, 2020 at close to 3,400 on the S&P 500. A correction started the next day, developing quickly into a full-blown bear market. By March 23 that index had lost 34 percent. Since the March 23 bottom the stock market has rallied hard, retracing more than a third […] Radio - Will CERB lead to an annual guaranteed income in Canada?

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Gold bullion and gold mining shares have been used at times as a hedge against the possibility of a cataclysmic event in the markets. Since the arrival of COVID-19 and a severe economic downturn, interest in gold as a hedge is making a comeback. Will gold and gold mining shares perform as a hedge this […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Savvy investors look for safe places for their money in uncertain times. Canadians consider large companies that pay generous dividends as reliable and safe. Are traditional safe-haven investments likely to perform well this time? Some Canadian companies have paid dividends continuously for more than one hundred years. Bank of Montreal paid dividends since 1829, Bank […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - A full-blown global recession is inevitable at this point, due to government efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. The world’s economy was slowing before the pandemic hit. A growth slowdown has now become a widespread economic contraction. Stock markets reacted sharply with most stocks down at least 30 percent, and some large firms in […]

March 13th, 2020 | The OPEC Era is Over

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The oil supply cartel known as OPEC continues to self-destruct. With the announcement that the Saudi-led group of oil exporters could not reach agreement with Russia the price of oil collapsed. Will OPEC ever regain control of the oil markets? In my weekend note on December 31, 2014 I wrote that OPEC was struggling with a worldwide […] Radio - So called safe havens not so safe anymore

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The Bank of Canada (BOC) cut its policy interest rate on Wednesday to 1.25 percent, the first cut in rates since 2015. The drop of 50 basis points was like Tuesday’s move by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was done as an emergency response to risks related to the impact of COVID-19 on the global […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The stock market has started to react negatively to COVID-19 spreading outside of China. Markets are down about 10 percent from the peak valuations of mid-February 2020. During a steep correction, it has been profitable to buy stocks. This is called “buying the dip”. Is now a good time to add exposure to the market? […] Radio - Why the COVID 19 virus likely will be under reported in US

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Space-X is launching telecommunication satellites that will become a network called Starlink. Starlink will bring high-speed, low-cost broadband internet to the world, starting in mid-2020. The requirements to use Starlink are the purchase of a pizza-box-sized receiver and a subscription. This service will be especially useful for remote areas outside of big cities that suffer […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China is causing worry all over the world, as the virus appears to cause severe sickness in about 20 percent of confirmed cases, and death in about 2 percent. The stock market is near record high levels, having taken a mild dip when the virus was first reported, and […] Radio - Railroads and record high equity markets

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The U.S. is close to self-sufficiency in energy, which is changing the balance of power in the world’s oil markets. The price of crude oil surged briefly in the first week of January after the assassination of an Iranian general by the U.S. military. But the oil price came down to earth quickly, reflecting the […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Large capitalization U.S. companies continued to outperform last year. The Russell Top 200 mega-cap index gained 30 percent last year, while the Russell 2000, a group of about 2,000 companies that average only $2.43 billion market value rose 23 percent. Since 2016, on an annualized basis, the small cap Russell 2000 gained about 8.1 percent, […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - A new year and a new decade triggers thinking about what the most rewarding investment theme will be over the next year and beyond. A leading candidate for a dominant theme is the impact of climate change risk. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said that climate change is an example of the Tragedy of […]
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