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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 - The U.S. federal government will set a new record for borrowing this year, in the trillions of dollars. Government deficits reached a record high in 2020, due to government help to the private sector during COVID. But now, even without a crisis, the deficit has soared to new high levels. Will income taxes increase? The […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The excitement and hype regarding Artificial Intelligence continues to influence stock markets positively. While most people have not yet seen much impact on their lives, billions of dollars are being committed by a multitude of companies who wish to compete for a top spot in the future of AI. Will AI meet current expectations? Is […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Tesla, Inc. had a closely watched first quarter report, outlining poor results this week. But the markets’ initial reaction was positive, even if the financial results were underwhelming. Why would the market push the stock 10 percent higher after disappointing results? Tesla reported a 9 percent decline in revenue after a previously reported decline in […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The budget this week contains an impressive number of substantial measures designed to improve housing unaffordability. Will these measures make housing affordable again? Housing in Canada has been more expensive than the average family can “afford” for a long time. The old benchmark from the 1990s was a home should be no more than three […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The U.S. Consumer Price Index exceeded expectations, growing by 4.8 percent (annualized) in the month of March, while Core CPI rose 3.8 percent from last year. The markets corrected sharply after the surprise as the market expected lower inflation leading to rate cuts. President Joe Biden said that he still expects the Federal Reserve to […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - James Hansen is an 83-year-old climate research scientist that became known in the 1980s for making accurate predictions about global temperature increases. Now, he forecasts that warming is happening even faster than he expected. Will policymakers listen to Hansen this time? His latest paper, a 33-page peer-reviewed report that was published in November 2023, covers […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook -   “Well, it’s time to break the glass,” said Carolyn Rogers from the Bank of Canada in a recent speech, referring to the emergency situation in the lack of improvement in productivity in Canada’s business sector.   The Bank of Canada cares about productivity because “productivity is a way to inoculate the economy against inflation.” […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The Federal Reserve announced that interest rates will remain unchanged. The chairman, Jerome Powell, seemed confident in his remarks that inflation will come down further, while economic growth gets stronger, and unemployment stays at the current low level of just under 4 percent. Powell hinted that rate cuts are coming, starting in June with a […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - A battle is underway in the U.S. over new rules requiring higher equity capital for the banks. Enhanced equity capital protects the bank from insolvency in the event of a financial crisis. Bank lobbyists are fighting hard to keep capital requirements at the lowest possible level while regulators would like higher capital given the historical […] Radio - Would you move to Alberta for Five Thousand bucks?

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - China and the iPhone are closely linked, as sales in that country are a key to Apple’s success. China is going through an economic slump which shows up in sales of Apple’s most successful product, the iPhone. Recently competitors in China have been growing sales faster than Apple. Is a China sales slump for the […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Berkshire Hathaway, the investment vehicle of Warren Buffett, reported results for 2023 and Buffett left investors with some pearls of wisdom in the accompanying letter to shareholders. As Warren Buffett explains, investing is not easy, but it is very rewarding, if good decisions are made more often than bad ones. But Buffett states that it […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - China is growing its nuclear power generation capacity. Already the world leader in solar and wind, China threatens to take the lead in one of the most talked-about clean energy formats, nuclear power. Will China pass the U.S. and France in generating electricity from nuclear fission? China has announced aggressive targets for nuclear power generation […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Commercial real estate is a major asset class for businesses, institutional investors, and banks. For decades, most lenders were eager to accept commercial real estate as collateral for loans. Also pension plans and insurance companies regarded properties like office towers as safe, long-term investments. But doubts are appearing over the quality of those holdings with […] Radio - Toronto Lawyers Getting Rich from Shoddy High-Rises

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - China starts 2024 with drastic measures to head off further losses in the stock market. These actions echo government rescue efforts in 2021-2023 for the property market which have been unsuccessful. Could China stock markets rebound this time? The meltdown in Chinese stock markets is historic. This chart shows the cycles over the period from […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The Bank of Canada (BOC) held interest rates steady at 5 percent in January, highlighting growing weakness in the Canadian economy. But unfortunately, inflation is not declining as fast as the central bank would like. Will the central bank abandon its inflation target? While the weakness in the economy would normally allow the Bank of […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Tesla announces a new low-cost sedan which will sell for about $25,000 in U.S. dollars. This vehicle will be available in mid-2025 and will be manufactured initially in Austin, Texas. Will this new model be enough to justify Tesla’s valuation? For the 2023 year Tesla announced revenue of $25 billion while the stock market value […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Investors are coping with a high degree of uncertainty in the world, with at least three armed conflicts active now. The Israel/Hamas war was the top concern. But now the Houthi situation in the Red Sea, related to the Gaza conflict, has become top-of-mind. And what about Russia and Ukraine? Will these conflicts spread? How […] Radio - How big a drop could Canadian Real Estate see?

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The commodity boom that was expected by many in this period of elevated inflation has not happened. While inflation soared, reaching 10 percent annually in some countries, the prices of commodities that are often used by speculators to make quick profits have not kept pace. For example, gold and silver reached all-time highs during high […] Radio - What would a Universal Income do to inflation and housing?

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The year 2024 will be full of surprises and uncertainty. A possible recession, the direction for the stock market, the housing bubble in Canada and changes in interest rates and inflation are all on the agenda for investors as we enter a new year. What are some of the most likely surprises? A surprise cannot […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - The Federal Reserve announced a pivot to rate cuts, hinting at an end to the period since March 2022 of rate increases and tightening of financial conditions. When the Fed cuts rates, will it help? The Fed meeting ended on Wednesday with chair Jerome Powell confirming the consensus view — the next Fed move will […]

Hilliard's Weekend Notebook - Canadian lenders are ill-prepared for the impact of higher interest rates on Canadian borrowers. The banks have sophisticated models that help them make predictions about the future. But those predictions are only as good as the assumptions fed into the model. Are those assumptions realistic? With the help of Nigel D’Souza, research analyst with Veritas […]
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