In 1930, the U.S. Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Its main goals were to protect American jobs and shield U.S. farmers from foreign
competition. The men whose names were attached to the bill were Republicans: Reed Smoot, a senator from Utah, and Willis Hawley, a congressman from Oregon.
At the time the measure was being debated, just as the Great Depression was taking hold, Mr. Hawley predicted the bill would usher in “a new era of
prosperity.” Does any of this sound familiar? It should. It’s exactly the same rationale that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been using
very effectively to rally voter support.
By Mike Keerma
* Sizzlin’ summer stock markets
* Horizons launches risk parity ETF
The major North American stock indices racked up their fourth consecutive week of gains, as the S&P 500 Composite Index closed the week at a record high
2,175, for a weekly gain of 0.6%. The Nasdaq Composite Index
posted a 1.4% weekly advance. Toronto’s benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index rallied during the week to its
highest closing value in a year, climbing to a 0.8% gain on the week and 12.2% advance for the year to date.
– I’ve recently become acutely aware of the wide difference between the costs of various mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. For instance, I looked at
the Equitable Life Acuity Pure Canadian Equity Fund B, a
segregated fund that charges a whopping 3.6% MER, yet that has returned a dismal annualized -6.27% over the past five years (to June 30). Who on earth
would pay that much to invest in this dog? On the other hand, a pure passive index ETF like the iShares S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (TSX: XIC) returned an
annualized 4.21% in the same period with a virtually invisible MER of 0.05%. Unless my math is wrong, that works out to a return for the iShares fund
that’s 10.48 percentage points better than the Equitable Life fund, which charged an MER 72 times more for the privilege of losing money. What I really
don’t understand is why there is such a variance. – Steve R., Oshawa, Ontario
Bonds and bond funds are all in the news these days, given recently plunging yields on government bonds, some into negative territory. It’s in this kind of
volatile market that active bond fund managers really earn their keep. And the Manulife Strategic Income Fund has been doing just that,
delivering above-average returns while keeping volatility in check.
Millions of Baby Boomers are approaching – or are already in – retirement. Even if you’ve made plans, have a pension, and have saved up a nest egg through
the years, there are still a number of important themes emerging that you’ll have to contend with and that may affect your financial planning in the years