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Market wrap March 24, 2017: Stocks sag through the week
6/23/2017 9:53:21 AM
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By Fund Library News Wire  | Friday, March 24, 2017


 

By Mike Keerma

* Stocks sag through the week.
* Manulife merges funds into new portfolios
.
* TD debuts ETF portfolios.

* Stocks sag through the week. The senior U.S. stock indices sagged through the week and closed Friday with weekly losses as a major healthcare bill was pulled by Republicans before it could be put to a vote in the House of Representatives. The S&P 500 Composite Index lost 1.4% on the week, while the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 1.2%. Toronto’s S&P/TSX Composite Index ended the week virtually flat, logging a hairline -0.3% loss, as a 1.4% weekly gain in the price of gold buoyed gold stocks, while the Trump Administration’s approval of TransCanada Corp.’s (TSX: TRP) Keystone XL pipeline helped support the energy sector at the end of the week, despite a -1.3% week-over-week decline in the price of crude oil.

The fate of the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act, which was proposed as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was regarded by some as a litmus test for passage of other parts of the President Trump’s agenda, including corporate tax cuts and infrastructure spending. However, as both President Trump and House Leader Paul Ryan have indicated that with the death of the replacement bill owing to a lack of Republican votes, Obamacare remains the law of the land in the U.S., and the outlook for corporate tax cuts, another key plank of Trump’s platform and until now a driver of higher earnings estimates, remains cloudy.

In Canada, the headline inflation rate for February was posted at 2.0%, down very slightly from January’s 2.1% rate, and still right on the Bank of Canada’s target rate. While food prices declined in the month, leading to that slight slippage in the all-items index, energy prices increased at a double-digit annual rate, keeping the pace of inflation from decelerating signficantly, at least for now. The Canadian dollar slipped as a result, ending the week at US$0.7491, down from a Tuesday high of US$0.7530.

Pipeline major TransCanada Corp. (TSX: TRP), meanwhile, gyrated through a volatile week, closing at $61.82, just slightly higher than the week-ago closing of $61.20. The issue was the approval by the Trump Administration for TransCanada to go ahead with the northern segment of its Keystone pipeline, dubbed Keystone XL, which will pump oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. While the approval, after being blocked for eight years by President Obama, is a major step for TransCanada, it still has to contend with obtaining permits and approvals from state governments, including Nebraska, which was most adamant in its opposition. In addition, approval by the Trump Administration is contigent upon TransCanada’s using U.S.-made steel in the construction of the pipeline.

FUND NEWS

* Manulife merges funds into new portfolios. Manulife Investments announced it will launch a new asset allocation program and implement a number of fund mergers effective June 2. The new Manulife Asset Allocation Portfolios consist of four individual portfolios: Manulife Conservative Portfolio; Manulife Moderate Portfolio; Manulife Balanced Portfolio; and Manulife Growth Portfolio. Subject to approvals, the following funds will be merged into the new portfolios:

* TD debuts ETF portfolios. TD Asset Management Inc. launched its TD Managed ETF Portfolios of TD index-tracking ETFs. In a release, TD said the portfolios are designed to meet a range of investor risk profiles and are available for self-directed investors as D-Series mutual funds, as follows:

Check Fund Library’s Market Activity page regularly for active updates on key market indexes and commodities.

@FundLibrary – Follow Fund Library on Twitter for daily information and updates.

Disclaimer

© 2017 by Fund Library. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part by any means without prior written permission is prohibited.

The foregoing is for general information purposes only and is the opinion of the writer. No guarantee of investment performance is made or implied. It is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice.

 
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