By Mike Keerma
Shrugging off some positive U.S. economic data and President Trump’s
signing of a US$1.3 trillion spending bill that headed off a government
shutdown, investors focused instead on the imposition of tariffs on US$50
billion of Chinese goods, and the threat of retaliatory trade measures by
China. In addition, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its federal funds rate
by 25 basis points on Wednesday, to a target range between 1.5% and 1.75%.
As a result, the main North American benchmarks all lost ground over the
week, with the
Nasdaq Composite Index posting the steepest weekly loss at 6.5%. The
S&P 500 Composite Index dropped 6%, while Toronto’s
S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 3%, cushioned somewhat by a 5.6% weekly gain in the price of
crude oil and a 3% advance for
In the U.S., durable goods orders jumped 3.1% in February, posting the
largest gain since last summer. Growth in durable goods (items designed to
last for longer periods, like appliances, planes, autos, etc.) is closely
watch as a signal of underlying economic growth. In addition, core capital
goods orders, a measure of business investment, rose at an annual rate of
8% in February, its highest in nearly six years.
And while President Trump also approved exemptions from metals tariffs for
the European Union and six other nations, including Canada, investors
remained focused on the potential for a trade war with China following the
imposition of $50 billion tariffs on Chinese goods – in itself a relatively
small amount in U.S trade terms. However, the threat of trade retaliation
by China and an escalation of global trade tensions had investors anxious
about the impact on earnings of U.S. global giants as well as on
commodities like soybeans.
* Sun Life to terminate two Excel ETFs.
Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. and Excel Funds Management Inc.
announced the termination of
Excel Global Balanced Asset Allocation ETF (TSX: EXGB) and
Excel Global Growth Asset Allocation ETF (TSX: EXGG), effective at close of business on or about May 30, 2018. Sadiq S. Adatia,
Chief Investment Officer, Sun Life Global Investments, said by way of
explanation that Sun Life will “take a more measured approach to evaluating
the launch of ETFs” and will “continue to assess the ETF market and our
clients’ needs as we explore the best potential approach for entering the
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