November 2021 - A new variant has just appeared and the markets have reacted quickly to the potential threat. Even though it is still early to express an opinion on the possible impacts of the Omicron variant, the consensus seems to be in favour of caution, and we are beginning to see a reversal of the upward trend. Against this backdrop, the price of oil fell sharply at the end of the month and contributed to the depreciation of the Canadian dollar against the major foreign currencies. Despite central bankers’ statements about the imminent arrival of less accommodative monetary policies, interest rates have fallen, confirming investors’ sudden appetite for safe havens.
|Closing 30-11-2021||Variation vs 31-10-2021||Variation vs 31-12-2020|
|Interest rate in Canada (%)|
|Commodities ($ US)|
|Currencies||CAD Variation||CAD Variation|
|EUR / CAD||0.69||▼1.0%||▲7.4%|
|JPY / CAD||88.34||▼4.1%||▲8.7%|
|USD / CAD||0.78||▼3.2%||▼0.5%|
Sources: Bank of Canada, Federal Reserve Bank of St-Louis, US Energy Information Administration. *Last update 2021-11-29.
Canadian Market ▼1.5 % (MSCI Canada 30-11-21)
Excluding the favourable exchange rate effect vis-à-vis foreign markets, the Canadian stock market was one of the least affected by this decline during the month. As proof, within our universe1, it is the one with the largest number of sectors whose performance was positive. Among these sectors, we find at the top of the list Information Technologies, Communication Services and Materials. Conversely, the Health Care, Energy and Industrial sectors subtracted the most value. As measured by the MSCI Canada Index, the return was -1.5% during the period. The bond market took advantage of the decrease in yields along the entire curve to close the month with a slight gain.
American Market ▲2.5 % (MSCI USA 30-11-21 in CAD)
In a month tinged with red, the U.S. market came out on top. As measured by the MSCI USA Index, it is the one that subtracted the least value, with a return of -1.0% in local currency. It should be noted, however, that only two sectors contributed positively during the period: Information Technology and Consumer Discretionary. Even so, the weakness of our currency helped, such that the return was 2.5% in Canadian dollars. The sectors that suffered the most in November in the United States were Financials, Communication Services and Energy.
European Market ▼1.8 % (MSCI Europe 30-11-21 in CAD)
Like the U.S. market, nine of the 11 sectors had a negative return in local currencies. As measured by the MSCI Europe Index, the return was -2.3% for the region as a whole. The Communication Services sector was the only one to contribute meaningfully, while Real Estate was practically unchanged. The positive contribution of the exchange rate effects between the Canadian dollar and the main European currencies was not enough to turn the tide; in Canadian dollars, the return was -1.8%. In order, Energy, Financials and Information Technology were the sectors that detracted from the result the most.
Asian Market ▼0.3 % (MSCI Asia-Pacific 30-11-21 in CAD)
Asia, too, suffered from the spread of the new variant. As measured by the benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific Index, the return was -3.0% in local currencies. Only the Information Technology sector was positive, while Utilities and Communication Services came in second and third place. Conversely, Energy, Consumer Discretionary and Financials were the sectors that subtracted the most value. With the loonie’s depreciation against a number of Asian currencies, the return increased to -0.3% in Canadian dollars.
Emerging Markets ▼0.7 % (MSCI Emerging Markets 30-11-21 in CAD)
Faced with a decline in risk appetite, emerging markets also struggled. The positive contribution was limited to the Information Technology sector, while at the other end of the spectrum, Consumer Discretionary, Energy and Materials were hit hardest. The return in local currencies was -3.2%, as measured by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Once again, the exchange rate fluctuations were favourable, such that the return for November was a little better in Canadian currency, namely -0.7%.
1 Canada, United States, Europe, Asia and Emerging Markets.
Sources: Bank of Canada and MSCI Inc.
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