Mike's Spotlight

You Can’t Afford To Miss This

Let me get straight to the point. If you had attended the World Outlook Financial Conference last year and acted on the advice you would have made money on almost every single investment recommended. Here’s just a few examples.

We recommended Viemed Healthcare at $2.41 at the WOFC – today it trades at $5.30…up 119%.

Photon Control Inc – recommended at .62 cents at the WOFC  – today 1.17 …up 98%

Boyd Group – recommended at the WOFC at $61– today $119…up 95% – (Boyd was first recommended at under $20 at the 2013 Outlook Conference.)

Sylogist – recommended at the WOFC at $8.60 – today $13.62… up 58%

The official WOFC Small Cap Portfolio was up 66%. Incredible but let me make perfectly clear that doesn’t happen every year. However, in the 10 years since we released the first WOFC portfolio it has never failed to deliver double digit gains.

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results but I like our chances given that I choose our speakers based on their track record. And on that score the group of headliners – including the incredible Martin Armstrong, Keystone Financial’s Ryan Irvine and Aaron Dunn, BP Global’s Paul Beatty, Timers Digest Market Timer of the Year, Mark Lebovit, and Josef Schachter – is the best you’ll get to see anywhere.  I appreciate that’s a bold statement but their results speak for themselves.

I have to add that the results I just mentioned don’t include the incredible profits in the marijuana sector, which was first recommended by Mark Leibovit and Jim Dines at the World Outlook in 2014 – over three years before virtually anyone else in the business.  People who acted on the advice and invested in the marijuana sector anytime between 2014 and 2016 made an absolute killing.

By the way, this year’s conference will have a special session on cannabis and where to invest as we enter the second phase after legalization.

One More Thing

Martin Armstrong, who the Wall Street Journal calls the highest paid financial advisor in the world; the man whose computer model correctly predicted Brexit, the Trump’s victory, the precise date of the high in the NASDAQ, S&P, and Dow this year; is now calling for a panic cycle to begin just days before the conference with big things coming in March and May in the build-up for what he calls “The Trade of the Century.”

What’s coming in March and May and what does he mean by “trade of the century?”  Everyone at the Conference is going to find out from the man whose usual clients are governments and sovereign wealth funds. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet I urge you to join us. If you can’t attend in person I highly recommend subscribing to the streaming video archive.


Host of Money Talks

Conference Details

When: Friday February 1st from 1:00pm to 8:00pm and Saturday, February 2nd from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Where: Westin Bayshore Conference Centre, Vancouver BC
To Book Your Ticket or Video Subscription CLICK HERE or go to moneytalks.net

Opportunities in 2019

As we move into 2019 we wanted to provide you with some context on what has recently happened in the capital markets and what we can expect as we begin this new year.  We also wanted to provide you with an update on some specific components of the market such as Canadian equities and blockchain as well as provide you with an idea as to what we at McIver Capital Management are doing tactically to adjust to our current environment.


2018 was both an uncharacteristic and more challenging year in the equity markets than most imagined it would have been one year ago.  The year began well enough for the equity markets in North America, with a hiccup in February which was significant enough to suggest that the market may be more fragile than in previous years. Nonetheless, by the summer both markets briefly reached all-time new highs.  This was particularly welcome for the anemic TSX here in Canada which had struggled to match the high it set back in 2014, 4 years prior.  However, after setting that new high in July the TSX slowly rolled downward, falling over 10% and now stands, depressingly, 9% below where it was almost 5 years ago.

Similarly, the S&P 500 achieved a new high in October before collapsing in dramatic fashion, losing almost 20% by Christmas Eve.

Fiscal 2018 ended with the TSX down -11.6% and the S&P 500 off -6.2%; internationally the MSCI (Europe and Japan) gave up -16% and emerging markets lost -12.3%. The top performing asset class for 2018 was cash which provided a +1.7% return.

Our sophisticated process, mathematically structured to insulate portfolios during market corrections, continued to outperform.  The primary P1 to P5 portfolios slipped between -2.99% (P1 – Very Conservative) and -4.87% (P5 – Growth) after fees over the same time frame, with all portfolios experiencing just a fraction of the market downside and volatility.  Long-term performance remains intact.

Please see our December year end performance here.

As we consider 2018 it is important to keep in mind that there were no systemic problems in the market or economy that caused the selloff, rather general confidence was nibbled away at by a thousand ducks.  The equity markets were extended and generally more expensive than in most years creating an air pocket; trade war concerns between the United States and China as the U.S. continues to seek a more equitable trade balance (and to protect against state-sponsored theft of intellectual property) shook confidence; the Republican loss of the lower House to the Democratic Party was perceived as negative for tax policy and regulation; a slowdown in Europe, and in particular Germany which may now be in recession.

While each of those listed inputs were and are valid concerns, perhaps the most impactful input has been rising interest rates driven by the U.S Federal Reserve in response to a growing economy. With U.S. GDP growing at +3.5% in the 3rd quarter, the U.S. Federal Reserve has raised rates 9 times in a row in order to keep the lid on a hot economy (and to create room to lower rates when the inevitable recession appears). However, this puts pressure on the equity markets for several reasons. With money more expensive, companies cannot borrow capital to expand as easily as they could previously, nor can investors borrow with impunity to invest as they had previously. Additionally, higher rates create a more competitive environment for investment capital as investors begin to buy more bonds, fixed income and guaranteed investments because the interest rates have become more attractive, leaving less capital for the equity markets.


With the above said, markets tend to overreact to events or to new economic environments. Additionally, trade wars end and slowdowns such as the one Germany is experiencing are normal.  Again, it’s important to point out that there is no systemic economic problem, simply a market which is adjusting.

In our December note to you we mentioned that the equity market reaction to rising rates was overdone (markets had fallen too far in reaction) and that a sharp oversold bounce was likely. Our McIver Capital Management call has proven to be accurate. The equity markets have popped +9% – 10% since the market bottom on Christmas Eve but remain well below their summer highs from last year.

In the short term, Technical Research (charting) suggests that a retest of December lows is likely near the end of January or early February. Double bottoms are very typical of bull market corrections.  While this may not feel comfortable if indeed we do roll back down, such market movements are normal and natural. Since 1950 there have been 3 previous -20% peak to trough non-recession corrections and, in all instances, the market behaviour has been consistent – once the market reached its climactic low there was a sharp reflex rally followed by a retest of that low within 4-5 weeks. This supports the likelihood that the second leg of the double bottom will occur in a few weeks.

While we are not here to cheerlead the stock market and we do not pretend to have a crystal ball, research suggests that the larger picture remains positive and conducive to higher equity prices. Several factors suggest this. Firstly, inflation remains subdued and certainly under control. Secondly, the U.S. Treasury 2 – 10 year yield curve remains positive and has not inverted (an inverted or negative yield curve suggests a pending recession within 2 years). Thirdly, U.S. corporate earnings may very well beat expectations this coming quarter providing a positive catalyst for the markets. Lastly, fears of a recession are likely overblown and are not supported by the data.

We are not alone in our opinion. Market targets by the respected RBC Global Asset Management and Canaccord Genuity (among many others) both exceed 10% over the next year for both the U.S. equity markets and the TSX here in Canada.  As do their targets for Europe, Japan and emerging markets.

All this data and research suggest that 2019 should be a nicely profitable one.  If you have cash on the sidelines, you may want to consider deploying it within the next few weeks if we do indeed retest the December lows. Please just let any of us at McIver Capital Management know how we can help.

Canadian Equities – Undervalued

Canadian equity markets have dramatically underperformed the U.S. and other international markets over the past 4 to 5 years.  As mentioned earlier the TSX is now 9% below where it was almost 5 years ago.  There are several reasons for this, the most impactful being a bear market in base commodity prices which are the backbone of the Canadian economy.  However, this has been exacerbated by a lack of transparency on domestic tax policy, rising personal and corporate taxes (making us less competitive), large unexpected federal government deficits and an international business community that sees Canada as politically resistant to future growth in its resource sector.

While those current realities have resulted in a stagnant market over the past number of years, they have also created an opportunity.  Firstly, commodity prices bottomed many months ago and research suggests prices should begin to build into the next upward cycle at some point within the next year. Secondly, the Canadian economy is both resilient over time, and common sense orientated. Today Canadian companies are very much undervalued. An example would be Enbridge.  This is a stock which was trading at $63 three years ago.  Today it has solid gold assets (5,000 kilometers of pipelines) and is trading at just $47 with a 6.2% dividend.  We added this to our model portfolios last year at $43 (when it had a dividend of 7%). There are many more such opportunities in Canadian equities which we will be reviewing over the coming weeks.

Rebalance- Earlier Than Normal

We are not market timers, nor do we pretend to see the future, however if the market does begin to rollover and retest those December lows we will be conducting our annual rebalance much earlier in the year than we normally do, perhaps by the end of January. By rebalancing early, we will be safely taking tactical advantage of shorter term market anomalies.  This rebalance will result in increased positions in equities generally, including out-of-favour Canadian equities and U.S. growth positions.

Blockchain/Bitcoin/HIVE – Recovery Pending?

While 2018 was a challenging year for equities, it was a devastating one for the very speculative cryptocurrency marketplace generally.  Those millennial crypto millionaires we were reading about one year ago may have to wait a few more years to retire.

After striking an all-time high in December 2017 of ~$20,000 USD, Bitcoin fell more than 80% to a low of some $3,200 USD in December last year.  Currently it is trading in the $3,600 USD range, up a modest 15% from where it was in December. This trajectory was roughly followed by virtually all blockchain-related assets and cryptocurrencies.  It is the third time in its short history that Bitcoin has lost more than 80% of its value.

While the bloom has certainly come off the rose for blockchain, the plant remains.

There are several factors which are suggesting that the swoon may shortly be ending in this embryonic sector.  While some still question whether there will ever be mass acceptance of cryptocurrencies, the number still skeptical is becoming fewer.  Beyond simply the currencies, the technology involved in the blockchain is proving to be increasingly important, useful and valuable.

Some landmark developments hint at a more positive future for the sector. It is important to keep in mind that through the previous run-up in cryptocurrency prices there was always a worrying lack of institutional participation (banks, pension funds, endowments, large pools of capital, etc.) to backstop the cryptoassets.  The vast majority of investors were individuals.  That former reality is changing.

Recently the owners of the New York Stock Exchange, Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft and Starbucks (which intends to increase its use of Bitcoin as a trusted global currency) created BAKKT which is described as a “federally regulated market for bitcoin”.  This is set to launch later this month.

In September TD Ameritrade announced it’s backing ErisX, a crypto exchange designed to trade all currencies and related derivatives. At the same time the massive Fidelity announced its launch of Fidelity Digital Assets which will provide much needed security, storage and trade execution for crypto assets. Each of these sets the stage for much larger investors entering the crypto market.

These services will be needed as in October some of the largest endowments in the world, including Harvard, Yale, MIT and Stanford among them, all announced first-time investments in at least one cryptoasset.

Technical Research has been suggesting for several months that if Bitcoin follows the same pattern as past collapses that the point of maximum pessimism will be reached in February or March of this year.

All of these developments, taken in aggregate, suggest the potential for a significant recovery in all cryptoassets on the short term.

Over the past two years we at McIver Capital Management have done our research into this speculative sector and have identified a number of positions where investors can gain a reasonable amount of exposure. We may very well be adding to these positions in our model portfolios shortly.

Because of its depth and breadth, this area of the capital markets is challenging to encapsulate in a few short paragraphs.  If you are interested in reading more on this fascinating subject, please email anyone on our team and request the most recent Canaccord Genuity Crypto Quarterly or Bitcoin Monthly. They are excellent, industry leading reads.

Neil McIver is Sr. VP and Portfolio Manager at McIver Capital Management at Canaccord Genuity.

CLICK HERE to receive the McIver Capital High Net Worth Newsletter direct to your Inbox or to request account or client information from Neil and his team.

Indicators Suggesting Market is Oversold

I should be putting the final touches on my Christmas shopping (and so should you) however, considering the ongoing market volatility, I thought it prudent to provide some perspective.  I will keep it as brief as possible, as I know everyone is busy.

Both the Dow in the U.S. and the TSX in Canada have now corrected more than -15% and international markets are down more than -20%. The TSX, in fact, is now down more than -1,000 points from where it was over 4 years ago.

It is important to keep in mind that our portfolios at McIver Capital Management are constructed with both specific and ample holdings of cash, bonds, Gold and other negatively correlated positions. They are further buffered by the large percentage of assets held in U.S. dollars; which is strengthening in relation to the Loonie (increasing the value of those assets). These portfolios are, in fact, specifically designed to weather these types of storms and accordingly they have experienced a fraction of the market volatility.

Market corrections are normal, natural and healthy. They prevent bubbles, excess speculation and they moderate expectations. The root of this compression can be found in three areas of concern; the ongoing China – U.S. trade dispute; slowing global growth (primarily in Europe and China); and most importantly the financial markets adjusting to rising U.S. interest rates.

On Wednesday this week, the U.S. Federal Reserve (FOMC) did not help when it raised interest rates for the ninth consecutive time. While the FOMC did suggest that there will only be two more rate hikes in 2019 (instead of the expected 3), they did not indicate that interest rate hikes would cease or that rates would be coming down any time soon. Stock markets (and real estate markets) generally prefer lower interest rates for a number of technical reasons, but primarily because the lower the cost of money, the more of it there is to circulate through your market place.

That said, the cumulative reaction in the equity markets to an unfriendly, rate-raising, U.S. Federal Reserve over the past two months, appears to be overdone. Please keep in mind that there is no evident systemic problem in the economy, such as there was during the financial crisis of 2008. I hesitate to even mention the financial crisis of 2008 in the context of this garden variety correction.

Indicators Suggesting Market is Oversold

With the equity markets well below their highs and the shock of higher rates now baked into future expectations, most indicators suggest that this market is over-sold. Clearly, investor expectations toward major market inputs (Interest rates, trade, Brexit, European growth) have been reduced, setting the stage for a potential positive surprise should one or more of those worries turn positive.

Research suggests that this current decline should have been damaging enough to potentially generate a sharp oversold bounce at some point in the near future.

Last Friday December 14th, the S&P 500 (SPX) dropped 1.9% which was followed by a 2% compression on Monday. Sundial Inc (a research partner of Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management) studied every occurrence since 1950 in which a drop of 1.5%, or greater, of the SPX on a Friday was followed by a 1.5%, or greater, drop on the following Monday. There were 10 such occurrences and in all cases the SPX was higher 2 months later and in 9 of the 10 occurrences the market was higher 1 year later. More than that, the numbers themselves are impressive. The average gain 2 months following was 7.9% and the average gain 1 year hence was 25.7%. In fact, there was only one occurrence in which the return 1 year later was less than 20% (-1.2% in 2001, which was the one occurrence the market was not positive a year later).

This data strongly suggests adding to your investment portfolio if you have any latent cash on hand.


While I do not have a crystal ball and I cannot see the future (despite the rumours), I do have a tremendous amount of experience and touch, as does McIver Capital Management. Your portfolios have been built and managed specifically in anticipation of such market corrections.

McIver Capital Management and I are not paid to cheerlead the market, we work only for you and we are here to build portfolios that protect your wealth. We, and our portfolios, are doing exactly that.

Two Simultaneous Truths Collide:

1) All markets fluctuate. 2) As humans we are flawed, because we are conditioned to react to immediate stimulus.

Imagine if every home (house, condo, apartment), including yours, had a large digital sign installed outside stating the value of that home at that exact minute. You would likely be shocked at the volatility. How would you feel if the value went down over a number of weeks, or months (as has happened to real estate in most regions in B.C. and many across Canada), or sharply over a few days? Would you sell the home? Every moment you looked at the price sign you likely would feel a need to. But we all know this is likely a poor decision.

Minute by minute pricing only feeds this human need to react. A sophisticated, high quality, mathematically diversified portfolio is no different than a real estate asset, except it has a tendency to grow much faster over time and it is priced minute by minute. To be effective, it needs to be held in the same way as real estate.

Neil McIver is Sr VP and Portfolio Manager at McIver Capital Management at Canaccord Genuity Corp.

CLICK HERE to sign up and receive the McIver Capital High Net Worth Newsletter direct in your Inbox or to request account or client information from Neil and his team.

What You Need to Know

Stock Market Graphic

Market corrections take time to resolve. After a tough month of October, global stock markets had a relief bounce in early November before more U.S.-China trade tensions, fear of slowing global economic growth, declining oil prices, Brexit and so on caused them to retreat again. Markets are now in the process of testing their respective October lows. This type of price development (i.e. initial market decline, followed by an oversold bounce, then a retest of the bottom) is quite normal and is exhibiting characteristics representative of past market corrections.

Beyond this short-term market volatility, we believe the larger fundamental picture remains intact for major global economies. The data and indicators we monitor show that the risk of a global recession is relatively low in 2019. However, the market is not the economy and we can experience a market correction due to excessive optimism and higher valuation without a recession. As long-term investors, we must acknowledge that short-term market volatility is inevitable and is part of investing. During these times, we must not allow our emotions to derail our long-term plan, and conversely, having a cash reserve can allow us to capture opportunities.

At this point, the big question is whether the retest of the October lows will hold and if we can muster a rally into year-end. There are several potential positive catalysts to monitor. The first can occur this weekend at the G20 Summit starting on November 30th in Buenos Aires, Argentina. President Trump and President Xi are meeting to discuss trade talks and if the U.S. and China can come to a more collaborative tone, such as agreeing on a framework or date for further negotiations and holding off on further tariff increases, that would be a positive catalyst for the markets. The second catalyst could come from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Their next FOMC meeting is on December 19th , where the probability of a U.S. rate hike is about 80%, but this has been mostly priced in. What’s more important is their tone and projection for future rate hikes. A more dovish tone and accommodative stance on future increases would be viewed positively by the markets. In fact, we have already seen a hint of that this week when Fed Chair Jerome Powell took a dovish stance in his speech at the Economic Club of New York.

Lastly and close to home, a rebound in oil prices from extreme oversold territory would bode well for Canada and other oil-centric economies. The OPEC nations and Russia are expected to meet on December 6th and have hinted at cutting oil production by about 1.4 million barrels per day to address the current oversupply issue. If enacted, it could be a positive catalyst for the markets. Let’s see if Santa will pay us an early visit this year and give markets a year-end rally.

Want to know more about McIver Capital at Canaccord Genuity? Click here.

Asset Allocation is Important

Asset Allocation

From an investment perspective, asset allocation deals with the way in which your securities are allocated within broad categories.

It may not just be about equities or bonds. For example, some people may have restricted their investments to include only real estate. They may own rental properties in the U.S., with the hope that the value of the underlying property will rise in price and cover any operating costs to provide a real return over time that can be realized and used during future years for personal purposes.

During the commodity super-cycle that peaked during the first decade of the new millennium, some investors may have focused their purchases on commodities-based investments, with the hope that this tactic would result in a positive return or “outperformance” over time.

With both of these asset classes (and others), the turbulence of the marketplace in recent times has sent a strong message about the need for appropriate asset allocation.

What is Asset Allocation?

Asset allocation is the manner in which your investments are proportioned within each investment category, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, cash and other asset classes. 

Generally, the goal of asset allocation is to help you plan to meet your financial goals by adjusting and rebalancing your allocations based on a variety of factors, including such things as your age, current financial position, risk tolerance or size of estate. The risk associated with your portfolio should reduce over time as the portfolio reaches its end point.

Determining Your Asset Allocation

The process of defining an appropriate asset allocation will depend on a number of important factors. A general first step should be identifying realistic financial goals and time horizons. These may include education expenses for your children, the purchase of a house, vacation or car expenses, your retirement goals, and others. You will need to understand the timing and the amount of money needed to achieve these goals, as well as your ability to generate the required resources.

Once you have determined your goals, prioritize them according to a time frame. Short-term goals should have less risky investments and longer-term goals can have more risky investments.

Discussing these objectives is important, especially when it comes to your overall wealth management plan. The process may result in the abandonment of some of your current “wants” as being out of reach at the moment and may require you to rethink your priorities.

Changing Your Mix

Once you have your basic investment plan in place, you should try to adhere to it. Be disciplined to ensure that you don’t take unnecessary risks. Don’t be afraid to stick to a plan that has been well-thought out for your circumstances.

However, you should also consider reviewing your asset allocation each year. With the passage of time comes change in the time horizon for each of your investment goals. Longer-term goals now become intermediate or shorter-term goals. As well, different events in your life may also trigger the need for change in your allocation mix, such as marriage, the birth of a child, an inheritance or the death of a spouse.

Seek Expert Advice

Worth repeating: Investors should seek advice about any aspect of the investment process, but particularly about asset allocation. Don’t be afraid to discuss the merits of different asset classes or securities in meeting your own personal investment objectives.

The Origin of the Ticker Symbol

Stock Ticker

The ticker symbol has been synonymous with North American stock markets over time. But have you ever wondered where the term “ticker symbol” comes from?

The origin of the ticker symbol dates back to the end of the 1800s when Thomas Edison developed one of the first means of digital electronic communication — the stock ticker — a machine which broadcast the price of stocks over telegraph lines. It consisted of a long paper strip that ran through the machine which printed company names and their associated stock transaction price and volume information.

The word “ticker” was derived from the tapping noise the machine made while printing. At the time, it was difficult to list the entire name of a company, so an abbreviated form called a “ticker symbol” was used.

In the 1960s, the paper ticker tape and stock ticker become obsolete. At this time, the rise in the use of new technology such as television and computers replaced the ticker tape to transmit financial information.

Today, letter-only ticker symbols have been standardized across North American markets. When a security is listed on public markets, a company has the opportunity of choosing their ticker symbol. There are generally few rules that limit its ticker symbol name, as long as the main part of the symbol is four letters or less, is unique, does not closely resemble another symbol and is not rude in nature.

Some of the more unique ticker symbols include: LUV — a low-cost U.S. airline, headquartered in Love Field, USA; FUN — a U.S. amusement park operator; YUM — a global operator of fastfood restaurant chains; and TAP — a U.S. beer-producer.