October 23, 2014 Comments

On Thursday, the S&P 500 was up 1.2% and Toronto was also up 1.2%

The strength of the recovery, particularly in U.S. stocks, seems surprising. It illustrates how hard it is to guess the direction of the market in the short term. I basically avoid trying to do so.

Like almost everyone, I can’t help but pay attention to short term gains and losses but it is the long term that really matters. The short term is best used to react by taking advantage of (hopefully temporary) lower prices of quality companies when the occur rather than trying to predict them.

Notable gainers today included Melcor up 2.9% to $24.10, Couche-Tard up 2.4% to $36.70.

I did add to my position in CLO the oil sands ETF at the opening price of $12.10 this morning. I had entered my order the night before with a price just above the close yesterday knowing I would pay $12.10 or less but that I would not get any if it opened above $12.10 and stayed there. It closed up 2.7% at $12.29.

Canadian Tire was up 1.0% to $124.15. It’s a strong company but I would likely take some profit if I still held it. In fact I already sold all I had in tax deferred or tax free accounts (sold too early it seems) but have held onto the shares I hold in a corporate taxable account as I prefer not to pay the capital gains tax and also not to create a transaction that I have to report for taxes.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America may be benefiting from a jump in mortgage refinancing in response to lower rates. Strangely in the U.S. most mortgages can be refinanced if rates drop and it does not hurt the banks. I believe the interest rate hit to the bank may be paid by Fannie / Freddie or they have sold the mortgages so that the hit is taken by investors in mortgage backed securities. In any case the banks do earn a fee for the refinancing and benefit that way. However, in the long run lower interest do hurt bank earnings. But then again the p?E ratios rise with lower rates. The end result is that I am comfortable buying or holding these banks.

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