September 10, 2017

On Friday, the S&P 500 was down 0.2% and Toronto was down 0.3%.

Dollarama was up another 3.6% to $139.50. Usually I have said this is a fantastic company but looks too expensive. On November 2, 2014 I had it as (lower) Buy at $49.51 (adjusted for a subsequent stock split) That may have been the highest I ever rated it. It kept on growing faster than I would have been willing to assume. Sometimes it pays off to pay up for high quality. And despite its products, this was always a high quality company.

Alimentation Couche-Tard is another extremely high quality company. I am going to post another update for that company likely tomorrow since I think it is well worth considering at this time and given that it just released earnings last week. It is currently facing some store damage due to the Texas and now the Florida Hurricane. If it dips on that news, I think that would be a buying opportunity.

Statistics Canada reported unemployment and job figures on Friday. Some interesting facts. I never like to read too much into the one month changes since there is by nature a certain level of statistical uncertainty in the results since they come from a survey of a sample of households as opposed to say counting everyone paying into CPP in a month or something like that. I note that despite recent improvements in Alberta, the unemployment rate remains somewhat high at 8.1%. For Canada as a whole the unemployment rate is 6.2%. That is definitely lower than the average over the past 40 years.

It is often claimed that “the boomers” never had a problem getting a job. In part this is survivor bias. People look at those boomers that did get good jobs and have pension plans etc. They may be overlooking the many many boomers who were only sporadically employed or made little more than minimum wage. They do exist. Jobs have ebbed and flowed over the decades. The past often looks certain and rosy looking back. But in actuality people living in particular years in the past only seldom perceived the economy to be all that great. Today’s young people do face a tough job market. And some years in the past had far better job prospects than today. But over the past 40 years I can attest there were recessions and years with quite poor job prospects and high unemployment.