April 7, 2019

On Friday, the S&P 500 and Toronto were each up 0.5%.

Notable gainers included: WSP Global, up 2.3%; TFI International, up 2.1% and Linamar, up 1.7%.

Statistics Canada released another of its volatile jobs reports, this time indicating little change in March. Headlines spoke of 7,000 jobs lost in March but that is basically unchanged when you consider the statistical error level and the fact that the number of people employed is 18.9 million, A difference of 7000 in a population of 18.9 million is basically below the accuracy of the measuring device. It’s the equivalent of a 175 pound person losing one ounce of weight. The results are probably more reliable over longer periods and they indicate strong gains in the first three months of 2019 as well as over the past 12 months. The unemployment rate remains very low (by historical standards) at 5.8% for Canada. Alberta was measured at 6.9% unemployment (of the population that is either working or actively looking for work – which is defined as the labour force) which is high by historical standards for Alberta.

The latest rail-car loading report (from Wednesday) shows Canadian rail car loadings running very strong. The latest week was particularly strong. In contrast, rail car traffic in the U.S. has been running noticeably under the 2018 levels. Most likely, CN and CP will report good results for Q1.

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