January 23, 2019

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 was up 0.2% while Toronto was down 0.2%.

About the only notable move in stocks on our list was Constellation Software, up 3.0%

Rail car loading reports are out for the third week of January. In Canada, every category except grain and non-metallic minerals is up and many categories are up substantially. This includes intermodal, which is consumer goods which is up noticeably. Even autos and auto parts are up year-over-year. These figures suggest the Canadian economy continues to grow. If you click through to the chart be sure to click the “radio” button to choose Canada and then use the buttons to see each commodity. The red line at the left is 2019 and 2018 is the green line. These figures may include CN and CP’s U.S. operations but in any case on the face of it the data looks quite positive on a year over year basis. It is more difficult on this chart to compare January to December especially given seasonality and I have not attempted to make that comparison.

Statistics Canada reported retail sales for November. Year over year they are mostly quite flat (up 0.5% for Canada as a whole, Ontario up 2.9% and Alberta up 0.5%) which would indicate a modest decline in most provinces considering inflation. Nova Scotia shows a 6.4% decline. That’s rather hard to believe. Scary, if true. These statistics are always subject to data collection errors.

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