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Market Update for November 2020

By Isaac Schweigert | December 18, 2020

November was a strong month for stock and bond markets following announcements of positive test results for COVID-19 vaccines.


November 2020 Market Performance

All index returns are total return (includes reinvestment of dividends) and are in Canadian Dollars unless noted.


Other Market Data Month-end Value Return for November 2020 2020 YTD return
Oil Price (USD) $45.34 +26.68% -25.75%
Gold Price (USD) $1,780.90 -5.27% +16.93%
US 3 month T-bill +0.08% -0.01%* -1.47%*
US 10 year Bond +0.84% -0.04%* -1.08%*
USD/CAD FX rate 1.2965 -2.65% -0.18%
EUR/CAD FX rate 1.5509 -0.15% +6.35%
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) 20.57 -45.90% +158.59%
*Absolute change in yield, not the return from holding the security.


November was a strong month for stock and bond markets following announcements of positive test results for COVID-19 vaccines.

The S&P/TSX Composite was up +10.6% and the S&P/TSX Small Cap Index was up +17.4%, both are now positive for 2020: +3.8% and +4.2% respectively.  In the US, the large cap S&P500 was up +10.9%, and the small cap Russell 2000 index was up +18.3% turning it positive for 2020 (+9.1%).

EAFE (Europe, Australasia & Far East) stocks were up +13.0%, the best month in over 26 years! (our data goes back to January 1994) but it’s still down -3.7% for 2020.  European and British stocks were up +13.8% and +12.4% for the month, respectively.  Both are still down for 2020. Japanese stocks were up +15.0%. Emerging market stocks were up +7.7% for the month, and are up +10.2% for 2020.

REITs were hard hit this year, and hadn’t seen much of a recovery until November.  The S&P/TSX Capped REIT Index gained +17.8%, its best month since May 2009.  Despite that, the Index is still down -10.8% for 2020.

Bonds were broadly positive in November.  The major Canadian bond index, the FTSE/TMX Universe Bond Index, was up +1.0% and the FTSE/TMX Short-term Bond Index was up +0.2%.  Those indices are up +8.3% and +5.1% for 2020.  US investment grade bonds were up in November, as were high yield and distressed bonds. Emerging market bonds were up +0.9% for the month.

Oil was up +26.7% in November, but remains down -25.7% for 2020.  Gold was down -5.3% for the month but remains up +16.9% for 2020.  The diversified Bloomberg Commodities Index was up +3.5% for November and remains down -8.1% for the year.

The Canadian Dollar (CAD) gained +2.7% against the US Dollar in November and +0.2% against the Euro.



November 2020 Economic Indicator Recap

Below are the readings received in November for the major economic indicators: central bank interest rates, inflation, GDP and unemployment.

Below are the current readings on a few other often followed economic indicators: retail sales and housing market metrics.

A Closer Look at the Canadian Economy

Canada’s unemployment rate declined slightly to 8.9% in October.  The economy added 83,600 jobs during the month, 69,100 of which were full time jobs and 14,500 were part time jobs. Self-employment increased for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing prices across Canada were up +1.3% in October, the strongest gain for the month of October in the 22 years of the index. Ottawa was again the top performer with a gain of +2.7%, followed by Hamilton, Montreal, and Victoria at +2.1%, +1.8% and +1.7%, respectively.  None of the major Canadian housing markets were down for the month.

The level of new housing starts rose +3.0% in October to 214,900 units.  Urban construction rose +3.5%, led by single detached urban starts at +14.3% and multifamily construction was flat.  The value of building permits fell -14.6% in October to $8.2 billion, led by Newfoundland (-55.2%), PEI (-27.2%), and Ontario (-23.9%).

The inflation rate for October was +0.4%, and +0.7% on an annual basis.  Core inflation which excludes more variable items such as gasoline, natural gas, fruit & vegetables and mortgage interest was +1.0%.  The cost of food, shelter, and health & personal care rose, while prices of recreation, clothing & footwear, and reading & education declined.

Retail sales were up +1.1% in September, the fifth month of positive growth.  Sales rose at general merchandise stores, grocery stores, furniture stores, and car dealers.  Compared to a year ago retail sales were up +4.6%.

Canada’s GDP was up +0.8% in September, the fifth consecutive monthly gain, but economic activity remains 5% below pre-pandemic levels. Both goods and services sectors were positive; 16 of 20 industrial sectors posted gains.

As expected, the Bank of Canada left its benchmark interest rate at 0.25% at the October 28 meeting.  The BoC has adjusted its quantitative easing program towards purchasing longer-term bonds and that total purchases will be gradually reduced to 4 billion per week.



*Sources: MSCI, FTSE, Morningstar Direct, Trading Economics

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Isaac Schweigert

Isaac Schweigert

Isaac is a CFA charterholder and is Portfolio Manager and Chief Compliance Officer at ModernAdvisor. He has over 11 years of investment industry experience, including asset allocation, portfolio management, due diligence, compliance and reporting.