and rising inventory worries across the globe.
Weakness was widespread among most global economic superpowers including the Euro zone, China and Japan, putting a lid on crude oil prices. A relatively stronger greenback also played into the broad oil weakness as well.
This week, oil hit yet another five-year low in the wake of soaring global supplies as confirmed by the OPEC report and a jump in U.S. output. On December 10, benchmark U.S. crude also touched $60 per barrel. Late last month, OPEC announced ‘no-cut’ in production, engaged in a price war and then forecast a drop in demand next year.
OPEC expects global demand for crude to hit its lowest level in over a decade next year, much below the present production level. Notably, crude oil lost about 40% since June.
While this carnage forced most markets to pare gains, it especially came as a shot across the bow to Canada investing. Canada, which is among the world’s top 10 oil producers, saw its stocks taking the deepest single-day dive in 18 months.
Per Bloomberg, oil, banking and materials were the laggards in Canada long after 1988, stoking concerns about the future of its economy. The S&P/TSX Composite Index, made up of large-cap stocks listed on the Toronto stock exchange, slumped 2.3% on December 10, thanks to its heavy weight on energy.
The average Canadian price for gasoline dropped to C$1.06 a liter, in early December from C$1.35 a liter in June marking the steepest yearly decline in five years, as noted by Bloomberg.
In fact, the nation’s central bank lately expressed concerns about economic well-being, forecasting that the oil rout might reduce ‘Canada’s economic growth by 1/3 of a percentage point in 2015’. The latest guidance was harsher than the previous one which speculated a ¼ point cut. To add to this, a broad-based commodity crash will likely weigh on the nation.
Though Canada’s economic prospects do not appear gloomy with better-than-expected GDP in Q3 (2.8% versus the estimated 2.1%), a better inflationary outlook, a stronger export competitiveness due to the falling currency relative to the greenback and the increasing purchasing power of the U.S. consumers, the oil tumult has definitely been a downside risk.
Investors should note that Canadian bourses have fallen behind the S&P 500 in the last four years, per Bloomberg. We get ominous cues for next year too. Given this, Canada ETFs should be closely watched in the days ahead. For those investors, we have highlighted the set of ETFs that could be in focus in the coming days, and especially if oil prices take a sharp turn:
Presently there are six Canada ETFs available in the market among which Canadian Energy Income ETF (ENY) being an energy-oriented ETF, shed the most this year. ENY was down over 20% in the year-to-date frame.
Apart from this, the best way to invest in Canada is iShares MSCI Canada ETF (EWC), a product that has nearly $2.73 billion in assets. The fund tracks the MSCI Canada Index, holding just under 100 stocks in its basket.
Although financials take the top spot at 39.05%, energy makes up a huge chunk of assets accounting for 22.1% of the total. The fund was off 8% in the last one month and is down about 4% so far this year.
Small Caps and New Funds
Canada AlphaDEX Fund (FCAN) ─ a $36.1 million ETF ─ invests one-third of its portfolio in energy stocks followed by 18% and 16% focus respectively on the two other struggling sectors ─ materials and finance. Year-to-date, FCAN was down 15% while the fund has shed about 11% in the last one month.
IQ Canada Small Cap ETF (CNDA) invests about 30% of its $13.2 million portfolio in energy stocks. Materials stocks take about 23% focus. CNDA is down 14% so far this year.
Another small-cap ETF MSCI Canada Small Cap Index Fund (EWCS) has $3.1 million in assets. Like its big brother, this iShares ETF too invests the most in energy (22.1%) followed by materials (21.8%) and financials (16.8%). EWCS is off 12% this year.
We finally have SPDR MSCI Canada Quality Mix ETF (QCAN), which joined the market just this year only. The product has $2.9 million assets with financials taking the top spot at 33.7% followed by energy at 20.8% and consumer discretionary at 11%. QCAN has lost 7% in the last one month.
Investors should note that EWC, FCAN, CNDA and EWCS each have a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Zacks.