McMurtry Investment Report & Model Portfolios

McMurtry Investment Report Portfolios – November 2018

Also available in PDF: MIR Portfolios November 2018

Investment Commentary (November 2018)


This week the US midterm elections occur on Tuesday. It is anticipated that the Republicans will win the Senate with the Democrats expected to take the House of Representatives.

Regardless of my political distaste for Donald Trump and his extreme right wing Republican backers, the following outcomes will most likely determine the short term outlook for the equity markets.

If the Republicans win both houses of government, the market will rise.

If the Democrats win both houses, the markets will fall.

If there is a split vote, markets will probably trade within a narrow range.

I was listening the other night to Ian de Verteuil, CIBC’s market strategist. He feels that regardless of who wins the midterm elections markets will refocus on the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

This current trade war is showing no signs of getting resolved anytime in the immediate future. In fact many are now calling it a cold war comparable to what happened between the US and the Soviet Union many years ago when JFK was president.

Ongoing trade wars, higher interest and labour rates continue to create headwinds for equity markets.

Despite these factors, the recent equity correction, which may not be completely finished, has now provided much better market valuations. In the US PE multiples have come down from over 18 times to 16 times earnings. Corporate earnings growth remains very strong but is expected to come down from 20% year over year to a more sustainable 10% level.

Asset Mix Changes

As I still do not anticipate an economic recession within the next 18 months, I am now recommending a reduction of 5% cash for both portfolios with the monies directed back into equities. Please keep in mind that we remain in the latter stages of an economic cycle and the cyclical upturn is not expected to last nearly as long as was the case 3-4 years ago. 

Preferred Shares

Prices of preferred shares have been all over the map in the last few months with some resets falling sharply in the midst of a rising interest rate environment.

My advice is to stay the course with rate reset preferreds as long as the interest rates continue to rise.

I am recommending the addition of Royal Bank rate reset preferred J that has a reset option within the next few years. It offers a solid yield and is trading below par value.


In terms of sector weights I am recommending the following:

Overweight Financials, Industrials, Technology and Consumer Discretionary

Market Weight Healthcare, Communication Services and Reits

Underweight Energy, Materials, Consumer Staples and Utilities

In terms of the Energy sector, I am switching from a slight overweight to an underweight.

World crude oil prices are being negatively affected by Trump’s threats against Saudi Arabia to increase production. The Saudis are being extra compliant with the US with the embarrassing Khashoggi incident hanging over their heads.

In addition the fully anticipated US oil sanctions against Iranian production are now in question with seven countries receiving exemptions. It appears to me that Trump is totally preoccupied with keeping crude prices low before the midterm elections.

In regards to the Canadian crude price discount over WTI, today’s extra wide discount is expected to shrink meaningfully over the next 6-12 months with a US refinery coming back into production and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project looking more likely to be approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

I am switching to an underweight position until the short term headwinds are resolved, but want to maintain a reasonable exposure nevertheless should the situation turn positive.

I am advising selling Vermillion Energy and redeploying the proceeds into Parex, another Canadian producer that receives the higher Brent pricing. Differing from Vermillion, Parex has no long term debt making it a much stronger company financially. However it does not pay a dividend.

In the Materials sector, I am advising the purchase of the iUnits Global Gold ETF XGD for the Growth portfolio only. This will benefit when inflationary expectations start to escalate from the ongoing trade war and higher labour rates.

In the Consumer Discretionary area, I am recommending the deletion of Stanley Black and Decker. The company’s earnings growth rate is declining and they are facing stiff competition in their markets.

Early last month I sent out a blog recommending switching out of SNC into Aecon in the Industrials sector. Aecon is benefitting from many new projects while SNC is facing a major lawsuit regarding their business practices.

The recent market decline is providing buying opportunities in companies and sectors like Amazon, Google, Visa in addition to the Canadian and US banks.

McMurtry Investment Report – Portfolios (November 2018)
Income Growth
Cash Alterna Bank – High Interest Savings (2.05% current rate) Alterna Bank – High Interest Savings (2.05% current rate)
EQ Bank – High Interest Savings ( 2.30% current rate) EQ Bank – High Interest Savings ( 2.30% current rate)
Bonds iShares  XSB  Short Term iShares XSB  Short Term
iShares  XFR  Floating Rate iShares XFR  Floating Rate
iShares CBO 1-5 Ladder Corp iShares CBO 1-5 Ladder Corp
iShares CLF 1-5 Ladder Gov’t iShares CLF 1-5 Ladder Gov’t
Preferreds Security Dividend Yield % Security Dividend Yield %
Enbridge Pfd V US 6.52 Enbridge Pfd V US 6.52
Horizons Active Mgt. Pfd  HPR 3.94 Horizons Active Mgt. Pfd  HPR 3.94
Royal Bank RY.PR.J 3.71 Royal Bank RY.PR.J 3.71
Industrial Alliance IAG.PR.G 4.11 Industrial Alliance IAG.PR.G 4.11
Common Stocks Security Dividend Yield % Security Dividend Yield %
Financials Royal Bank     RY 4.11 Royal Bank     RY 4.11
National Bank 4.15 National Bank 4.15
TD   TD 3.68 TD   TD 3.68
CIBC  CM 4.79 CIBC CM 4.79
Sun Life    SLF 3.94 Sun Life    SLF 3.94
JP Morgan    JPM  US 3.00 JP Morgan   JPM  US 3.00
Bank of America  BAC  US 2.24 Bank of America   BAC  US 2.24
Citibank  C  US 2.79 Citibank  C  US 2.79
Goldman Sachs GS US 1.46 Goldman Sachs GS US 1.46
T. Rowe Price  TROW US 2.91 T. Rowe Price  TROW US 2.91
iUnits US Regional Banks  IAT US 1.93 iUnits US Regional Banks  IAT US 1.93
Keycorp KEY US 2.81 Keycorp KEY US 2.81
Paychex PAYX US 3.47 Paychex PAYX US 3.47
PNC Fin’l PNC US 3.05 PNC Fin’l PNC US 3.05
Energy Suncor   SU 3.31 Suncor   SU 3.31
Freehold    FRU 6.59 Freehold   FRU 6.59
Whitecap  WCP 5.20 Whitecap  WCP 5.20
Torc  TOG 5.22 Torc  TOG 5.22
Pembina Pipe Lines PPL 5.27 Pembina Pipe Lines PPL 5.27
Enbridge ENB 6.70 Enbridge ENB 6.70
Centennial Resources  CDEV US 0.00
Step Energy STEP 0.00
Parex Resources PXT 0.00
Materials Agnico Eagle   AEM 1.17 Agnico Eagle  AEM 1.17
Franco Nevada FNV 1.53 Franco Nevada  FNV 1.53
BMO Global Base Metal ETF ZMT 1.65 BMO Global Base Metal ETF ZMT 1.65
iShares Global Gold ETF XGD 0.23
Trevali Mining  TV 0.00
Roxgold   ROXG 0.00
Industrials Toromont TIH 1.50 Toromont TIH 1.50
WSP Global    WSP 2.30 WSP Global  WSP 2.30
Canadian Pacific  CP 0.98 Canadian Pacific  CP 0.98
CNR 1.63 CNR 1.63
Raytheon RTN US 1.91 Raytheon RTN US 1.91
Aecon Group ARE 2.67 Aecon  Group ARE 2.67
Guggenheim Eq WT IND  RGI US 1.13 Guggenheim Eq Wt IND RGI US 1.13
Honeywell HON US 2.29 Honeywell HON US 2.29
Finning FTT 2.90 Finning FTT 2.90
TFI Int’l TFII 1.96 TFI Int’l TFII 1.96
Fedex FDX US 1.20
Consumer Discretionary Home Depot      HD  US 2.34 Home Depot      HD  US 2.34
Sleep Canada  ZZZ 3.10 Sleep Canada  ZZZ 3.10
Canadian Tire CTC.A 2.45 Canadian Tire CTC.A 2.45
Amazon AMZN US 0.00 Amazon AMZN US 0.00
Magna MG 2.68 Magna MG 2.68
Lowes LOW US 2.03 Lowes LOW US 2.03
Communication Services Rogers B  RCI.B 2.83 Rogers B  RCI.B 2.83
Alphabet GOOGL US 0.00
Consumer Staples Alimentation Couche- Tard ATD.B 0.62 Alimentation Couche Tard  ATD.b 0.62
Loblaws L 1.80 Loblaws L 1.80
Constellation Brands STZ US 1.49 Constellation Brands STZ US 1.49
Unilever PLC  UL US 3.35 Unilever PLC UL US 3.35
Technology Apple   AAPL  US 1.41 Apple  AAPL US 1.41
Microsoft  MSFT US 1.77 Microsoft  MSFT US 1.77
Open Text OTEX 1.83 Open Text OTEX 1.83
Nvidia NVDA US 0.30
ETFMG Prime Cyber Sec. HACK US 0.01
Shopify SHOP 0.00
Visa V US 0.72
Utilities Algonquin Power AQN 5.06 Algonquin Power AQN 5.06
Fortis   FTS 4.17 Fortis   FTS 4.17
Healthcare Abbott Labs ABT US 1.65 Abbott Labs ABT US 1.65
Johnson & Johnson  JNJ  US 2.56 Johnson & Johnson  JNJ  US 2.56
Merck  MRK US 3.04 Merck  MRK US 3.04
US Healthcare iShares ETF IYH US 1.10 US Healthcare iShares ETF IYH US 1.10
United Healthcare UNH US 1.39 United Healthcare UNH US 1.39
Eli Lilly LLY US 2.08 Eli Lilly LLY US 2.08
CVS US 2.76 CVS US 2.76
Danaher DHR US 0.65
Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO US 0.29
IBB Biotech ETF    IBB  US 0.30
Real Estate Cdn Apt. REIT   CAR.un 2.89 Cdn. Apt. REIT  CAR.un 2.89
InterRent REIT   IIP.un 2.12 InterRent REIT IIP.un 2.12
Summit REIT SMU.un 5.72 Summit REIT SMU.un 5.72
European Equity iShares MSCI Europe XEU 2.72 iShares MSCI Europe XEU 2.72
McMurtry Investment Report – Sector Weights (November 2018)
Equity Sector Weights (%)
Sector My Weight TSX Comp S&P 500 60 % US / 40% CDN
Financials 24.00 34.10 13.60 21.80
Energy 10.00 18.60 5.70 10.86
Materials 4.75 10.30 2.60 5.68
Industrials 11.00 10.70 9.30 9.86
Consumer Disc. 8.00 4.30 9.80 7.60
Comm. Services 8.26 5.50 10.10 8.26
Consumer Staples 4.41 3.60 7.40 5.88
Technology 15.16 4.00 20.70 14.02
Utilities 1.78 3.90 3.10 3.42
Real Estate 2.96 3.20 2.80 2.96
Healthcare 9.68 1.70 15.00 9.68
Totals 100.00 99.90 100.10 100.02
McMurtry Investment Report Asset Mix (November 2018)
Asset Mix – Income and Growth Portfolios
% Income  Growth
Cash 37.50 32.50
Bonds 10.00 5.00
Preferreds 15.00 10.00
Equities 37.50 52.50
    CDN 13.00 19.00
    US 19.50 28.50
    Europe 5.00 5.00
    Emerging Markets 0.00 0.00


Please see our disclaimer at Copyright ©2018 McMurtry Investment Report™. All rights reserved.

Also available in PDF: MIR Portfolios April 2019

Investment Commentary (April 2019)

Asset Mix Changes

Last week both the Canadian and US yield curve inverted where short rates exceeded longer maturities. For most of the past economic recessions, an inverted yield curve occurred 6-18 months before the onslaught of an economic slowdown. Consequently, this signal should not be taken lightly and brushed off as is frequently the case with economists stating that things are different this time.

This week the inversion of the curve went away in both Canada and the US with longer rates now slightly exceeding shorter maturities. However, the negative yield curve is still present in Europe where their economy continues to suffer.

US corporate bond spreads for both investment and High Yield securities had been creeping up in late December. However, year to date corporate spreads over US Treasuries have been coming down once again. Historically when corporate spreads widen this is a danger signal for an economic slowdown. The recent reduction is spreads is a positive sign that the economy may not be as weak as many pundits are saying.

Overall economic activity is definitely slowing globally. This is also true in the US but their economy is still growing on a relative basis much faster than Europe and Canada. Economic growth in the Chinese economy had been coming down sharply, but this week an announcement came out stating that their domestic industrial production started to revive after nearly nine months of decline. Several months ago the Chinese authorities began stimulating their domestic economy by lowering corporate taxes and increasing government spending. Once again this is a positive development.

The Federal Reserve has stopped increasing rates by emphatically stating that there will be no more rate increases for the remainder of the year.

US corporate profit growth has slowed dramatically from last year, while equity prices have rebounded sharply year to date. Equity valuations are no longer cheap as they were in late December.

This week the US / China trade talks have taken a more positive tone which is good for markets.

Taking all these factors into consideration, I have decided to leave the asset mix for both portfolios the same as last month. The jury is still out if an economic recession is imminent or only years away.

McMurtry Investment Report Asset Mix (April 2019)
Asset Mix – Income and Growth Portfolios
%Income Growth
Bonds – Regular20.0010.00
Bonds – High Yield5.005.00
Emerging Markets0.000.00

Equity Sectors

The main change to my equity sector recommendations is to reduce the Financial equity exposure from overweight to market weight the 55% US 45% Canada benchmark. This works out to a new weight of 21.25% of my North American equity exposure.

The reason for my reduction in weight for the Financial sector is all to do with interest rates and the slope of the yield curve. Lower rates combined with either a flat or inverted yield curve is not positive for the bank’s net interest margins. A slowing economy normally results in an increase in loan losses, another possible headwind.

For the other groups I remain market weight Energy, Utilities and Healthcare.

I remain overweight Technology, Industrials, Real Estate, Communication Services and Consumer Staples

I remain underweight Materials and Consumer Discretionary.

McMurtry Investment Report – Sector Weights (April 2019)
Equity Sector Weights (%)
SectorMy WeightTSX CompS&P 50055 % US /45% CDN
Consumer Disc.6.404.1010.107.40
Comm. Services8.505.8010.108.17
Consumer Staples6.253.907.305.77
Real Estate3.753.503.103.28

Common Equity Changes

In the Financial Services sector, I am replacing National Bank with Intact Financial for both portfolios. Intact is the largest property / casualty company in Canada and will benefit from the recent departure of AIG, a large US competitor from the Canadian market. Intact is raising insurance rates in Ontario and this will help to increase operating margins. Differing from life insurance companies, property and casualty insurance companies have much shorter term liabilities and are consequently not as negatively affected from flat to falling interest rates as the life companies are.

In the Technology sector, I am deleting Nokia from both portfolios. Huawei, the Chinese company and major competitor to Nokia has been continuously lobbying the global wireless providers to encourage them to continue buying their products. It is only in the US that the Chinese company has been banned with its alleged cybersecurity activities. Thus, Nokia has not been as much of a beneficiary from the 5G wireless ramp up as originally expected. In addition, a law firm has recently alleged that Nokia’s Alcatel – Lucent division has some very serious potential claims for security law violations. This creates a lot of uncertainty. My recommendation is to sell your Nokia shares and use the proceeds to purchase more Cisco, which will be a major beneficiary from the upcoming 5G implementation.

In the healthcare sector I am adding the Swiss dental implant company, Straumann Holdings ADR to my Growth portfolio. This American Depositary Receipt is not very liquid in the US market, so please always use limit orders when buying and selling this security. Despite this shortfall, this is a good quality company and one of the global leaders in the dental implant industry. The company is experiencing strong annual revenue and gross profit growth in addition to record EBITDA margins. The company has strong organic growth and operates in 100 countries globally. The global dental implant market is expected to grow at 4-5% globally this year and Straumann’s organic growth is sharply outperforming its competitors.

Lastly in the Materials sector, I am adding Osisko Metals to my Growth portfolio. The company is a small cap zinc exploration company that operates in both the Far North and in New Brunswick. The company has no long term debt and the level of insider buying is unusually high. Normally I do not even discuss insider buying, but the level of insider buying for this company is extraordinary. The supply / demand situation for zinc is the most favourable for all the base metals with inventory stockpiles at very low levels. Should the Chinese economy rebound the demand for zinc will increase accordingly.

Peter McMurtry, B.Com, CFA
Financial Writer
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McMurtry Investment Report – Portfolios (April 2019)
CashAlterna Bank – High Interest Savings (2.35% current rate)Alterna Bank – High Interest Savings (2.35% current rate)
 EQ Bank – High Interest Savings ( 2.30% current rate)EQ Bank – High Interest Savings ( 2.30% current rate)
Bonds -RegulariShares XSB Short TermiShares XSB Short Term
 iShares CBO 1-5 Ladder CorpiShares CBO 1-5 Ladder Corp
 iShares CLF 1-5 Ladder Gov’tiShares CLF 1-5 Ladder Gov’t
Bonds – High Yield CORPiShares XHY US High Yield CDN$  iShares XHY US High Yield CDN $ 
Common StocksSecurityDividend Yield %SecurityDividend Yield %
FinancialsRoyal Bank RY4.05Royal Bank RY4.05
 Bank of Montreal BMO4.00Bank of Montreal BMO4.00
 Bank of Nova Scotia BNS4.89Bank of Nova Scotia BNS4.89
 Intact Financial IFC2.69Intact Financial IFC2.69
 TD TD4.08TD TD4.08
 Sun Life SLF3.90Sun Life SLF3.90
 JP Morgan JPM US3.16JP Morgan JPM US3.16
 Bank of America BAC US2.17Bank of America BAC US2.17
 Citibank C US2.89Citibank C US2.89
 Morgan Stanley MS US2.84Morgan Stanley MS US2.84
 T. Rowe Price TROW US3.04T. Rowe Price TROW US3.04
 Keycorp KEY US4.32Keycorp KEY US4.32
 PNC Fin’l PNC US3.10PNC Fin’l PNC US3.10
EnergySuncor SU3.85Suncor SU3.85
 Freehold FRU7.43Freehold FRU7.43
 Torc TOG5.62Torc TOG5.62
 Pembina Pipe Lines PPL4.55Pembina Pipe Lines PPL4.55
 Enbridge ENB6.04Enbridge ENB6.04
 Trans Canada TRP4.91Trans Canada TRP4.91
   Parex Resources PXT0.00
MaterialsAgnico Eagle AEM1.15Agnico Eagle AEM1.15
 Franco Nevada FNV1.29Franco Nevada FNV1.29
   Osisko Metals OM.V0.00
   iShares Global Gold ETF XGD0.20
IndustrialsToromont TIH1.55Toromont TIH1.55
 Air Products APD US2.44Air Products APD US2.44
 WSP Global WSP2.06WSP Global WSP2.06
 Canadian Pacific CP0.94Canadian Pacific CP0.94
 CNR 1.79CNR1.79
 Raytheon RTN US2.03Raytheon RTN US2.03
 Aecon Group ARE3.33Aecon Group ARE3.33
 Guggenheim Eq WT IND RGI US1.35Guggenheim Eq Wt IND RGI US1.35
 Honeywell HON US2.07Honeywell HON US2.07
 TFI Int’l TFII2.45TFI Int’l TFII2.45
Consumer DiscretionaryHome Depot HD US2.80Home Depot HD US2.80
 Sleep Canada ZZZ3.77Sleep Canada ZZZ3.77
 Canadian Tire CTC.A2.88Canadian Tire CTC.A2.88
 Amazon AMZN US0.00Amazon AMZN US0.00
 Lowes LOW US1.75Lowes LOW US1.75
Communication ServicesRogers B RCI.B2.78Rogers B RCI.B2.78
   Facebook FB US0.00
   Alphabet GOOGL US0.00
Consumer StaplesAlimentation Couche- Tard ATD.B0.64Alimentation Couche Tard ATD.b0.64
 Loblaws L1.79Loblaws L1.79
 Constellation Brands STZ US1.69Constellation Brands STZ US1.69
 Unilever PLC UL US3.06Unilever PLC UL US3.06
TechnologyApple AAPL US1.54Apple AAPL US1.54
 Microsoft MSFT US1.56Microsoft MSFT US1.56
 Open Text OTEX1.58Open Text OTEX1.58
 Paychex PAYX US2.79Paychex PAYX US2.79
 Cisco CSCO US2.59Cisco CSCO US2.59
   Kinaxis KXS0.00
   ETFMG Prime Cyber Sec. HACK US0.15
   Visa V US0.64
UtilitiesAlgonquin Power AQN4.58Algonquin Power AQN4.58
 Northland Power NPI5.12Northland Power NPI5.12
 Fortis FTS3.64Fortis FTS3.64
HealthcareAbbott Labs ABT US1.60Abbott Labs ABT US1.60
 Becton Dickinson BDX US1.23Becton Dickinson BDX US1.23
 Merck MRK US2.65Merck MRK US2.65
 US Healthcare iShares ETF IYH US1.84US Healthcare iShares ETF IYH US1.84
 United Healthcare UNH US1.46United Healthcare UNH US1.46
   Danaher DHR US0.52
   Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO US0.28
   Straumann ADR SAUHY US *0.63
   IBB Biotech ETF IBB US 0.28
Real EstateCdn Apt. REIT CAR.un2.76Cdn. Apt. REIT CAR.un2.76
 InterRent REIT IIP.un2.03InterRent REIT IIP.un2.03
 Dream Industrial DIR.un5.83Dream Industrial DIR.un5.83
 Summit REIT SMU.un4.35Summit REIT SMU.un4.35
European EquityiShares MSCI Europe XEU2.96iShares MSCI Europe XEU2.96

* Be careful purchasing and selling Straumann ADR’s as it is very illiquid. Always use a limit order.

Peter McMurtry, B.Com, CFA

Please see our disclaimer at disclaimer ©2019 McMurtry Investment Report™. All rights reserved.