Strategy hits the mark in 2017; looking forward to 2018

Here's what we're thinking

December 19, 2017

Strategy: With 2017 coming to a close, we can take this opportunity to take stock of market performance and our asset allocation strategy over the past year. To recap, our strategy has been premised on carrying a large overweight in equities versus an underweight in bonds, an expectation international markets would outperform U.S. markets, and maintaining overweight exposure to cyclical sectors including financials, industrials, materials, technology, energy, consumer discretionary and health care. In the end we find equity markets posted solid returns year-to-date through 12 Dec/2017 (S&P500: +21.1%; S&P/TSX: +8.1%, all in local currency terms) while fixed income struggled to keep its head above water (U.S. and Canada: +3.3%). Meanwhile, sector performance reflected prevailing macro trends as cyclical sectors (with the exception of energy) outperformed broad market indices. Thus, our investment strategy was generally successful in focussing on the right asset allocation settings. For 2018, we expect economic growth to remain near multi-year highs, inflation to modestly tick higher, interest rates and bond yields to gradually climb, volatility to trend steadily upwards and equity market gains to moderate.