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At a Glance

  • The fourth quarter of 2017 saw escalating geopolitical tensions between the United States and North Korea. But the U.S. economic situation showed signs of stabilizing, and the country’s markets were unperturbed by the media’s reports.

  • The S&P/TSX Index ended the year strongly, bringing its annual return to 9.10%. The index closed the month of December at a new peak of more than 16,200 points, buoyed by factors that included the increase in the oil price to about US$60 a barrel toward year-end.

  • In Europe, the picture was just as positive for the main bourses, with returns of about 20% on some markets, including Germany, France and Italy.

  • Canada faces several challenges in 2018, given that the talks concerning the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continue to be heated, particularly with the United States, which has taken a hard-line, protectionist approach.

  • Canada’s very strong economic data, such as the job market statistics, had a favourable impact on all bonds. The provincial sector benefited the most: it had a return of 3.38% for the quarter, with the long-term portion rising 6.00%.