By Mike Keerma
Stocks edge up as summer doldrums prevail
* First Asset low-risk ETF debuts on TSX.
Stocks edge up as summer doldrums prevail.
The big North American stock indices advanced marginally on the week as lighter volumes prevailed.
S&P 500 Composite Index managed a 0.7% gain for the week, while the
Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.8%. Toronto’s benchmark
S&P/TSX Composite Index
also closed the week 0.7% higher from the previous week’s close, buoyed by
the anticipation of a continuing string of strong quarterly earnings from
Canada’s big banks. However, a weekly decline of -1.7% in the price of
crude oil kept a lid on the energy sector, dampening overall TSX performance.
Gold, meanwhile, rose 0.4% on the week, after a mid-day surge on Friday,
following a large gold futures transaction just before Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech at a central bankers' confab in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Absent any major
economic or geopolitical market movers last week, markets continued to look for anything noteworthy to set direction, but there wasn't much. With many traders,
analysts, and researchers away from the big boards during the summer
months, trading remained lighter and volumes lower than more normal,
fully-staffed periods of the year. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet
Yellen’s speech at the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole,
Wyoming, contained no clues about the direction of U.S. interest rates.
Neither did European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s speech. Draghi concentrated more on the dangers of trade protectionism, while Yellen focused on bank regulation. Markets’
initial hopes early in Friday’s session of more dovish signals on rates quickly
* First Asset low-risk ETF debuts on TSX. The new First Asset MSCI International Low Risk Weighted ETF
(TSX: RWX) began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday. The fund is in Canadian
dollar hedged units. An unhedged version is also available trading under
the symbol TSX: RWX.B.
The fund tracks the MSCI EAFE Risk Weighted Top 175 Index Hedged to CAD,
which is based on the market capitalization-weighted MSCI EAFE Index, and
includes large- and mid-cap stocks of developed markets outside of North
America. According to a First Asset release, the index emphasizes stocks
with lower historical return variance and tends to have a bias towards
lower size and lower risk stocks. The index has historically shown lower
realized volatility in compared with its parent index, while maintaining
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