Swap These Financial Stocks to Reduce Risk

Victoria Hetherington

Rising household debt, falling house prices, slowing credit applications – it’s a wonder anyone is still buying shares in Canada’s Big Six banks. Indeed, from financing weed suppliers to exposing itself to a potentially volatile American market, big Bay Street bankers may be too rich by half for the low-risk appetites of domestic investors looking to them for stability.

Take Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS), with its exposure to the U.S. economy, for instance. Scotiabank does substantial business south of the border, and as such may have left itself vulnerable to the potential of a widespread market downturn in the U.S. Even with this leg up, though, it still managed to underperform the Canadian banking industry as well as the TSX index for the past year.

More shares have been bought than sold by Bank of Nova Scotia insiders in the past three months, though not in vastly significant volumes. The usual boxes are ticked by its value, indicating P/E of 10.6 times earnings and P/B of 1.4 times book, while a stable dividend yield of 4.88% is augmented by a good-for-a-bank-stock 6.6% expected annual growth in earnings.

Again, overexposure to the United States market is an issue with Bank of Montreal(TSX:BMO)(NYSE:BMO). Specifically, this comes from BMO Harris Bank, a large personal and commercial bank; BMO Private Bank, which offers wealth management across the U.S.; plus BMO Capital Markets, an investment and corporate banking arm of the parent banker.

With year-on-year returns of 8.1%, BMO outperformed the industry and the market, and as such seems a safe bet on the face of it. Its one-year past earnings growth of 24.6% shows rapid recent improvement given its five-year average growth rate of 6.1%. Meanwhile, a P/E of 11.3 times earnings and P/B of 1.5 times book show near-market valuation, and a dividend yield of 3.9% is matched with a 3.6% expected annual growth in earnings.

Try the “insulated” alternatives

An example of domestic alternative on the TSX index would be Laurentian Bank of Canada (TSX:LB). Although its one-year past earnings dropped by 4.2%, a five-year average past earnings growth of 14.3% shows overall positivity, while a P/E of 9 times earnings and P/B of 0.8 times book illustrate Laurentian Bank of Canada’s characteristic good value. A dividend yield of 6.3% coupled with a 9.2% expected annual growth in earnings gives the Big Six a run for their money.

Alternatively, Manulife Finanical (TSX:MFC)(NYSE:MFC) offers a way to stick with financials but ditch the banks. This ever-popular insurance stock was up 2.33% in the last five days at the time of writing and is very attractive in term of value at the moment, with a P/E of 10.3 times earnings and P/B of 1.1 times book.

Manulife Financial’s 3.5% year-on-year returns managed to beat the Canadian insurance industry, but just missed out on walloping the TSX index’s 4.2%. In terms of the company’s track record, its one-year past earnings growth of 138.1% eclipsed the market and its industry, though its five-year average is sadly negative. Its balance sheet is solid, however, with its level of debt reduced over the past five years from 60.2% to the current 41% today.

The bottom line

Sidestepping banks may be a shrewd move at the moment, with other forms of financials offering a more insulated route to a broader space. While more regionalized banks like Laurentian Bank of Canada are one option, stocks like Manulife Financial, with its dividend yield of 4.17% and 11.3% expected annual growth in earnings offer a similar but less risky play on the TSX index’s financial sector.

5 Top Canadian Stocks to Start a Balanced Retirement Portfolio Today

Andrew Walker | The Motely Fool

Canadian investors in all stages of their careers are dreaming about the day they can wake up every morning without having to think about work.

While company and government pensions might be adequate to cover the cost of living in retirement, most people are also using RRSPs and TFSAs to set aside additional cash. In the case of contract workers and others who are self-employed, the self-directed portfolios are key to ensuring a comfortable life in the golden years.

Let’s take a look at five Canadian stocks that might be interesting picks to start a diversified retirement portfolio.

Brookfield Asset Management (TSX:BAM.A)(NYSE:BAM)

Brookfield Asset Management is a great option for investors who want access to alternative investments located around the world. The company owns a massive global real estate portfolio that includes office towers, hotels, storage, industrial, and student housing properties. Renewable power facilities and major infrastructure assets are also part of the mix. In total, the company has 2,000 assets spread out across 30 countries.

Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS)

Bank of Nova Scotia is Canada’s third-largest bank with a market capitalization of close to $90 billion.

The company has focused most of its international investment on the Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Peru. The four countries make up the Pacific Alliance trade bloc and are home to more than 200 million potential banking customers.

Bank of Nova Scotia continues to grow its presence in the region through strategic acquisitions, and the 2018 results suggest the strategy is paying off. Earnings growth in the international group is outpacing the Canadian operations, and that trend should continue.

The dividend provides a yield of 4.7%.

Nutrien (TSX:NTR)(NYSE:NTR)

Nutrien is a giant in the global fertilizer industry. The company was formed last year through the merger of Potash and Agrium, and the integration process is going well. In fact, run-rate synergies came in above the $500 million expected last year, and management anticipates it will hit $600 million in 2019.

Crop nutrient prices are recovering after a multi-year downturn, and long-term demand for the company’s products is expected to grow in step with a rising global population and increasing pressure on farmers to get better yield out of less available land.

Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI)

CN is a key player in the operation of the North American economy. The company’s tracks connect three coasts, and the locomotives and rail cars carry everything from oil, grain, and lumber to coal, cars, and finished goods.

The company is investing the capital needed to meet growing demand, remain competitive, and reduce expenses. At the same time, CN generates enough free cash flow to provide investors with generous dividend increases and has a large share-buyback program. CN raised its dividend by 18% for 2019.

Telus (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU)

Telus is a leader in the Canadian communications industry, providing mobile, TV, and internet services to Canadian customers across its state-of-the-art network infrastructure. The company does a good job of keeping customers once they have signed up, regularly reporting the industry’s lowest post-paid churn rate.

Longer term, the Telus Health division, which provides digital services and solutions to physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies, could become a significant contributor to revenue and cash flow. The business unit is already a leader in the segment in Canada, and disruption in the healthcare space is expected to continue.

The dividend yield is 4.6%.

The bottom line

All five companies are leaders in their respective markets and should be solid buy-and-hold picks to start a balanced TFSA retirement fund.

Few people have… yet some of the greatest minds in the world believe this innovative technology could change the world.

Amazon doesn’t want anyone to know about this top-secret project, but there’s something even Amazon doesn’t know…

One grassroots Canadian company has already begun introducing this technology to the market – which is why legendary Canadian investor Iain Butler thinks they have a leg up on Amazon in this once-in-a-generation tech race.

But you’ll need to hurry if you want to pick up this TSX stock before its name is on everyone’s lips.

Canadian women are relatively well-prepared financially

Yet despite strong financial awareness confidence about future security diminishes

Highlights:

  • The majority of women over 45 have a very clear idea of what they would do with a sudden lump sum of money, with only a quarter worry about being able to manage the money properly.
  • Canadian women have also mastered the household money matters. More than nine in 10 (92 per cent) agree they have a strong understanding of their finances.
  • Yet despite this, 24 per cent say they won’t be able to maintain their household’s financial situation if their spouse or partner were to pass away and one-third are not confident that they will be able to afford the lifestyle they want to live through retirement.

Twitter: Canadian women are relatively well-prepared financially: RBC Insurance Poll @RBCInsurance Poll

TORONTOFeb. 26, 2019 /CNW/ – When it comes to insuring their financial future, Canadian women over 45 are relatively well-prepared. The majority have a very clear idea of what they would do with a sudden lump sum of money, and only a quarter (24 per cent) worry about being able to manage the money properly, according to a recent poll from RBC Insurance. A large majority (94 per cent) express a prudent approach, agreeing that they would develop a strategy for making the money last. Other top responses include looking for ways to help protect the money from risks such as market volatility (92 per cent) and considering investing in products that provide guaranteed income (91 per cent).

“Women are expressing a strong interest in long-term financial strategies, risk mitigation and products that can provide guaranteed income,” said Selene Soo, Director, Wealth Insurance, RBC Insurance. “There are solutions available that women should consider as part of their retirement plan that can provide guaranteed income for life, potential tax benefits and the ability to protect beneficiaries, to name a few.”

Canadian women have also mastered the household money matters. More than nine in 10 (92 per cent) agree they have a strong understanding of their finances, regardless of marital status. Yet, one quarter (24 per cent) say they won’t be able to maintain their household’s financial situation if their spouse or partner were to pass away, a figure that increases to 30 per cent for women between the ages of 45-54, versus 14 per cent of women 65+.

Despite this, the poll also revealed varying degrees of confidence when it comes to women’s financial future. One-third (33 per cent) of women overall are not confident that they will be able to afford the lifestyle they want to live through retirement. In particular, women between 45-54 are most likely (38 per cent) to express this uncertainty around the future, compared to 22 per cent for women 65+. Interestingly, single women were only slightly more likely than married women (36 vs. 34 per cent) to cite a lack of confidence in their ability to afford their lifestyle in retirement.

“Women have long been managers of the day-to-day activities and spending in households across the country and we’re pleased to see this reflected in their confidence about the household finances,” adds Soo. “Yet, there still is some uncertainty around their ability to maintain the same lifestyle into the future, so looking critically at their financial needs and having a plan for all scenarios will go a long way to maintaining that confidence right through retirement.”

Keeping it in the family:

The majority (84 per cent) of Canadian women would like to leave an inheritance for their loved ones. Half (49 per cent) have received an inheritance themselves in the past, while a slightly smaller proportion (46 per cent) expect to receive one in the future. However, women are not depending on an inheritance to fund their retirement, with only 17 per cent agreeing that they are relying on one to help them get through their retirement years.

While women have their finances relatively well in hand, there is always room for improvement. When it comes to increasing confidence in, and preparing for their financial future, Canadian women should consider the following as part of their investment portfolio:

  • Products such as annuities provide a predictable income stream for as long as you live, regardless of whether financial markets rise or fall.
  • Estate planning is a key component for your financial legacy. Have the conversations early and plan for a transfer of wealth. Segregated funds can be a good option as it provides unique estate planning benefits which aren’t available in other types of investment products.
  • Speak to an advisor to discuss options and ensure you’re on track to meet your long-term financial goals.

About the RBC Insurance Survey
These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of RBC Insurance. A total of 1,001 interviews were completed online among Canadian women aged 45+ and with a household income of at least $60,000 from January 11-17, 2019using the Ipsos I-Say Panel. Quota sampling and weighting was employed in order to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population, according to Census data. The precision of online polls is measured using credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance® offers a wide range of life, health, home, auto, travel, wealth and reinsurance advice and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada, one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC Insurance is among the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organizations, with approximately 2,500 employees who serve more than four million clients globally. For more information, please visit rbcinsurance.com.

SOURCE RBC Insurance

Two-thirds of Canadians enter 2019 worried about the economy

NEWS PROVIDED BY

Financial Planning Standards Council 

TORONTOJan. 21, 2019 /CNW/ – Two-thirds of Canadians enter 2019 worried about their financial fortunes, according to a recent economic poll. The Kitchen Table Forecast, a Leger poll of 1,515 Canadians, was conducted for non-profit organizations Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) and Credit Canada.

The survey sought to add consumer context to reports on slowing economic growth by asking Canadians about a series of “kitchen table” issues – the sort of daily financial concerns that confront people on a daily basis, such as bill payments and debt, cost of living, job security and bankruptcy. It comes on the heels of a global report by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that suggests Canada is showing signs of a sharp decline in growth in 2019.

“Canadians are feeling stressed about their finances and are often at a loss to improve their situation,” said author, personal finance educator and FPSC’s Consumer Advocate, Kelley Keehn. “This hopelessness can cause people to do nothing, and possibly make their condition worse. Uncertainty about an ever-changing job market and economy only intensifies the average person’s confidence and ability to handle the ebb and flow that life inevitably presents.”

The “R word” – Four-in-10 Canadians feel economy will get worse in 2019
The report didn’t ask about the dreaded “R-word” (recession) specifically; however, four-in-10 Canadians (42%) feel that the economy will get worse in 2019 – while 36 per cent believe it will stay the same. Across the country, people aged 55-plus are significantly more likely than those under 55 to feel the economy will get worse in 2019 (47% vs. 39%). Meanwhile, Quebecers (at 46%) are more confident than the rest of Canadians (34%) that the economy will stay the same in 2019.

“It’s no surprise people over 55 are more pessimistic (or realistic) when it comes to our economy. This isn’t their first rodeo and they know the red flags,” says Credit Canada CEO, Laurie Campbell. “Insolvency rates were up by more than five per cent last fall, we’ve seen five interest rate hikes since mid-2017, and the cost of living continues to rise. If debt levels don’t come down and people don’t start to get serious about paying off their debt, it’s only a matter of time before we’re in major trouble. You can only bury your head in the sand for so long.”

Looking ahead – Daily financial concerns 
Respondents were also asked the question “Looking ahead into 2019, what are you most worried about?”  Overall, two-in-three Canadians (67%) say they have worries when forecasting their prospects for the year. While gender does not play a role, those under 55 are considerably more likely to be worried (76% vs. 52% for those over 55). Respondents with children under 18 are also more likely to have concerns (79% vs. 62% for those without children).

Here are the “kitchen table” issues that are keeping Canadians up at night:

  • 34 per cent are concerned that the increased cost of living will put them further in debt
  • One-in-four (23%) are concerned they won’t be able keep up with monthly payments
  • Also, one-in-four (23%) are concerned with their debt growing
  • 13 per cent are concerned about losing their job
  • 10 per cent are concerned about other bread-winners in their home losing their jobs
  • 14 per cent are concerned about an unaffordable increase in mortgage interest rates
  • Five per cent are concerned about going bankrupt

Alternatively, one-in-four Canadians (26%) were “not worried about anything” going into 2019.

How to recession-proof your life – tips from FPSC’s Consumer Advocate, Kelley Keehn

  1. Get your emergency fund established and funded.  Experts estimate three-to-six months of household income that’s safe and secure.
  2. Do a family net worth statement.  Know your situation and know where you may be leaving money on the table, like with an employer-funded pension plan or employer RRSP matching plan.
  3. Consider your insurance needs during times of high debt in the case of death, disability or job loss.
  4. Don’t panic – seek out expert assistance from a CFP® professional who can create a plan that protects your downside without adding to your already stretched bottom line.
  5. Take a hard look at ways to cut expenses or increase your income to increase your bottom line and help fund your emergency account.

How to recession proof your life – tips from Credit Canada CEO, Laurie Campbell

  1. Build (and stick to) a monthly budget to ensure you know exactly how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and how much is left over for financial goals. See where you can cut costs – for example, find cheaper cell phone and internet plans, gym memberships and better insurance rates.
  2. Contribute regularly to an emergency savings fund. Make regular contributions – even small amounts, such as $20, is a very positive step. Consider setting up automated savings through your bank.
  3. Pay down debt. Start with paying off the credit cards with the highest interest rates first, also known as the “avalanche” method for paying down debt. Credit Canada’s free Debt Calculator can help determine the best debt repayment strategy for each individual.
  4. Always remember that Credit Canada offers free, confidential, one-on-one counselling sessions with certified credit counsellors.

The full results of the Kitchen Table Forecast can be found on the FPSC and Credit Canada websites.

About Credit Canada 
Credit Canada is a not-for-profit credit counselling agency that provides free and confidential debt and credit counselling, personal debt consolidation and resolutions, as well as preventative counselling, educational seminars, and free tips and tools in the areas of budgeting, money management, and financial goal-setting. Credit Canada is Canada’sfirst and longest-standing credit counselling agency and a leader in financial wellness, helping Canadians successfully manage their debt since 1966. Please visit www.creditcanada.com for more information.

About Financial Planning Standards Council
A professional standards-setting and certification body working in the public interest, FPSC’s purpose is to drive value and instill confidence in financial planning. FPSC ensures those it certifies―Certified Financial Planner® professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning―meet appropriate standards of competence and professionalism through rigorous requirements of education, examination, experience and ethics. There are approximately 18,500 financial planners in Canada who have met, and continue to meet, FPSC’s standards. More information is available at FPSC.ca and FinancialPlanningForCanadians.ca. Effective April 1, 2019, FPSC will become FP Canada™: a national professional body dedicated to advancing professional financial planning. Learn more at FPCanada.ca.

About the Kitchen Table Forecast
The survey of 1,515 Canadians was completed between January 4 and January 7, 2019, for Credit Canada and FPSC using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Leger’s online panel has approximately 400,000 members nationally and has a retention rate of 90%.

Websites

https://www.creditcanada.com/ 
http://www.financialplanningforcanadians.ca/   
http://www.kelleykeehn.com/

CFP® and Certified Financial Planner® are certification trademarks owned outside the U.S. by Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB). Financial Planning Standards Council is the marks licensing authority for the CFP marks in Canada, through agreement with FPSB. All other ® are registered trademarks of FPSC, unless indicated. © 2018 Financial Planning Standards Council. All rights reserved.

SOURCE Financial Planning Standards Council

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

CTV News

The Canadian Bankers Association says Canada must create a digital identification system, potentially utilizing technology such as blockchain, biometrics and document review over a live video connection.

The association’s chief executive says moving away from a paper-based, face to face process towards a modern identification system of this kind is needed to “unlock the full potential” of the digital revolution that is underway.

Neil Parmenter added in his speech in Toronto today that the need for digital identification “will only grow more urgent” as Ottawa explores the possibilities of open banking, the payments system is modernized and blockchain and artificial intelligence move into “new frontiers.”

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking, a framework that would allow consumers and businesses to permit third parties such as fintechs to access their financial data to provide innovative services.

Parmenter says the CBA is calling for a “federated” model of digital identification which would create linkages between federal and provincial systems, which hold information such as social insurance and drivers’ licences, respectively.

He says this digital identification system, which the CBA previously outlined in a white paper, could make it possible to authenticate an individual’s identity electronically using multiple digital reference points from different systems.

Time to Buy 2 Undervalued Income Stocks

Brad Macintosh

These two stocks fell during the market sell-off and are now part of the January rally. Now that investors’ expectations have been reset and valuations are at historical lows, it’s time to seriously consider these two finance/insurance stocks.

Lock in these dividend payers

First is the Quebec-based financial and insurance services company, Industrial Alliance(TSX:IAG), which faced the same pressures as other insurers due to new business standards from the Life Insurance Capital Adequacy Test (LICAT). The change required insurers to explicitly capture insurance risks, which means more homework and due diligence that took effect in earnest last year. In the long run, this should make the insurance business more robust, but in the short term it has been bad for shareholders.

Many people, including myself, were banging the table as insurance stocks appeared undervalued. Just weeks before Industrial Alliance put in a bottom, I made a bold claim this stock would rise 50%. Despite the LICAT headwind, it looks like my bullish prediction is starting to pan out as the stock is up 15% from the December lows.

As fellow Fool contributor points out, Industrial Alliance now has an eight times price multiple …  which is absurdly low. Last year was a transition year. Having run over enough speed bumps, the five rate hikes since 2017 will now act as a catalyst for Industrial Alliance. Shareholders can enjoy this ride.

Next, it’s been over a year since Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM)(NYSE:CM) absorbed the no fee Simplii Financial personal banking. That’s enough time to recognize some synergies and say goodbye to $98 million incurred in 2017 to consolidate the new service. Revenue in 2018 is showing signs of this synergy. Canadian personal and small business banking revenue increased modestly in all four quarters compared to 2017.

After reaching $100 per share, CIBC has fallen 18% from September highs. In addition to the market-wide correction, other drivers of volatility included the summertime data breach and competition from smaller mortgage lenders.

Yet the chart shows a repeat pattern from the end 2017. At that time, I was so anxious to own CIBC shares that I bought on the first sign of weakness. I learned my lesson, as exuberance produced an initial 10% loss. You cannot expect to time each investment. But CIBC is on my list of top holdings to add to.

Enough about me … if you are not going to buy CIBC shares now, under favourable valuation conditions, you likely never will. The stock price only needs to grow 5% per year to generate double-digit annual returns. How? 5+5 gives 10. At this 52-week low, the annual dividend is $5.44. Time to lock in 5% passive income from the dividend.

Volatility from liquidity

Meanwhile, a small-cap healthcare stock Viemed Healthcare (TSX:VMD) is showing positive momentum, like the 8% one-day price gap up. One concerning matter is how the price swing happened on low trading volume. Who cares about trading volume as long as the stock is rising, right? Well, low liquidity is a risk. It’s like climbing stairs three at a time; eventually you will be exhausted.

High liquidity is like climbing stairs one step at a time. High trading volume means smaller spreads between bid and ask prices. Let’s hope this hot stock shows no sign of tiring.

And we won’t be opening up again for the foreseeable future.

Tune in to our LIVE “Project X” event now for full details on the unique investing “X Factor” that Motley Fool co-founder and CEO Tom Gardner himself discovered has outpaced the S&P 500 in our U.S. business by a factor of greater than 4-to-1.

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