During the first quarter of 2012, major global indices showed a positive performance, with gains of over 12% for the U.S. markets, especially due to a rebound in the technology sector and securities. At the national level, performance was much lower at 3.6% for the TSX. The sharp drop in the price of natural gas as well as the low price of other commodities explains the underperformance.
The slower rate of growth in China is expected to continue to affect the price of raw materials. Thus we expect slow growth in Canada and continue to maintain an underweight position in securities linked to the resource sector.
At the European level, the debt crisis in Greece should move to Spain and Portugal, which should help to keep pressure on the Euro and fuel questioning on the viability of the union.
We intend to take advantage of the strong Canadian dollar to increase positions in securities of multinational companies positioned to benefit from stronger growth in emerging countries.
In fixed income, we continue to increase our positions in preferred shares to maximize revenues in the context of low interest rates and maintain short term bonds.