Quarterly Update

Market Commentary

During the first quarter of 2018, most global equity markets declined amid the concerns surrounding the US interest rate increases, inflationary fears and trade wars.

January started off on a strong note, with equity markets’ positive momentum carrying over from late-December as Congress finally passed the much anticipated tax bill. NAFTA uncertainty and slowing economic growth continued to weigh down on sentiment, causing Canada to lag the developed markets. In addition, the Bank of Canada announced another 25bps rate hike, bringing the overnight rate to 1.25%, but followed up with a relatively dovish caution that “stimulus is still needed”. Bond markets saw negative January returns as positive economic momentum continued to fuel concerns of faster-than-expected monetary policy tightening and pushing long-term rates higher.

The month of February saw a week-long sell-off in global equities which resulted in a nearly 10% correction before bottoming out on February 8. In the US, risks of trade wars escalated near March-end as the White House announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which later escalated to $50 billion in tariffs against Chinese imports. The US Federal Reserve, with its new chair Jay Powell, announced a 25bps rate hike on March 21, bringing the central bank’s target rate to 1.50-1.75%.

In March, the European Central Bank tweaked their language around Quantitative Easing, removing an explicit pledge to “increase the size of QE if needed”. While this was not a huge surprise given the stellar growth seen in Europe, the central bank’s statements certainly help to reinforce the tightening trends.


As of May, 2018
Portfolio Commentary
OnCourse AGF Elements Yield Portfolio

For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, the AGF Elements Yield Portfolio returned 0.2% while the blended benchmark returned 2.2%. During the quarter, the Portfolio’s allocation to Canadian equities was marginally reduced in favour of global equities. This underweight exposure contributed to positive performance, as Canadian equities lagged most other developed markets due to overhanging trade risks. more

OnCourse AGF Elements Conservative Portfolio

For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, the AGF Elements Conservative Portfolio returned 0.5%, while the blended benchmark returned 1.5%. Allocation changes made during the quarter were generally positive, with the Portfolio’s exposure to Canadian and developed market equities reduced in favour of global fixed income. more

OnCourse AGF Elements Balanced Portfolio

For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, the AGF Elements Balanced Portfolio returned 0.4%, while the blended benchmark returned 1.3%. During the quarter, the Portfolio’s allocation to Canadian equities was further reduced in favour of U.S. equities and other global markets. This contributed to positive performance. more

OnCourse AGF Elements Growth Portfolio

For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, the AGF Elements Growth Portfolio returned 1.2%, while the blended benchmark returned 1.6%. During the quarter, the Portfolio’s allocation to Canadian equities was modestly reduced, which positively contributed to performance, as Canadian equities lagged most other developed markets due to overhanging trade risks. more

OnCourse AGF Elements Global Portfolio

For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, the AGF Elements Global Portfolio returned 1.8%, while the MSCI All Country World Index returned 1.6%.During the quarter, allocation to U.S. and global developed market equities were reduced in favour of emerging market equities. more

As at: March 31, 2018
Portfolio Commentary
OnCourse NEI Ethical Select Income Portfolio

The NEI Ethical Select Income Portfolio (Series B) returned -0.54% for the quarter. In terms of asset allocation, the fund’s overweight to global equities and underweight to Canadian equities added value more

OnCourse NEI Select Conservative Portfolio

The NEI Select Conservative Portfolio (Series B) returned -1.05% for the quarter. In terms of asset allocation, the fund’s overweight to global equities and underweight to Canadian equities added value. more

OnCourse NEI Select Balanced Portfolio

The NEI Select Balanced Portfolio (Series B) returned -0.60% for the quarter. In terms of asset allocation, the fund’s overweight to global equities and underweight to Canadian equities added value. more

OnCourse NEI Select Growth Portfolio

The NEI Select Growth Portfolio (Series B) returned -0.48% for the quarter. In terms of asset allocation, the fund’s overweight to global equities added value. The fund’s overweight to emerging market equities also added value as emerging markets outperformed developed markets. more

OnCourse NEI Select Global Maximum Growth Portfolio

The NEI Select Global Maximum Growth Portfolio (Series B) returned -0.64% for the quarter. In terms of asset allocation, the fund’s overweight to global equities added value. The fund’s overweight to emerging market equities also added value as emerging markets outperformed developed markets. more

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