Markets will have to digest a flurry of important event risk and developments over the coming couple of weeks including February U.S. labour data (3/10), a Federal Reserve interest rate policy meeting (3/15), Netherlands’ national election (3/15), Pres. Trump’s budget submitted to Congress as well as negotiations over debt ceiling (Mar. 16), UK could invoke Article 50 triggering Brexit negotiations & European summit (3/9-10), China NPC & economic policies/targets (3/9), G20 finance officials meeting (Mar. 17-18), and a Trump/Merkel meeting (3/14). Of particular importance, FOMC members have been suggesting that the committee is ready to hike rates next week, a signal that investors’ confidence in an improving economy is well-placed (the market has priced in a full rate hike).
Global markets remain in a state of alternating phases of optimism and pessimism driven by cross currents created by uncertainties related to Brexit, the global growth outlook, and fluid central bank policy. We remain generally constructive on markets given stable U.S. economic dynamics and a steady stream of policy support from both monetary and increasingly fiscal policymakers.
As of the end of March 2016, total ETF assets have surpassed the $95 billion mark. One key trend observed is the proliferation of “factor‐based” ETFs which was evident in 2015 and so far in 2016 (with the exception of the new TD AM ETFs). Not only are ETF providers launching new products at a record pace, but new ETF providers are appearing on the Canadian ETF market (see below).