Optimism #42 - March 4, 2022

Dear clients and friends,

There are many of good things to report amidst the horror of Ukraine and Russia. Our thoughts go out to anyone with friends or family in war-stricken areas.

I am fascinated that with all the bad news in the world, markets, except for Russia, have held up well.

Canadian phone companies Telus, Bell, Shaw and Rogers waived text and long-distance charges for calls to Ukraine.

Canadian phone companies waive charges for Ukraine calls, texts - The Globe and Mail

If I was young and trying to get ahead, I would move to Alberta.

Housing is much less expensive, but not for long.

I was just at an awards ceremony. Remax’s #1 and #2 commercial mortgage brokers, for all of Canada during 2021, were in Edmonton.

Interesting that its where the big lending activity is currently happening.

Insiders buying shares of their own companies is always a positive sign.

There is only one reason they are buying more. They recognize that the value is higher than the price and think the price is going up.

Bill Holland, Chairman of the Board bought $2 million more of shares of CI Financial, a large independent mutual fund company.

Ed Kernaghan of Exco, a company that makes molds for auto parts manufacturers, bought $270,000 more for shares.

At Cannacord Genuity group, President and CEO Dan Daviau acquired 100,000 shares for 1.3 million dollars.

George Christophoulos, bought 30,000 shares of Supremex Inc, for $99,000.

Ron Rutmann, Chairman of the Board, at H&R REIT, a trust that owns office, retail, industrial and residential rental properties, invested over $1.3 million in shares.

Mary Lou Maher, Director at CAE invested $66,000 in shares. (they make simulators for training pilots)

Saputo President and COO Carl Colizza bought 8300 more shares for $251,000.

Here is a reminder from Jamie Golombek in the National Post about reporting US holdings with cost over $100,000, on a T1135, on your tax return.

Own foreign property, including stocks? Better tell the CRA ... (jamiegolombek.com)

If you have questions, speak to your tax pro.

Toromont raised their dividend 11.3%, the 33rd consecutive increase. Toromont is Eastern Canada’s dealership for Finning Caterpillar, the people that sell the huge dump trucks and digging equipment.

Gildan Activewear raised its dividend as well, 10%.

On my phone I have an app, the BC Services Card. I am guessing other provinces have theirs as well.

It’s the neatest thing. It links directly to my Service Canada and CRA accounts. Very useful. Who knew?

There is something to be said for keeping it simple.

I just read that Russia has banned payments to foreign investors holding their government bonds.

Russia Bans Coupon Payment to Foreigners on $29 Billion in Bonds (yahoo.com)

Also, at Allianz, a Swiss pension fund manager, 2 people were fired because the fund they were managing collapsed.

The portfolios were down 80%. Our boring banks and utilities look pretty good in contrast.

(I stole this from the Globe and Mail)

One of my favourite cartoons shows a spouse asking her retired husband what he’s doing today. He says “nothing”. She says… “you did that yesterday”. He says, “I haven’t finished yet”.

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Another beauty from Warren Buffet.

Enjoy the rest of the week. Spring is almost here.