The year 2022 is shaping up to be one that many investors would like to forget, given the volatility and negative performance of equity and fixed income markets. With the declines witnessed to date, many investors are asking, “Are we there yet?”.
Recent actions in the global financial and economic landscape suggest that a regime change may be upon us. Today’s change centers around inflation and interest rates but could also be extended to wider issues such as deglobalization and decarbonization. The focus of this piece will be on regime change as it pertains to financial markets.
When there is an unusual amount of uncertainty and nervousness in the market, there is a tendency to reach for more – more data, more analysis, more answers. But having more is neither efficient nor effective. Time is a finite resource. And more information does not necessarily equate to better decisions. We cannot model every scenario, let alone every risk. One must determine the most relevant and important information, manage the most detrimental risks, and move forward cautiously.
Few events can be judged accurately as fortunate or unfortunate, or profitable or unprofitable at the time they occur. In many cases, only time will tell the whole story and challenges can often become opportunities and visa versa. The value investment approach has been challenged for a while, with recent weak performance dragging down the long-term annualized result. This weighs on investors’ perception, and they can be drawn to judgemental thoughts that may mislead them.
Dividends have historically been a meaningful component of market returns. This is particularly true in Canada where dividends have comprised 30-40% of TSX Composite Index total returns over the past three decades. While dividend returns have been dwarfed by price returns in recent years, we believe this has created an attractive setup for dividend-paying stocks to outperform going forward.
This past year has brought some element of change to every business in every sector. As we reflect on 2020 and the many changes that emerged, the Canadian energy industry was arguably one of the most impacted by these changes.