Hilliard’s Weekend Notebook

Thoughts, views and opinions as current events unfold: With topics taken from current market events and my latest book — When the Bubble Bursts: Surviving the Canadian Real Estate Crash (Dundurn: March 2015)  and my first book Investment Traps and How to Avoid Them (1999) — this short piece will give you unique and valuable insights filtered by my thirty-six years’ experience as an investment professional.


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Trillions in government spending to combat the recession

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on Jul 10, 2020

The world is in the most severe recession in decades. Economist predictions see a recovery later in 2020 or in early 2021, but even with a robust recovery this downturn is more severe than any of the recessions since 1945. Stimulus spending has been announced... Continue reading
Weak oil prices trigger more bankruptcies

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on Jul 03, 2020

The recent bankruptcy of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, a pioneer in U.S. shale production, highlights the disruptive change that is roiling energy markets. The COVID-19 pandemic recession has triggered a collapse in demand and prices for energy. Is the... Continue reading
Canada loses its AAA credit rating

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on Jun 26, 2020

This week the Canadian government lost its status as an issuer of triple-A-rated debt. On Wednesday, Fitch, one of the three debt ratings agencies, lowered Canada’s rating to AA+ from AAA. Until COVID-19 appeared, the Canadian government was one of the... Continue reading
Massive government spending pushes debt ever higher

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on Jun 19, 2020

The economy is sagging badly during the unusual times brought on by the combination of a recession and the impact of COVID-19. Consumers and businesses have cut spending while government deficits have increased exponentially. But the net result is a severe... Continue reading
The search for a vaccine for COVID-19

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on Jun 12, 2020

A vaccine for COVID-19 is crucial for a complete economic recovery. While a rebound in activity has started, a return to “normal” requires a vaccine that can be delivered to billions of people. Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated that a vaccine would be ready... Continue reading
Stock market investors ignore reality

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on Jun 05, 2020

The disconnect between the stock market and the economy has never been greater. While the U.S. economy is expected to post one of the worst declines in memory, far surpassing the 2007-09 decline, the stock market has surged higher, within reach of all-time... Continue reading
Canadian banks downplay housing risks

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on May 29, 2020

Canadian banks reported their results this week and, as expected, took substantially higher provisions for credit losses. Most of the increase in provisions came from estimates for future losses on performing loans. Banks are required to estimate future... Continue reading
CMHC head warns that housing losses could be huge

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on May 22, 2020

Evan Siddall, the CEO of the government’s housing agency, spoke to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday about Canadian housing risks. The agency he heads insures mortgages for the riskiest borrowers, those who cannot provide a down payment of at least... Continue reading
The debate over negative interest rates gets hot

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on May 15, 2020

On May 13, 2020 Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell made a virtual speech warning about the weak U.S. economy, suggesting that fiscal and monetary policy makers must rise to the challenges caused by COVID-19. Since the Fed has already cut interest rates... Continue reading
Shopify surpasses RBC on the S&P/TSX

Published by Hilliard MacBeth on May 08, 2020

Investors in Canada, and elsewhere, are watching with fascination as Shopify, an Ottawa-based company founded by former snowboarder Tobias Lutke, grows to become the largest company by market value in Canada. Will Shopify be the next Amazon? In full disclosure... Continue reading