Markets Rally as Gold and Copper Shine - Your Money March 3rd, 2023

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In a Wall Street Journal article this week, Jones Lang LaSalle pointed to Asian and European countries where return to work stats exceed 75% in many major cities. We Work confirmed those numbers as of the last quarter of 2022. Mind you the unemployment rate in Europe is north of 6% aka nearly double the US, so European businesses may have more leverage than over here. Bottom line, is it a coincidence that European stock markets and by extension European companies are experiencing better returns in 2023 because their workers are working in the office rather than from home??? Time will tell.

Changing the subject, we took great delight in hearing the announcement that BMW has launched a small fleet of hydrogen powered vehicles as a trial balloon to possibly put pressure on the electric vehicle market. Their iX5 model can apparently run over 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen and takes less than five minutes to refill the gas tank. As far as we know only Hyundai and Toyota sell hydrogen fuel cell vehicles here in Canada, but it looks like more are coming. It may be an uphill battle if governments do not provide more credits to fund the infrastructure necessary to transport and store hydrogen as a fuel. In Germany for example they have 105 hydrogen stations and BC which is about twice the geographic size has 5. Heck even Switzerland has 14 fill ups. We know it’s a chicken and egg thing (why build hydrogen stations if there are no hydrogen cars, and why buy a hydrogen car if there are no fill up stations), so its up to government in our opinion to break the deadlock and fund fill up stations and a fleet of tankers to move the hydrogen from the refinery to the consumer. For us islanders at the very least you need to have one in Nanaimo, Port McNeill, Campbell River, Powell River, and Port Alberni not to mention Victoria, Sooke and Langford.

Turning to North American equities, we finally broke the February downdraft led by industrials, energy and materials plus gold and technology stocks in Canada. Talk of interest rates plateauing plus better than expected numbers from a handful of retailers and technology companies helped the bulls back into the markets. It may be short lived.

Because, next week it will be a busy one for both bond and stock investors. Fed Chair Jay Powell must yet again, speak before congress on his monetary policies and then answer question after question that has nothing to do with monetary policy. In addition, investors will need to digest the monthly Jobs Openings or JOLTS, the Beige Book, the mounting trade deficit, Factory orders and Employment report. Plus, in Canada, the BOC will likely report on Wednesday no change to its interest rate policy and on Friday we also get the monthly employment stat.

If that were not enough, over 900 US companies will report their latest quarterly earnings plus it will be busy in Houston Texas where a major energy conference takes place

Happy trading and stay safe.

Steve Bokor and the Ocean Wealth Team.

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Steve Bokor

Steve Bokor

Portfolio Manager