Underlying economic growth in North America remains tepid but has continued along a positive trajectory. Jobless rates in both Canada and the United States were lower to end the second quarter than they were to end the first.
Canadian and U.S. equities delivered robust gains in the first quarter of 2017. Canadian equities, as measured by the S&P/TSX Composite Index returned 2.4% while U.S. equities, as measured by the S&P 500 Index (USD) were up 6.1%.
The final quarter of the year was coloured by the outcome of the U.S. elections as campaign promises made by President Elect Trump filtered into equity markets. Global equities performed well during the quarter, led by the Japanese Nikkei Index which climbed 16.4% (in local currency).
Global equities moved higher in the third quarter although results varied by geography. Emerging markets as a group led performance, followed by European and Japanese equities. Canadian stocks were in the middle of the group while U.S. equities lagged. The S&P/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) gained 5.5% on a total return basis in the third quarter.