August 2020 Pricing Commentary

The American stock market indices continued to climb a “wall of worry” during the month of August. Led by the technology and fintech sectors, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 advanced to new 2020 highs. This has confounded many investors who remain cash heavy and are impatiently awaiting a major market correction. This event, however, has not occurred, and in fact, the widely publicized growth momentum winners such as Tesla and Zoom have spawned palpable investor FOMO (fear of missing out).

With regard to our portfolios, all five ABC funds appreciated on average over 7% during August, significantly outperforming our year to date benchmarks. Several positive factors benefited our performance:

1) Our portfolios’ 65% American stock weighting raised our total returns since the U.S. market has continued to outperform Canada.

2) Our $U.S. currency hedge has protected our portfolios as the Canadian dollar has been surprisingly strong.

3) Salesforce, held in four of our funds, was unexpectedly added to the Dow Jones 30 Index. At the same time, Salesforce reported stellar second quarter 2020 earnings and raised its full year forward guidance. As a result, its share price rose 37.7% for the month and provided a meaningful boost to our August performance.

As a final comment, our outperforming Canadian stock holdings during the month included Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Keyera, and National Bank of Canada, whereas our top performing U.S. holdings included Adobe, Alibaba, Apple, Facebook, Mastercard, NVIDIA, Salesforce, and Visa. Looking ahead to year end 2020 we remain optimistic and are fully invested in a blend of larger capitalization, dividend paying North American common stocks.

Irwin A. Michael Signature

Irwin A. Michael, President
I.A. Michael Investment Counsel Ltd.

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