From the Desk of Irwin Michael – October 9, 2015

Over the past several months, North American equity prices have been extraordinarily volatile and negatively affected by the lack of clarity regarding a number of macro economic and political issues, including:

  • Decelerating Chinese economic growth
  • Uncertain U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate intentions
  • The Volkswagen emissions scandal
  • A too-close-to-call Canadian federal election
  • Weak oil + gas/commodity prices

Our investment views are unchanged, which conclude that the stock market weakness is temporary and represents a correction within a continuing bull market. Furthermore, we believe that the negative market psychology has been overdone and that the final three months of 2015 should provide for attractive investment returns.

On a more micro basis, we are watching closely a number of our ABC Funds’ common stock holdings which appear to finally have bottomed in price and are starting to gain upward traction. They include:

  • Com Dev International, which announced this week that the company is in advanced stages of an auction to sell itself.
  • Petrowest Energy Services, which is trading at a significant discount to replacement cost and appears to be picking up new sub-contract business in BC.
  • Trevali Mining Corp, which announced a reduction of production costs and better revenues and is a beneficiary of Glencore’s decision to significantly reduce its zinc production.

With the past week’s strength of the Canadian dollar, our $U.S. dollar currency hedge is protecting our five ABC Funds from dollar volatility considering our significant U.S. common share investments.

While 2015 has been a difficult year for investors, we believe that our ABC Funds are well positioned to take advantage of stock market strength, which we expect for the balance of this year.

Irwin A. Michael Signature

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

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