By Staff | April 23, 2009 | Last updated on April 23, 2009
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Canadians’ perceptions of the state of the economy appear to be improving, according to the results from the latest TNS Canadian Facts Consumer Confidence Index. Not only is the overall Consumer Confidence Index up — 90.5 for April compared with 83.7 in March, an 8% rise — but all other indices are up too.

“Clearly, one snapshot does not a trend make. But these results do suggest that despite the troubling economic news dominating headlines, average Canadians are sensing the end is in sight,” says Michael Antecol, vice-president of TNS Canadian Facts and director of the marketing research firm’s monthly tracking study.

While the Present Situation Index, which captures evaluations of the overall state of the current economic and employment situations, is up just over three points to 75.3, the Expectations Index and Buy Index posted dramatic gains.

The Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ estimation of the economy, household income and employment in the next six months, rose for the fourth consecutive month to 97.4 — an 11% increase from last month’s 87.4.

Likewise, the Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current period is a good time to make major purchases, has bounced back — to 103.9 from 95.3, a 9% boost. The last time this Index was that high was in the second quarter of 2005.

“Any economic turnaround will need consumers to loosen their purse strings. It’s an expectations game. These results suggest this might soon be in the offing. Consumers are saying now is a good time to make that major purchase while at the same time having fairly positive expectations about the future. It looks more and more like the ingredients for a consumer-led recovery,” Antecol notes.

A total of 1,015 nationally representative Canadian adults were interviewed for this survey between April 13 and 16, 2009. For a survey sample this size, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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TD launches new Global Sustainability Fund

TD Asset Management USA Inc. has launched a new mutual fund for institutional investors that seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities of global companies that contribute to the world’s future sustainability.

The companies are selected from the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index SM (DJSI World), which consists of approximately the top 10% of companies in terms of sustainability. The index is based on the comprehensive sustainability assessment by SAM, the Zurich-based sustainability-investing specialist, and thus reflects an integrated analysis of economic, environmental and social criteria focused on long-term shareholder value.

According to TDAM managing director Robin Lacey, the Global Sustainability Fund offers an innovative combination of companies recognized for their leading approach to building sustainable businesses, as well as companies developing interesting solutions for today’s pressing environmental problems.

A portion of the portfolio will also be dedicated to emerging specialists in environmental technology. It is comprised of companies that provide innovative solutions for today’s pressing environmental problems.

“These solutions may represent either their core business focus or a significant and growing part of their business. The three major themes from this part of the portfolio are clean water, resource efficiency and alternative energy,” says Thomas George, vice-president and director of portfolio management, TDAM.

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Alpha magazine announces the world’s largest hedge funds

Hedge funds have not done as poorly as some other investment vehicles, with the top 100 funds managing a combined US$1.03 trillion in assets, down from $1.35 trillion the year before, according to Alpha magazine.

Alpha’s2009 Hedge Fund 100 ranking of the world’s biggest single-manager hedge fund firms finds that Bridgewater Associates leads the way with $38.6 billion in assets under management, followed by JPMorgan Asset Management ($32.8 billion) and Paulson & Co. ($29 billion).

In the fourth quarter of 2008, hedge funds saw a net outflow of $152 billion with most of the assets coming out of bigger firms, reports Alpha.

The top 10 hedge funds round out is as follows:

1. Bridgewater Associates $38.6 billion
2. JPMorgan Asset Management $32.8 billion
3. Paulson & Co. $29 billion
4. D.E. Shaw & Co. $28.6 billion
5. Brevan Howard Asset Management $26.8 billion
6. Man Investments $24.4 billion
7. Och-Ziff Capital Management Group $22.1 billion
8. Soros Fund Management $21 billion
9. Goldman Sachs Asset Management $20.5 billion
10. Farallon Capital Management $20 billion

(04/23/09) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.