By Staff | August 10, 2007 | Last updated on August 10, 2007
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(August 10, 2007) Slumping markets may have monopolized the headlines over the past two weeks, but there was some good news Friday morning: the American consumer report appears to be recovering from a two-month slide.

According to the RBC CASH (consumer attitudes and spending by household) Index, American sentiment improved from a reading of 76.1 in July to 89.3 in August. The survey was conducted in the first week of August, after the markets had already started their latest downturn.

“Consumer confidence rebounded this month, likely supported by ongoing tightness in the jobs market and declines in both the price of gasoline and mortgage rates,” said T. J. Marta, economic and fixed income strategist for RBC Capital Markets. “However, the rise in the investment index might prove short-lived if current market volatility persists.”

The shift in the overall index was not driven so much by increased optimism but more by a decrease in pessimistic feelings. Americans were generally less likely to express fear of a job loss, for instance.

“Reduced pessimism cannot sustain continued improvements in consumer sentiment,” RBC said in a release. “Without increases in positive assessments, consumer confidence could easily revert to the downward trend observed throughout 2007.”

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Middlefield offers fund merger details

(August 10, 2007) Middlefield Group has released details of the proposed merger of several funds, previously announced on July 30, 2007. The merger will be structured as a tax-deferred rollover.

The move will see Core IncomePlus Fund, MAXIN Income Fund, PATHFINDER Income Fund and MG Dividend & Income Fund folded into the Yieldplus Income Fund.

All five funds share a similar mandate and are co-advised by Guardian Capital and Middlefield Capital. The merger will create a larger fund that will offer a larger market capitalization, increased trading liquidity and lower operating costs on a per-unit basis.

The merger is expected to be completed on or about September 27, 2007, and will result in Yieldplus’s distribution rising by two cents per month, to 10 cents per unit, per month, starting in October.

Unitholders of the affected funds who do not wish to participate in the merger will have the opportunity to redeem their units of the respective funds prior to the merger.

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Volatility drives TSX trading record

(August 10, 2007) Recent market volatility has resulted in a new record being set on the TSX. A total of 704,261 trades were executed on Thursday, August 10, eclipsing the previous record of 636,327, set on July 26 of this year.

By midday Friday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index was off nearly 8.7% from its 52-week — and all-time — high of 14,646.82.

(08/10/07) staff


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