The NASDAQ and the DOW are up about 11% this year, but if you invested all of your capital in U.S.-listed stocks, you missed out on some excellent gains as well as the opportunity to diversify geographically and reduce some exposure to the soft U.S. dollar, which is at lows versus the Euro and a two-decade low against the Canadian dollar.
Emerging markets have seen excellent returns, but the risk there is also much higher than U.S. markets. If you are somewhat cautious about investing in overseas markets, you only had to look to Canada, where markets have not only performed better than U.S. markets but you also gain via the strong commodity-based Canadian dollar.
The benchmark Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index recently traded at a historical high of 14,646.80 and is currently up just over 12% this year. A strong weighting in commodity stocks, such as energy, gold, and base metals, accounting for about 40% of the index, has driven up the S&P/TSX composite index.
If you are positive on commodities going forward like I am, this Canadian index might be worth a look. And unlike emerging markets, financial reporting in Canada is very good and follows GAAP.
When you trade Canadian-listed companies on the S&P/TSX composite index, you can rest assured that the numbers you are seeing represent a realistic picture of the company. Moreover, the political system is sound, the financial infrastructure is highly regulated, and the economy is doing well.
In addition to the share price appreciation, investing in Canadian stocks or an index also gives you exposure to a currency that has risen over 50% against the U.S. dollar. You can also trade some Canadian stocks listed on U.S. exchanges.
If you are looking for more growth and added risk, you can also buy or trade the S&P/TSX SmallCap Index or S&P/TSX MidCap Index. For blue-chip stocks, there is the S&P/TSX 60 Index; and for emerging and speculative issues, look at the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index.