Balanced Fund Commentary – Q4 2017

Market Commentary

Global equity markets were strong in the fourth quarter of 2017. FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) were responsible for a large part of the US equity market gains in 2017. The Trump administration was able to pass tax reforms that will benefit many consumers and companies.

The S&P/TSX lagged other global markets in 2017 as oil stocks performed poorly. Bond returns were muted as Canadian bond yields rose slightly over the year. Canadian investors with investments in global securities were negatively impacted by the Canadian dollar’s +7{a4bc595f5bf22b450fc57725bbb5a349cea6d8af0e21f99fc8d20f6b7000a772} appreciation.

Fund Details & Performance

Manulife Monthly High Income – 100{a4bc595f5bf22b450fc57725bbb5a349cea6d8af0e21f99fc8d20f6b7000a772} foreign currency hedge, strong stock selection and low exposure to oil stocks helped relative performance in 2017.

JF Balanced – underweight to bonds helped relative performance while stock selection in Canadian oil stocks hurt performance in 2017.  Throughout 2017, expensive technology stocks (FAANG) outperformed JF’s more conservative high-quality holdings.