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By Mackenzie Investments | July 16, 2021
Brent Joyce, Investment Strategist, and Justin Truong, Manager, Investment Strategy

2021 “opened with high hopes and even higher expectations,” note Brent Joyce and Justin Truong of Mackenzie Investments. Capital markets seemed optimistic that vaccine efficacy would hold up and that further lockdowns have only shifted the timing of a recovery, rather than knocking it off course entirely. In their view, the markets appear to be correct so far. 

Key takeaways:

Canadian equity

  • Canadian equities ranked amongst the top-performing equity indices, with the S&P/TSK Composite surging 17.3% year-to-date on a total return basis. The stellar performance follows the solid 5.6% advance in 2020. 

U.S. equity

  • All major large and small-cap US equity benchmarks recorded double-digit returns (S&P 500, DOW, NASDAQ and Russell 2000), extending the remarkable rebound from the depths of March of last year. The S&P 500 roared ahead with a 15.2% total return. 

International equities

  • International equities benefited from similar sector tailwinds as Canada, with the value-oriented MSCI EAFE Index delivering a 6.9% total return.
  • Emerging market (EM) equities lagged their developed market counterparts. The MSCI Emerging Market Index (USD) produced a 7.9% total return. 

Canadian fixed income

  • Canadian fixed income struggled in the first half of the year amid a sharp rise in bond yields.
  • The FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index tumbled 3.5%, with all the damage occurring in the first quarter. 


  • Commodities have been one of the most sought-after asset classes this year. The rapid reopening of the economy has led to disruptions in global supply chains and inventory shortages.
  • Gold prices were dull, falling 6.8% to US$1770/oz after recording a blistering 25% return in 2020. 


  • The Canadian dollar continued its climb, rising 2.7% to USD/CAD $0.81, CAD/USD $1.23.
  • The US dollar (DXY Index) was whipsawed throughout the first half of the year but managed to rebound from its worst year since 2017, up 2.8%.
  • Bitcoin stole headlines earlier in the year when it surpassed a remarkable US$1 trillion market cap.

Read the full market review for detailed insights on capital markets and a look at how major asset classes have performed year-to-date. 

The views expressed in this commentary are those of this fund manager as at the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. This commentary is presented only as a general source of information and is not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, nor is it intended to provide tax or legal advice. Prospective investors should review the offering documents relating to any investment carefully before making an investment decision and should ask their financial advisor for advice based on their specific circumstances. Investment funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Unit values and investment returns will fluctuate.

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