Most major equity markets finished the year on a strong note as the U.S. congress finalized a second round of fiscal stimulus and a last minute Brexit deal was announced. Gold prices climbed amid rising inflation expectations and weakness in the U.S. dollar. Oil prices rose as large scale vaccine rollouts raised the outlook for global demand.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index lagged major equity market returns hampered by a pullback in the technology sector. Health care and staples also detracted. The Loonie strengthened ending the year at a multi-year high versus the U.S. dollar, the latter faced a broad-based decline helping boost demand for commodities.
The S&P 500 Index (C$) closed at a record high as the second round of U.S. fiscal stimulus was announced and initial U.S. jobless claims fell below consensus estimates. The U.S. 10-year break-even inflation rate climbed near 2%, a level not seen since late 2018, buoyed by optimism around vaccine distribution and additional stimulus.
The MSCI EAFE Index (C$) strengthened as the European Union and the U.K. agreed on a post-Brexit trade deal. European equities outperformed their U.K counterparts. Asian equities strongly outperformed amid an improved regional economic outlook supported by China’s robust economic recovery and positive vaccine developments.