Risk assets climbed as the global economic outlook continued to improve while central banks and lower than expected U.S. inflation eased concerns over rising yields. The U.S. senate signed into law the $1.9 trillion (US$) COVID-19 relief package. Global government bond yields and gold prices rose. Oil prices edged lower.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index advanced as all sectors climbed. Health care led all sectors, while staples and utilities also posted solid gains. Technology and communications lagged. The Canadian economy added 259,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate fell to 8.2%, the lowest level since March 2020. The Bank of Canada held its key rate unchanged.
The S&P 500 Index (C$) advanced as all sector climbed. REITs, discretionary, utilities, and materials posted strong gains. Technology and communications lagged. U.S. core inflation rose less than expected in February. The Federal Reserve suggested higher future inflation will be transitory and unlikely to cause policymakers to raise rates.
The MSCI EAFE Index (C$) advanced led by communications and utilities. Industrials and discretionary also posted strong gains. Financials and materials declined. European equities outperformed as the European Central Bank (ECB) left its policy rate unchanged while announcing an increase in its bond purchasing program.