The first quarter of 2017 felt a little like hurry up and wait.  With Canadian stocks bouncing either side of zero for most of the quarter, the S&P TSX Small cap index ended March up +1.5% while the JZA Special Equity Fund was +1.3%.

Below is a table of the portfolio and global equity returns:

For the first quarter of 2017, the financial markets appeared to be consolidating after the substantial moves in 2016. The markets were also resetting and digesting some of the significant obstacles facing them in the future. Items such as European elections, US interest rate hikes, Trump volatility, North Korea, and US Trade protectionism, have many market participants concerned.

The commodity complex had a wide variety of returns this quarter with gold showing significant volatility but ended the quarter up +7.8%.  Bullion ended the quarter below the significant technical level of $1260/oz but has since broken through that level on political uncertainty rallying as high as $1290/oz in April.  Copper and zinc also had positive quarters with copper increasing 5.2% and zinc up 7.8%.

On the negative side, energy stocks performed poorly as the significant increase in drilling in North America offset OPEC production cuts. WTI dropped -6%, and Natural Gas was down -15.8%.  Uranium was the one bright spot in the energy complex, rising 21% in the quarter, as the low-cost producer Kazatomprom in Kazakhstan cut its output due to low prices.

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